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:

 

 

Life After Being A Division One Athlete

My whole life I have seen myself as an athlete. From the days that I can remember to the days that I live today, it has always been as an athlete. Playing it for so long is something that has defined the person that I am today.

In this blog post, I will talk about the life after Division 1 athletics and things that hinder the growth of many college soccer players around the nation that lead to giving up on the sport.

Being an athlete particularly a soccer player was easy because not only did I love playing but I always was pretty good at it. What I didn’t plan for was what would happen to my identify if I didn’t play soccer anymore.

In high school, soccer became more important to my identity than ever. Being a freshman, I played soccer and ran track as well.

Corinth Holders Soccer 2015
Corinth Holders Soccer 2015

All the way to my senior year, I was recruited to play Division 1 soccer. All the hard work I had put had finally been paid off. The whole time I would play, the thought of being able to play Division 1 soccer was the whole goal.

Everyone on my club team strived for the same goal…..to play at the next level. Sports had mattered to me for so long that whenever getting that opportunity to play in college meant that is was well worth it.

My schoolwork was important as well but I never really pushed myself to do better than the requirements. I personally felt that I couldn’t find an identity in the classroom. I never really like going the extra mile, studying, and sometimes even doing homework due to soccer being a priority over school. Don’t get me wrong, I was a good student that received good grades, but yet, my mind most of the time would be filled with thoughts elsewhere.

After having different considerations, I chose Appalachian State would be the best fit for me in athletics and academics. I liked the scene in Boone and the mountains are what made it for me.

What Doing College at Appalachian State Is About – Boone, NC

The Start of College Athletics

Appalachian State Men's Soccer Fall 2016
Appalachian State Men’s Soccer Fall 2016

When I started this whole “college athlete” back in August 2016, I had many competitive factors involved, but in my mind, I was determined to work hard. I would push myself but found myself finishing near to last in many of our training.

The thought of doubt once again worked its way into my head. I began to think “why can’t I see success in something that was important to me?”

With having struggles finding success on the field, the coaching staff was everything but helpful in my situation. Instead of going for a sense of motivation and feedback, I was given very negative and pessimistic views.

It seems as, in collegiate soccer, the level of coaching goes down and coaches only focus on the factors that DON’T make a good soccer player. Training would focus on fitness levels rather than technical drills. In my honest opinion, yes you do need to have a strong fitness level but it is a waste if you have good fitness but can’t even complete a pass.

I was some of the few players that had a strong technical ability but as fitness was emphasized the most than any factor, I began to face struggles in the long run.

There was not one moment on the field that I did something good or was making strides to our ultimate goal. It was always negative and as a player, you get discouraged.

I face this struggle amongst other players that have been in my shoes. The misfortune of not finding joy in the game that you have always loved and played was beginning to fade for me.

I no longer saw joy in playing and every morning the thought of training was seen as a daunting task then an event I would look forward to in pre-college years.

Although I was faced with loads of adversity, I knew that I could not give up that easily on my goals.

Throughout the season, I had been making strides on my fitness, technical ability and my overall winning mindset that was engraved every minute of the day.

I noticed huge changes in my fitness and style of play after a working season at Appalachian. The time came for the 1-month off-season of winter break and I knew this was a huge opportunity for me. There was only one goal the whole break and that was to achieve the holy grail of our fitness test, the 2-mile, 1-mile, 1-mile. 

Fitness Test of Utter Death

Life of Pedro Segundo
Fitness Test for Appalachian State Men’s Soccer

Our fitness test consisted of

  • 2 miles under 12 minutes
  • 6-minute break
  • Another 1 mile under 6 minutes 
  • 6-minute break
  • And Another 1 more mile under 6 minutes 

Boy, was this a nightmare!

Now think about the physical and mental capacity you need to have to accomplish this. It’s nuts! Comment down below if you are able to run this today. I’m curious to see who is able to do this if there is any Jake Chasteen’s reading this right now.

During the pre-season, I finished with a 12:52 two-mile, 6:45 mile, 6:39 mile. These were pretty good results but they weren’t enough to compete at the Division 1 level. During our winter break, I knew this was the chance for me to come back stronger.

Working on fitness every day and making huge improvements on this test, I knew coming back on the first day of the off-season was up for grabs.

First day back, I was so determined and ready to push myself to reach the holy grail of making the desired times for the test.

Unfortunately, the day leading up to the test, I had torn my hamstring and was unable to participate. The nerve-wreck of emotions that followed was awful. I felt very disappointed in myself because of all the work I had put in was ultimately put to waste with solely an injury.  Constant thoughts of failure were rotating in my mind and I just did not feel the same as a player after this.

Struggling to reach peak form after the injury was extremely hard for me. As small re-injuries occurred and fear of tearing my hamstring again prevented my growth to reach my previous form. With the help of such amazing athletic trainers such as Ben Shabb, I had gotten back to form but with little over a month left of the off-season, it had been too late.

Soccer, which once felt so important to me, started to feel like it was holding me back.

Although still on the roster, I no longer felt like I was of the Appalachian State Soccer Team. As the spring term came to an end, I made the decision to not be an athlete anymore. I was extremely afraid to quit, as I had never quit much anything before especially soccer, but I knew that it was the right decision for me at the time.

Life After College Athletics

The summer between my Freshman and Sophomore year of college was extremely reflective for me. With my parents, reminding me constantly that if the decision I made would to be the right one. Friends always asking me if I still play soccer at App State and having to say no was extremely shocking for a lot of people. Due to the reason because everyone knew me because of soccer. It was kind of weird not associating myself as an athlete anymore, to be honest.

For those few months, I didn’t know how to spend my time. There were large parts of my day that I had never had free before. When soccer no longer seemed as important to me, I began to learn that there were many other parts to my identity that I had not yet explored much.

Playing soccer had stripped so much from my social life that the majority of my friends were either soccer players or other athletes. Being tied down to the sport limited me to make other friends.

Many people believe that athletes live a privileged existence, although that may be true to some extent the reason being is that college athletics is more of a job. It’s not this all mighty peak and status quo but it’s literally a job. Logging in more than 40 hours of week is something that I physically/mentally demanding to a young player.

You Are More Than Just an Athlete

It has been over a year since not playing collegiate soccer, and quite frankly I am happier at Appalachian than ever before. I didn’t know if I would like college without having soccer in the equation. It was made clear to me that I am so much more than just an athlete and that Appalachian has way more to offer than just sports for me.

I began to explore the academics side of it. With being an athlete, you don’t have much time to join new clubs, participate in extracurriculars, or even take more courses to get ahead. My whole freshman year was dedicated solely to soccer and taking the minimum amount of coursework. I never went out of my way to join new clubs or to put myself out there as I did in high school where I was a part of 5 clubs in my senior year.

Although in my second year, I was able to join new clubs, meet new friends, and load up my coursework. I started to feel the spark again in nurturing my mind rather than with sports but with school as school can be fun if you know how to balance it.

FINDING JOY AGAIN IN THE SPORT 

I got so caught up in trying to be successful in the sport that I forgot why soccer mattered to me so much in the first place.

The best part about not playing anymore is that I was able to play soccer for fun again. After years of obsessive training and competing, it has been such a relief for me to be able to play for fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I still play soccer but it’s not at a high demand as Division 1 soccer was. I still play intramurals with my ex-teammates (pictured below) and club soccer that has given me the chance to meet cool new people that love the sport like I do.

Appalachian State University Soccer at Alpha Phi Tournament
Using our talents to secure Comeback Shack Gift Cards

Now, I am able to play with my friends and have fun without having the thought of “getting better” each time I played. Instead, I enjoy what is around me and I live in the moment.

Not being able to play has given me time to reflect on what my image and what I will become without soccer. My whole life I pictured of being a professional in the sport but realistic expectations were otherwise.

I now dedicate my time to improving my academics, networking, and finding other ways to achieve the happiness that soccer once brought into my life. One of those examples is the Life of Pedro blog.

Playing it will still brings joy but being on the competing end and working to reach that goal is like no other feeling. You get a much more satisfaction out of it and the great memories you make on your route to that dream is priceless.

Now I want to make a call to action to all college soccer players that have been in my same shoes, that have faced the adversity and that have realized that soccer wasn’t going to provide a living in the future. I want to be able to meet, talk, and find out what your life consists of without college soccer.

I am a huge believer that college soccer needs to be changed as more and more players quit whenever entering college. College soccer has a way of taking the fun out of playing the sport, but just remember this final though

You are MORE than just an athlete!

Your boy,

Pedro Segundo

 

What Doing College at Appalachian State Is About – Boone, NC

Doing college at Appalachian has been one thrill I tell you. I have had the opportunity to meet so many new people, make amazing memories and most importantly, gain a valuable education. It’s funny when people say that App isn’t a “big school.” To be completely honest, we are not a big school when you compare us to the Florida State, UNC, and Tennessee but don’t you worry because we are getting there. From a newspaper article, it says that our whole West Side campus is going to be renovated. Interesting to see how it will look when I come back and mingle with all the alumni dads and we get to grill out and shotgun beers and constantly scream “Skooo Neeeeers.” Good times those will be. lol.

Currently, I am a double major in Banking & Finance along w Risk Management & Insurance with a minor in Marketing. You may ask why I chose these majors. First, if there is any field that is progressing and always going to be here is the world of Finance. Second, App’s Risk Management school was ranked Top 10 in 2016 according to Business Insurance. So from what I described, I’m obviously trying to major in something that I can dabble in, not an art/history major. No offense to those majoring in that but honestly, you’re setting yourself up to NOT get a job. Third, I chose marketing because it’s something that I thoroughly love doing and is something that will always be around.

College for me is a backup plan if all else fails. A college education won’t cut it for the lifestyle that I want to be able to live. Explains why I am trying to do other ventures to fund this lucrative lifestyle.

But here are some funny pictures from this past semester. The picture on the right is a dumbass mask that I purchased and ended up losing it 2 hours of wearing it in the snow. Took L’s that day. Enjoy.