Challenge yourself with a fourth class

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By Matt Olson

Normal Schenectady winters do not permit much outside activity, if any at all. While you may not want to think about any form of increased classwork, it may be a wise idea to take four classes when it’s best to stay inside.

According to the Office of the Registrar, any student in good academic standing at Union—3.3 GPA for non-Scholars, 3.2 for Scholar students—may take one term consisting of four courses during an academic year.  Scholar students can hypothetically take four classes all three terms throughout the year.

Four classes are especially useful during the winter term because there is less to do during the winter than in the fall or spring.  During spring, it is much more desirable to be playing a game of Kan Jam on West Beach or playing volleyball outside Fox or Davidson than to have your nose in books the entire term.

The stereotypical “cabin fever” of winter surely makes it the least loved season in the northeast. In this regard, then, taking four classes can keep you occupied when all you want to do during the day is sleep or watch television.  Of course, the workload is increased, and four classes can be intimidating to some freshmen and sophomores who have not taken four classes before.

I have taken four classes twice in my five terms at Union; it can be quite a handful to deal with, but it causes you to become more efficient in your work habits.  There is less time to waste on meaningless activities, and you are more likely to spend more time writing that term paper or working on engineering homework problems.  In either case, four classes help increase work ethic and dedication to classes, and actually makes you enjoy going to class more in my opinion.

For anyone taking four courses for the first time, I recommend starting easy.  It would be unwise to take four academically rigorous classes, because the work may be much too intensive for you to handle initially.  And, of course, the social life will suffer slightly in your rush to finish all the work.

That being said, taking four classes helped me immensely in time management and work ethic, and has allowed me to enjoy all of my classes more, rather than worrying about getting all of my work done. This allows me more opportunities to enjoy the things I love most about this school—the activities, extracurricular clubs and social life.

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