How To Take 18 Credit Hours & Still Live Your Life in College

Friend: “Yo, how many hours are you taking next year”

Me: “Bro, I’m taking 18……”

Friend: “Damn bro, that’s about to be hell, why?!?”

Me: “Not looking forward to it what-so-ever”

This is the conversation I typically have whenever I get asked how many hours I’m taking. To be completely honest, I have tried to take 18 hours before in the past and lowkey, I dropped a course. Not because it was hard but because I changed my major and the class I was enrolled in was required for my old major but not for my new major.

In today’s blog post, I will be talking about my experiences with loading up on coursework and things I have seen work for me and for others. By implementing these simple tips, you can get the success in the classroom while still living your best life.

Stick around for those of you looking to add another course or that are already taking 18 hours. If you are one of those taking 18 hours, you are in my prayers 🙂

THE DAUNTING VIEW OF 18 HOURS 

Let’s be honest, school is most of the time a very hassling area especially if you are not that good at school. For me, I wasn’t always the top student in my classes and I don’t know the feeling of getting a 4.0. So for someone that is not that good at school, loading up on your coursework can be challenging at first, but with proper preparation and having the right mindset, this can be easier than seen. You don’t need to be the smartest to get the best results.

18 credit hours is seen as this huge detrimental beast that not many college students say “oh you’re doomed for hell.” Reality is, yeah it’s hard don’t get me wrong but it’s something you shouldn’t fear of. I know for myself, that whenever I was taking 18 hours before changing my major, life was tough and the amount of more focus and work you had to put it was noticed.

During my freshman year, I took the bare minimum of 14 and 13 hours both semesters. Part of the reason is due to the fact I played college soccer, my schedule was already bombarded by it leaving no free time for more classwork. Now that I am not a student-athlete anymore, I am able to load my coursework up and do more things that revolve around my academics. Life is good now, I don’t have to walk to class every day looking like I got shot in the back from weights or feeling half handicapped from the waist below from rigorous training and runs.

Like said earlier, 18 hours is no easy task but with proper preparation and useful tools, you can take 18 hours and still live your college life and have fun, all at the same time!

So without further or due, lets jump right to it.

Planning Your Schedule

Alright, so you’ve determined that this semester is the semester you challenge yourself and get some classes out of the way now rather than later. Before you begin to arrange classes and start adding courses like a maniac, take a deep breath and relax.

You have to optimize and plan different courses for different schedules and think about factors and periods when courses would best be suited for.

My number one tip is to not take more than 2-3 difficult classes in a semester. Reason being is that you don’t want to overwhelm yourself by taking all the rigorous classes and not being able to complete all the work and not being able to focus properly for each. What I mean by this is, don’t go taking 2 math courses, a science course, and a history class all in one semester because you’ll find yourself in a deep hole come midterms when you have a stockpile of work and tests to study for.

In another hand maybe take like 1 math course, 1 science course, 2 prereqs for your college and 1-2 general education classes.

You want your schedule to be balanced but not make it too easy because as you move along the ranks of grade classification, you will have to start taking all these difficult classes you put off in the beginning, and that’s when you will see all the stress pile up like a snowball effect and collapse all over your face!

We don’t want

A tool I use when planning my schedule is Coursicle. Coursicle allows you to browse classes based on your college and plan your perfect schedule. It also notifies you whenever a seat opens up in a class that you want. I highly recommend using this FREE tool! Below is one of the alternative schedules I made for this upcoming Fall 2018 semester. I wanted to include it to give you a visual on how it looks and see how beneficial it can be whenever planning out this detrimental 18-hour schedule

Life of Pedro Coursicle for App State

Fall 2018 Coursicle Alternative Schedule

So when properly planning your schedule, I would recommend speaking to your academic advisor about planning your courses as they are the wisest tool you can use when doing this. Luckily for me, whenever I was a student-athlete, our advisors did all the planning for us and all we had to do it register for the courses. Making it as easy as taking candy from a baby. Shout Cliff Poole!

Now that I am not a student-athlete anymore, I have to do the planning myself but by speaking to your advisor and evaluating your strengths, planning can be fairly easy!

Okay, now that you have planned your schedule and have everything ready to go for the first day of school now we move onto keeping up with these classes.

TAMING THE WILD BEAST FOR THE SEMESTER

Now that you have it all set and ready to go, now we all we got to do is tame this beast so we don’t lose control over it and can handle the wild bursts of it.

The number one thing to avoid when taking 18 credit hours is PROCRASTINATION

Now, this can seem fairly simple but it is something literally every college student has problems with and everyone can relate to this.

I know for myself that I procrastinated a lot in high school but I’ve reduced it a lot now that I am in college. Due to the reason is, you can’t afford to procrastinate that much in college like you did in high school. You are in the big leagues and need to treat it as such to get the results you want because employers do not give a flying goose egg about your high school experience. They care about what you did in college. So if you goof in college, you might as well goofed with your future employer.

Now Rather Than Later 

 

Do yourself a favor and whenever you are assigned an assignment to do it as soon as possible rather than waiting 24 hours before it is due. It will save you so much time and effort later down the road and you will see greater success.

It’s amazing to see the time you have when knocking assignments as you go. You’ll have so much time to rage like an animal and do the things you want to do. That can be from hanging out with friends, going out downtown on the weekends, to taking time on your personal hobbies you thoroughly enjoy. The possibilities are endless.

Our main concern is to give you more time to live your life and live your lifestyle.

TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME

Okay, so now that you know not to procrastinate, you need to divide your attention to focusing on one assignment at a time.

The main reason for this is when you are thinking about multiple assignments at once and you worry about how you are going to finish them all in time for your classes, you end up wasting more time worrying about what could go wrong instead of just completing assignments. It is important to take it one step at a time. 

Digesting courseload by bits of pieces rather than huge mouthfuls is going to make your life a lot easier.

A prime example of this happened to me last semester. I had an 11am class on a Monday which happened to be history. Walking in, I thought “today is going to be a nice and easy day.” As I was walking in, I see that everybody has a paper in front of them. I ask my neighbor, “was there a paper due today?” He says “yeah, man we have an essay due today.”

In my mind, I freak out! I had totally forgotten the due date and I didn’t have a paper.

I panicked so hard and begin to think of ways that I can finesse this. After a solid minute of creative brainstorming, I think “how much time can it possibly take me to write a two-page double-spaced paper on a historical event?” I say “easy as cake, I got this.”

I run down to the library, grab an energy drink (since it was 11am, I was sleepy) sprint up to the 3rd floor which at Appalachian State is the silent floor and I begin to furiously write this paper.

one hour later w/ Spongebob

I get the paper written in the best possible way that I can do in an hour. I sprint back to Ann Belk Hall to my classroom and casually walk in pretending I had been in the bathroom the whole time. Which granted is the excuse I had to say since that is what I told the professor after he counted me “present” for the class.

Don’t get me wrong, as I walked in people thought I had dipped and was not coming back since I took literally almost the whole class period in the “bathroom.”

I turned it in with 5 minutes to spare of the class and got an A on the paper.

Why did I mention this story?

Because when it got to crunch time, I focused solely on this ONE paper and got it done in little under an hour which if I would have procrastinated and thought of other assignments I had to do, it would have taken me much longer to do. It’s a proven theory that if have less time and more urgency for something that you get it done with max efficiency and time.

Stay Organized

Staying organized is such an important factor that is vital for both your personal life and your academics. I highly suggest everyone taking on heavy coursework to have a planner with them.

I use the Panda Planner (pictured below) from Amazon because it keeps me organized, there is space to write down daily tasks I want to knock out and places to gather notes and ideas for future business ideas or school thoughts.
I found this planner and any planner in particular to be a strong tool to use. The main reason I like this planner, in particular, is that one, It has a cool design to it and it’s visually appealing that makes things easier when planning/organizing.

Highly suggest getting a planner of your own to keep track of all the amazing things going on in your life.

 

Another thing I recommend for staying organized is investing in a virtual personal assistant. By personal assistant, I mean in an Amazon Alexa.

Being as busy with having my own personal ventures and taking 18 credit hours, it has been super useful to have a virtual assistant like Alexa that helps you throughout your day. By keeping track of meetings and what you have planned that day to finding the weather to dress appropriately for class as well. All with the command of your voice. That’s the best thing about it. It’s like your own Alfred and you are Bruce Wayne.

Down below is an article that I SPECIFICALLY talk about how having a virtual assistant can increase your productivity and keep you organized:

Make Time For Yourself

With all being said, putting in the work to be successful later in your career and taking 18 credit hours is cool and all but if you don’t put the time to yourself, you will be miserable

The most important thing is making time for yourself. 

You will become stress and miserable as heck if you don’t schedule the time to do other things than studying 24/7.

Everyone needs a break eventually, as well as fun things to look forward to. So go out with your friends in downtown and wild out. Go have a boys/girls night playing a game or simply having a bonfire to catch up with one another. Go travel to a different location or scenery that you always wanted to go. Literally, anything. The point is to get away from those books.

College is meant for you to explore and find out who you really are. If you are studying all the time, you won’t have the luxury to do that. My main motive is to find ways for you guys to do all the things you want in life in the most efficient yet enjoyable way possible.

Go out and do what makes you happy! Life is short.

How are you taking advantage of it?

Your boy,

Pedro Segundo

FYI: Go check out some related posts I have if you haven’t already.

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And for more posts related to this blog on how you can succeed in taking 18 credit hours, I left some goodies down below: