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I Only Took 4 Classes This Semester, and I’m Glad I Did

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Purdue chapter.

Fall of 2021 was a rough semester for me, and I’m sure it was a weird transition for everyone. Classes are starting to go somewhat back to normal, clubs are meeting in person again, and life got one step closer to pre-pandemic times.

Last spring, I piled up 16 credits along with working 2 jobs and I felt great. I was on top of all my school work, my extracurriculars, and I was making some money for myself! So when I went into fall semester, I thought I could handle more. After all, if I could do school full-time while working food service on campus and doing my paid internship at IU, I could handle a lot more right?

What I failed to take into account was that all my 16 credits were online classes, with lenient grading and less coursework. My internship was entirely virtual and was done on my own time, in my dorm. All the clubs I was in either met online, or rarely met at all and we did everything through GroupMe. But my confidence was boosted, and I took on exec positions in all the clubs I was involved in and took 16 credits again.

This is what my typical week looked like:

Monday: Classes from 9AM-4PM

Tuesday: Classes from 9AM-4PM, club meetings from 5:30-8PM

Wednesday: Classes from 9AM-4PM, club meeting from 7-9PM

Thursday: classes from 9AM-4PM, club exec board meeting from 5-7PM

Friday: classes from 9AM-4PM, club meeting from 6:30-9PM

Saturday: club events some weeks, usually 3-4 hours long (including prep and clean-up)

Sunday: church from 9:30AM-3PM for my on-campus fellowship (including prep and clean-up)

I was so burnt out, but I couldn’t (and also didn’t want to) back out of anything I was involved in. I needed all the classes I was taking so I could graduate on time and I absolutely loved all the clubs I was involved in. But everyday was packed with actually going to in-person classes, meetings, etc. etc.

The second I got home for winter break, I slept the entire 3 weeks away; I think my body gave out from all the pent-up physical and mental stress that I had no time to relieve during the semester. So when I was finalizing my schedule for the spring, I decided to do myself a favor and only take 4 classes. I didn’t really like that idea at all, since I’d been used to taking 5-6 classes every semester since I got to campus in my freshman year. Only having 14 credits didn’t sit quite well with me when I first finalized my registration; I was scared that maybe I wasn’t doing enough or that I would fall behind.

We’re a week into the semester now and I can confidently say that I don’t regret that decision at all. Having only 4 classes to worry about has been amazing; I realized that because of how many classes I had been taking before this, I could cut myself some slack and have a light courseload for one semester. I can actually fully focus on all of my classes now with plenty of time to do work for my clubs and most importantly, get rest.

Imposter syndrome made me afraid that I wasn’t doing enough to “earn my place” where I’m at; I always felt the need to put more on my plate just so that I could feel like I wasn’t a fraud. Especially being at a school full of engineers and students in “hard sciences”, I sometimes feel out of place as a Brain and Behavioral Sciences major so I wanted to make up for it by getting more involved in things outside of my classes. While all of this is great, I definitely put too much on my plate because I was too focused on taking every single opportunity I got, rather than taking care of myself.

Transitioning back from the all-online era of COVID has been difficult for many people, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who had/has problems managing their time now that a lot of things are back in-person and require a lot more time and effort. My advice is to listen to yourself; you know yourself best in terms of what you can and can’t handle and especially during this period of transition, maybe playing it safe is the better option so you don’t overwork yourself!

Hi! I'm Michelle, a senior at Purdue University studying Brain and Behavioral Sciences with a minor in Management. I'm from Orange County in sunny SoCal. Some of my hobbies include golfing, journaling, and singing!