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SOIS - designing my own
Brighton, Rochester NY

Classes, Professors, Majors, and More

Sandra Malinowski on Monday, 22 August 2016. Posted in Advising & Support, Coursework

Your first semester as a freshman can be a bit of a whirlwind. From dorms, to new friends, to can be overwhelming.

I remember as a freshman my biggest challenge was figuring out classes. Never before had I needed to get my own textbooks and determine my study schedule. I was a bit naive looking up textbooks because I assumed they would be $10 or maybe $20, but not $105! I was shocked to say the least. Thank goodness for my Orientation Assistant (now called Orientation Leaders) told me about Amazon Prime for students, valorebooks, campus book rentals, etc. She also recommended that I hold off until my first week of classes before I purchase any textbooks. Why? Textbooks are always subject to change. And she was right. According to the Barnes and Noble website for my first year writing class, I needed two books outlining the writing process. As it turned out, my professor didn’t agree with using textbooks for class so we didn’t need them. The only class that I actually needed to rent a textbook was for my math class.

Anyway, something else that may be new to you are syllabi. Professors will usually hand out a syllabus for the class they teach which will outline when tests are, how the class will be taught, when the final exam is, when office hours are, and the professor's contact information. My advice is...


I cannot stress enough how important the syllabus is. I know it can seem like it's just another paper, but it will save you from either doing too much work or not enough. Also, it contains how to get in contact with your professor...which leads me to office hours.


Even if you don’t have any questions, stop by for a visit. The professors are sometimes your best resources for advice or class suggestions. I’ve literally had professors work with me to find classes that will not bore me. I’ve had professors who provide contacts in the industry. Professors are amazing and they are not scary. I know I was a bit freaked out to go find a professor and have them answer my questions, but after you visit one professor it becomes easier to approach staff and faculty.

This might be a lot to absorb, but your first semester you will discover and learn so much.