Somehow after three years of stress-induced hives, weight gain, weight loss and anger, I’ve pulled through to graduate next spring. Honestly, I expected to be here until at least December 2012, but I sat down and added up my units and courses last semester and came to the relieving truth that my hard work was worth it, and I will be out of here in May.
And the stressing didn’t stop. Why? Because I didn’t take advantage of academic advising. The following are problems I encountered on my path to graduation, and the reason you need to talk to an adviser ASAP:
1. Overlooked classes: This has gotten me twice. I need one more class for my major, and one more for the diversity requirement. If I hadn’t reread the catalog obsessively, I would have gone through next semester taking only two classes... then kicked myself next fall while taking two more.
2. Summer classes are not always equivalent to school year classes: While declaring my TESOL certificate last week, the adviser said, “This is really good to put on your resume because you can say you’ve worked with native speakers in ENG 470.” *silence* “Oh, nevermind, you took it in the summer. What was that, online quizzes?” Yep.
3. Thanks to budget cuts: Many classes are only offered one semester. A class I was banking on taking next spring for my certificate is only offered in the fall. I lucked out and there’s one other class I can take instead. However, this class is four units -- just how I want to spend the relaxing spring semester I had planned.
4. Declaring things post grad-app makes things CONFUSING: After running around getting various signatures for my TESOL certificate, the TESOL adviser told me it was the wrong form if I had already applied for graduation. The necessary form required one signature and she took care of the rest. I’m still entirely unsure as to when the certificate will show up on my records. Please make it pre-May?
It’s certainly possible to graduate with no help, but from personal experience, I wouldn’t recommend it. As far as I can tell, all the kinks have been worked out. However, one simple meeting last semester could have saved me the last three weeks of panic.