Choosing Classes

This has been my first week of my Sophomore year and I spent most of it Adding/Dropping classes to make sure that I had the schedule that I was mostly O.K. with and having the subjects that I wanted to have. Some people who are studying in Europe do not have the luxury of choosing individual classes and schedule. They simply get assigned the classes that they have to take. However, if you do have this opportunity, it will be a shame to not take advantage of it.

How Many Hours/Courses Should You Take?

This question is extremely personal and depends from person to person as well as from different situations. An easy answer will be “as many as you can handle while having a normal social life, extra curricular involvement, and (maybe) a part time job.” I have some friends who took 12 hours and always complained about having too much work. And I had other friends who took 18 hours and were fine.

This question gets more complicated if you want to graduate faster, declare a major faster, raise your GPA, transfer, or get into a certain program. In this case, you might have to take more hours than you otherwise would have been comfortable with. The transfer reason or the GPA reason are not the best ones to take on more classes and you should be cautious about doing this. It’s better to get a 4.0 taking 12 hours than a 3.0 taking 18.

Also, if you have more “hard” classes, you should take less hours. If you have more “easy” classes, you can afford to take more hours.

Maintain a Balance of Hard/Easy Classes

I know. A lot of college counselors will say that all classes are hard classes. However, this is simply not true. Some classes (such as certain electives) are simply easier. With some subjects, you might find them easier than other people because you are either naturally better at the subject or you had a background in the subject that other people might not have. Which ever the case might be, not all classes are created equal and you will find some classes easier than others.

To determine which classes are easier, you should ask other people for recommendations of easier classes and electives. You should also utilize tools such as Ratemyproffessor.com to decide on which specific class to join based on the professor. You should also assess your own strength and weaknesses and decide on what you find easy and what you find hard. If other people are saying that something is easy and you understand that this type of subject is playing to your strength, than it probably will be an easy class for you.

Once you have determined which classes are easy and which ones will be hard, you should try your best to maintain a balance of easy/hard classes. This way, you will not end up being overwhelmed during a certain semester while having nothing to do and being bored out of your mind during another semester.

Make sure to take the pre requisite classes for your degree to progress

Look at your degree planner and determine, which classes you need to take in order to declare your major, to be able to take upper level courses for your degree, to get into a class that you really want to get into, etc…. This classes should be your #1 priority. Without them, you will end up being stuck with a bunch of electives during one of your semesters and your degree will not be able to progress smoothly. This means that even if you will be stuck with an 8 AM class and your professor will be the worst person in the world, you should still take the class this semester rather than waiting for the next one.

I have this situation with my Business Administration course this semester. Without it, I would have been stuck with a bunch of electives next semester because the class is considered a requirement before you can take most other business courses in my University.

Core Classes and Electives

By core classes, I mean stuff like History, Art, and other subjects that everyone has to take regardless of their major. This type of classes are usually useless and a waist of time. Therefore, you should choose the easiest professors for this classes (the ones who give out the most A’s) and spread them out through out the 4 years (if possible). Make them into easy classes (again, if possible).

For electives that are not specific to your major, the similar rule applies. They should be easy and interesting for you. If an elective takes too much work, you are doing something wrong and should choose an easier elective. Watch for easy electives every time you register for classes. If all easy electives are taken, wait for the next semester to take the easy ones. Likewise, if you absolutely hate doing something, don’t pick that as an elective.

For core classes (or electives) specific to your major, don’t necessarily take the easiest way out. You will need to have a couple of professors that will be able to provide you with a letter of recommendation, guidance, advice, etc… at some point during your College career. Therefore, choose the classes with the professors that will be most likely to do this for you. If a professor had worked in the industry that you are interested in (and was successful at it), his class should definitely be one of your priorities. Also, keep in mind that you might not be able to build a good relationship with every single professor. Therefore, plan on taking more than 2 classes that have those types of professors teaching them.

Read the Syllabus

For the elective classes, read the syllabus as soon as you get it. You need to know what you are getting yourself into from the beginning. If something on the syllabus sounds too hard for an elective (or you don’t feel comfortable doing something), drop that class right away and choose something else to do instead. No point in waisting too much of your time.

Take Morning Classes

I know. You are probably thinking that I’m crazy for recommending this idea and will probably stop reading this blog after reading this point.

However, taking morning classes (preferably 8AM Monday-Friday) is one of the best things that you can do. They will help discipline you and will free up your day. What I mean by this is that if you have all of your classes in the evening, you will probably not have enough discipline to wake up in the morning and will end up sleeping in. With morning classes, you have no choice but to wake up early, which means that you will have more of your day to work on assignments, ask for help, and you will be able to get more work done. They will also prevent you from partying during the work week and on Sundays because it’s harder to wake up for an 8AM class after partying through the night than it is for an evening class. This, again, will most likely have a positive impact on your grades as well as on your health. The only exception to this rule is if you are doing a part time internship or job that requires certain fixed hours. In this case, you should plan your hours around the job/internship.

The first week will be difficult and painful. You will feel tired and hate this idea.  However, after that point, your body will adjust and it will get better. Over all, the benefits of early classes (having more time to be productive) will outweigh the discomfort.

When Should You Register?

As soon as possible. The best classes will go away to people who register the earliest. Therefore, as soon as registration opens, you should already have everything planned out (which courses you plan on taking and with which professors) and go for it ASAP. Than you should use the first week of your new semester (Add/Drop period) to make any adjustments in terms of electives that you didn’t guess correctly as being easy and/or adding a class that you were unable to add earlier.

To summarize, this are the main points of choosing classes. The priority should be as follows:

  1. Take care of prerequisites (you will be screwed if you don’t)
  2. Core classes and electives related to your degree with good professors (if this opportunity comes up, you will be stupid not to take it.)
  3. Balance of easy/hard classes
  4. electives/core classes that you can take during any time through out the 4 years. (You can afford to wait to get what you want)
  5. Timing of your classes (you can suffer the discomfort if it means getting all of the other points right.)

Again, if you have an opportunity to pick your classes, you should choose them wisely.

XOXO,

 

Katy Bronsk

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How to Deal With Failure? 

Chances are, you will fail at some things in life, and, maybe, you will succeed at something. Failure is normal, inevitable, and good, in some cases. At the same time, there are certain things that are better not to fail at.

I separate failure into 3 categories:

  1. Important Things: in this category we have things like failure to cheat successfully and getting caught, failure to get good grades, or failure to stay out of massive debt without a good and sound strategy to pay it off.  This type of failure is serious and should be avoided because it will decrease your chances of success.
  2. Learning mistakes: Whenever anyone starts out at anything new in life, he or she will fail many times. At first, everyone is a loser. Nobody is born being incredibly good/talanted at anything. So at the beginning it is inevitable that you will make mistakes. Those mistakes are ok. They are part of learning. In this case, failure is actually good because it shows that you are at least trying.
  3. Not My Thing: not everybody can be talented at everything. Chances are, you will be a winner at 2-3 things in life (if lucky and work hard) and a loser at everything else. At some point, you have to admit that something isn’t your thing and that you will never be successful at it. This type of failure is also good and inevitable because it means that you are trying to “find yourself” by trying out new things.

Of course, with all 3 categories, you should try to avoid failure. No one ever sets out to do anything with the desire to fail. However, failing at the last two categories is ok and good, while failing in the first category will cause for you to have issues in the future. This means that you should actually put a lot of effort not to fail in the first category and not care so much about what happens with the other two. It is always possible to come back from any failure. If Trump became president, anything in this world is possible. However, if something will significantly decrease your chances of succeeding in the future, you should avoid that type of failure (for example, getting all F’s in High School, if you dream of going to Harvard.) This also means that you should avoid taking unnecessary risks in this category. What you also have to understand is that if you fail at category #1, you will have to try extra hard to make up this failure with something else. I will not dwell on the first category anymore because I think you all get the point by now and move on to #2 and #3.

For category #2, you have to expect that you will make mistakes and you will be a loser at whatever it is that you set out to do, at first. That is normal and there is nothing wrong with that. Nobody starts out a professional right away. The main thing to remember is to learn from your mistakes and to not repeat them again. Also, it’s probably better to start out learning whatever it is that you want to learn in a non-high stake environment so that when you do screw up, it does not turn into category #1 and does not end up having a significant impact on your future. For example, if you want to learn how to draw, (assuming you know absolutely nothing about it) take some classes outside of school/college instead of taking advanced courses in Art that will count towards your GPA. This way, if/when you screw up, your GPA will not be effected and you will also be able to learn at your own pace. Similarly, if you want to start an internet business but know absolutely nothing about it, do not invest all of your College fund money into this idea. You do not want to end up not going to your dream school because you thought that you would become the next Mark Zuckerberg in your senior year of High School.

You should also be realistic in your progress and understand that in the beginning, you will suck. And if it’s something that you actually want to be good at, the beginning will be extremely difficult. You will feel like a “failure” and a “loser” (which is true, by the way. But so is everyone else when he/she started out). In my experience, trying to fight this feeling and running away from the truth will only make things worse. Instead, you should use this feeling to motivate yourself to practice more at whatever it is that you want to be good at so that you can get out of the “loser” and “failure” zone faster. And, in this case, you shouldn’t be afraid to take risks and fail. Over and over again. The more mistakes you make and the more often you fail (assuming you don’t do it on purpose and learn from it) means that you will get out of the “failure”/”loser” zone faster and become successful at whatever it is that you want to achieve sooner. Also, once you start making improvements, don’t forget to compare yourself to your past performance and recognize how far you’ve come. At the same time, you should recognize that you still have a long way to go before becoming your best. This way, you will not slack of and continue improving.

However, if you try to learn something and you are not making significant progress, at some point you have to admit that this failure is in category #3 (that this activity is simply not your thing) and that you should do something else instead. Everyone is different. Not everyone can be as good at doing something. If this was the case, everyone would be an Olympic champion or a billionaire. Different people can learn different skills with different speed. Some people have won the genetic lottery at certain skill sets (for example, athletics). Some people might have been more lucky with the family that they were born into and have more opportunities that way. No matter how much Einstein will try, he would never look like Bred Pitt. Call it nature, God, or whatever you like, but people are not born equal. Some are more gifted in certain skills than others. This means that, if you are unlucky, no matter how much you try to achieve something, you might never get there.  At some point, you have to admit this to yourself and move on.

Making this call is incredibly difficult (and painful), since different people learn at different pace and simply because you are slower at learning something doesn’t necessarily mean that you will never be able to succeed at it. However, if you are trying to get good at something for more than a year and you are getting no where, it’s probably time to call it quits. No. I’m not saying that you should become a pro in a year. What I am saying is that if you have tried to do something for a year and are making 0  (or minimal) progress, it’s definitely time to try out doing something else. If you really love doing it, you can still do it as a hobby but don’t try to turn it into a career. You don’t want to turn a Category #3 failure into a Category #1.

There is nothing embarrassing about admitting that something is simply not your thing. For example, I tried to play volleyball for over 3 years. I suck at it. I know that I will never be great at it. It’s just no meant to be for me. I admit it. It’s impossible for you to be good at everything in this world. No one is. Those people simply don’t exist. So once you understand that you are not getting anywhere, you should admit it to yourself and move on to trying out other things. Just because you suck at one thing, doesn’t mean you will suck at everything in this world. Eventually, you probably will find something that is “your thing” and that you can get good at. What you should also remember is that the sooner you find “your thing” in your life the better, since you will have more time to develop that particular skill. Therefore, you should not be afraid to fail at Category #3. Trust me, I tried out dozens of different activities until I discovered 3-5 that I can potentially get incredibly good at. Unless you try doing something, you will never know if you enjoy it and (more importantly) if you can get good at it. So if you don’t know what you “want to do with your life” yet, you should be trying out different activities and potentially failing at them in order to figure out the type of activities that you can get good at. This will help you avoid failing to find a meaningful career (which would be a failure in Category #1).

 

Don’t be afraid to fail,

 

XOXO

 

 

Katy Bronsk

P.S. Thank you to all of the new people for following. This blog had reached 15 followers, which feels like a milestone. So thank you guys. You are awesome. Also, I’m sorry for not writing sooner. I was just flying back to College and obviously couldn’t post during the flight. If any of you have any topic suggestions, want to contribute to the blog, or have any other ideas, feel free to comment or email me.

 

 

 

Online Surveys (and doing small tasks on the internet). 

I’m going to appologize right away and say that this blog will mostly be focused on different ideas to make money online for the rest of the Summer. The reason for this is: it’s the Summer and I’m bored so I decided to look for ways to make some extra cash online. I’m also currently stuck in the middle of knowhere so finding stuff to do in person is not going to work. After the Summer, however, I will most likely return things to normal. (Unless a lot of you guys are in love with this new idea and would like for me to continue.) 

Today’s post will focus on the first way that I tried: Filling out Online Surveys and doing other (extremely) low skill stuff online. 

Which Websites did I use? 

I signed up for swagbucks.com, YouGov, Vivatic, and Toluca. Out of this websites, YouGov and Toluca naturally fell away within about 30 minutes because they don’t offer cash payouts, only gift cards. Since I’m interest in cash, I immediately stopped using those websites after I signed up for them. I did play around with swagbucks.com  mainly for the surveys and Vivatic together with CrowdFlower for small low skill tasks. In addition to surveys, swagbucks also allows for you to earn money for watching videos online and searching the web. 

Another website that I didn’t use but that’s great for low skill stuff is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. 

Some Advice 

I feel very stupid writing this section right now because I think literally a monkey can earn money by filling out surveys and that it’s not a great way to make extra cash. However, some things aren’t so obvious and a lot of people are interested in the topic so I will offer some practical advice: 

  • Register as a UK or US user (if you can get away with it). Most surveys/apps for tracking your online usage, etc… are made for US/UK and will not allow for you to participate if you register from other countries. 
  • If you are watching videos on swagbucks, don’t actually watch them. Simply let them run in another window while you do something more useful with your time. Currently, your iPhone/computer can’t determine if you are looking at it or not. So use this situation to your advantage. 
  • Answer surveys honestly or lie, it really doesn’t matter. It’s not like they will check for real. 
  • Look for small tasks that pay the most while requiring the least amount of time. Focus on those tasks. 

 If you have any other advice to add to this section, feel free to do so in the comments. I honestly can’t think of anything because I think it’s such an easy thing to figure out how to do (took me less than 30 minutes to get good). 

The good thing about this method 

The good news about filling out surveys online (and doing other small tasks) is that absolutely everyone who has a smart phone or a laptop (or access to one) and internet connection can do it. Everything that you need to start out is free and extremely easy to set up. 

It also requires 0 skills and anyone can do those easy tasks so you don’t really need to learn anything and you don’t have the “I don’t have any skills” excuse. 

Also, doing this is better than doing stuff like watching Netflix because one cent earned is better than nothing earned. (Or money spent on subscription.) 

The disadvantages 

There are a lot of things that I will be writing in this section, since I think the negatives outweigh the positives. 

  1. you will not be making a lot of money doing this. Surveys and small tasks will pay you cents and pennies. Also, Swagbucks will pay you in “Fake Currency” so you don’t even understand how much you are getting. I only ended up making $3 on Vivatic and 136 points on Swagbucks for the day. 
  2. doing small tasks on these types of websites is incredibly boring. You will spend hours doing incredibly boring work such as researching companies, translating what the robot is saying into human language, or classifying items into categories. All of this tasks will be so easy and routine that you will want to through your laptop out the window. Surveys are a bit more interesting but also will get boring. Whatching videos on Swagbucks is a good idea if you don’t actually watch them. This way you are making money doing almost nothing (even though it’s cents and pennies). 
  3. You are not learning useful skills by doing this. 
  4. You can’t take the money out until a certain point (so you are waiting to raise a certain amount of money before you can send it to yourself through PayPal.) 

Conclusion: 

Doing online surveys/small random tasks online is one of the worst ways to make money. After doing  this for a day, I wanted to kill my laptop (this is not an exaggeration.) It is incredibly boring and if you are even a bit intelligent, you should start looking for better, more higher paying, and more interesting ways to add value. I am definitely giving up on this idea and moving on to trying out other things. 

However, if you have absolutely no skills, are incredibly stupid, and are stuck in the middle of knowhere only with a laptop and internet access, than doing online surveys could be a way for you to make some extra cash instead of complaining about not having enough money. It’s also better than watching TV shows or spending money, because at least you are making something in this time. 
So this concludes my very fast overview of surveys/small, stupid online tasks.

What I have also learned from this experience is that you have absolutely no excuse of not making at least $50 per month (since you can make this much money by literally filling out surveys/doing random small tasks on different websites.) 

I will be trying out something more interesting next week.
XOXO
Katy Bronsk