The way the graduate program is set up at the School of Social Work lends itself to a lot of 3 hour classes. Most undergraduate programs tend to lend themselves to the traditional 3 times a week for 50 minutes or the 2 times a week for 1 hour and 15 minutes classes. I only took two 3 hour night classes during undergrad, so having all 3 hour classes is an adjustment! Here are some tips on surviving:
- Come PREPARED – Preparing yourself for a 3 hour class is very important. The amount of reading for the class session is typically more than a class that meets more frequently because you have an entire week to read for that class. However, you are also balancing two to three other 3 hour classes, that all have readings. Prepare to engage in conversation, most of the 3 hour classes are broken up into a lecture and some type of classroom exercise. Also, bring snacks, water, caffeine, whatever will help you stay focus and energized for class.
- Stay DEDICATED and MOTIVATED – Keep tabs on your syllabus, I like to check off the readings when I have completed them to stay on track. Review your syllabus for upcoming exams, quizzes, and assignments. You don’t get constant reminders about your assignments; it’s up to you to space out the work so you don’t have a tone to do the night before an assignment is due.
- Take BREAKS! – The majority of teachers are really great about giving students at least one break during a 3 hour class. At the beginning of the semester be clear about this expectation. If you need to take more than one break, do so, you don’t want to be bored, burned out or sleepy by long lecturing. Make the most of your break!
- ACTIVE Listening – I know, it’s hard, but actively trying to listen will actually help you focus on what you’re learning. It also makes the time go by faster because you focus on the lesson instead of the time.
- Take GREAT notes – Like I said, this class only meets once a week, take notes so you can review what was previously discussed so you can build on it for the next class.
- Lastly, make FRIENDS – Try to get to know the people who sit around you, after all you are stuck next to them for 3 straight hours a week. You never know when you will need a buddy to provide notes if you have to miss a class. They will also come in handy when you need to do the popular group projects that occur in the social work field or for when you “discuss” concepts with your neighbor.