Courses: Get Organized!

MarisaTime for a “pro tip”! But first, a disclaimer: what strategies work for one person (e.g., myself) may be different than those that work for another (e.g., you). It is really important to speak with many different students, including upperclassmen, to understand the diversity of experiences one can have here and the strategies that can be utilized.

Pro Tip: Get Organized!

Penn is HUGE. There are a plethora of opportunities to learn, meet people, and put your knowledge and skills to work. This may seem daunting. However, combining a little bit of planning with some organization can help you understand what your expected future workflow might look like.

How to do this:

  • Read the syllabi for each class. This document provides a lot of information regarding what is expected of you throughout the semester. Not only does it outline what you will learn, but it also clearly delineates when you will be tested on the material and what your options for grading.
  • Aggregate this information into one place as soon as possible! My preference is to use a calendar and create a separate sub calendar (mine is called “Assessments”). The purpose of this is to visually comprehend what your assessment schedule might look like at the beginning of each semester.
  • Add additional events into your calendar (or another tool such as a planner). These are typically classes, office hours, research hours, personal plans, meetings for extracurricular activities, work/study hours, exercise/practice, or even down time.
  • Look into the future! Now that you’ve created a visual representation of expected future work, you can anticipate what that work flow might look like. The goal is to understand if you have created an environment where you will be successful at Penn and Wharton. For example, if there is 1 week with 3 midterms on the same day that each count for approximately 40% of your grade, it is incredibly powerful to know that before the Add/Drop period ends!
  • Make some decisions. Empowered with this knowledge, you may look to create options for yourself. This may come in the form of deciding to take the class with a different professor and hence different testing structures. Alternatively, you might be able to anticipate when you need to begin studying for an exam. You could let people in your club know in advance that, during a particular week, you will be committing your time to studying.

Marisa Rackson, W16, concentrated in operations, information, and decisions with a specialization in decision processes and management