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Semester scheduling creates stress for students

At Ohio University, nursing is one of the top majors students pursue. Despite its many challenges, the scheduling process only adds to the student's distress. 

Christine Blay is a sophomore studying nursing and public health. She is also a learning community leader and is involved in several other scholar programs. Blay makes it clear that nursing is above everything when it comes to her schedule; she must revolve her life around the schedule specifically curated by her advisor.

"We don't get to schedule our own classes for the nursing courses, the School of Nursing does it for us," Blay said, "So if you pass the semester, you get to move up next semester. There's like a benchmark, 80% in every class, before you can move on. Anything below that means we have to take a fifth year or retake a class that following year."

Unlike Blay, who began her nursing prerequisites during her sophomore year, freshman Chloe Weiker has had a little bit of a different experience when signing up for her nursing classes. She mentioned she is currently enrolled in chemistry and anatomy, where the classes are used to weed out the non-serious nursing majors.

"The point of it is they like you to take them at the same time, and it's supposed to be super hard to get a bunch of people out before we apply," said Weiker.

Typically, the average student creates their schedule along with advice from the advisor. Nursing majors differ from this natural routine and must follow the schedule that was made for them, which comes later than the typical November scheduling process for the Spring Semester. This late timing schedule leaves nursing majors struggling to find suitable general classes within their strict schedules. 

"For me for example, I was supposed to take a public health class that's only offered in the fall or the summer, and I had to rearrange my whole schedule because of a nursing class," Blay said.

Unfortunately, the cards are never in the nursing majors' favor. Blay said she has never had a day off during the week like most students are fortunate to get.

"One thing that has helped me is Google Calendar, Microsoft too, and my planners," Blay said. "I plan my day by the hour, I make sure every hour is being utilized for something. I end up studying late at night sometimes which is not good because I don't get sleep." 

Nursing students are not the only ones struggling with scheduling problems. Chloe Maushart, a junior studying integrated mathematics, is scheduled in the block below her actual level due to transfer credits being lost in translation. This threw her graduation plan off and will potentially cause her to graduate late. 

"I'm in a 2000 level block right now, and then also right now a 3000-level block was being offered, and I need to take that before I can move forward, and I need that for a teacher's license," Maushart said. 

Trying to plan the perfect schedule is already difficult; when the planning is left in the hands of an advisor, the perfect schedule can quickly become unpredictable. 

"I scheduled for spring on Nov. 1st," said Maushart, "At that point, nothing had been said or decided. So, I just kind of threw in a hodgepodge of courses that they have given me to schedule, and they were still working on it. And supposedly they have a schedule made up for me to take, but my advisor has yet to tell me what that is."

All students should pursue a class schedule that is best suitable for them, but when they are left in unpredicted circumstances, it is common for students to get discouraged, especially as first-year students. As a learning community leader, Blay encourages all first-year students to keep going and not give up as challenging as the classes may become.

"Just don't give up," she said. "When you get into a program even though it's hard and stressful, it's great to be in the number one nursing program in the state."


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