How I finished my major in two years

Although college is set to be four years, more and more students are graduating late, often because of a lack of guidance. When I looked at my major requirements, I noticed the high amount of general education requirements (or gen eds if you will) needed to graduate. Additionally, a good number of the electives that I wanted to take required me to take prerequisites (pre-recs) that I had no use for.

The DARS system can be tricky to figure out, and it might be risky to take certain classes, but it’s not impossible to graduate early. By working the system, I was not only able to be on track to graduate a year early, but I was also able to finish my major sequence by the end of my Sophomore year, taking classes I wanted to on the side as well. I’ve found a few tips and tricks you can use to take the classes you want, ignore the ones you don’t, and possibly graduate a year early. But before you learn how to beat the system, you have several important steps to take:


  1. Set up a spreadsheet of your class requirements.


I know this seems like overkill, but by putting all the classes I needed in a spreadsheet, I was able to figure out what classes I needed to take when, and even if a class I needed was full, I was able to quickly figure out what I could substitute.

Now, it doesn’t need to be color-coded or filled with various tabs, but breaking down classes by categories (i.e. Ged-Eds, Electives, Major Requirements) helps create a balanced schedule, learn the pre-recs of each class, and help re-build semesters if you decide to add or drop a minor or certificate.


  1. Get Green Slips


The fastest way to get into any class is to get a green slip. Green slips are pieces of paper that an instructor can sign so you can attend their class. Professors at OU are willing to sign you into their class, if you can make a good case. For example, I wanted to take a 4000-Level Journalism class that had a pre-requisite. Since I had experience in journalism, I decided to contact the professor to explain to her how I had a good case. Even though it was a 4000-level class, I was still able to a pass.


  1. Talk to Upperclassmen


Other people in your major have probably figured out ways to work through classes, and they won’t be shy to share. Talking to upperclassmen not only helped me figure out which classes and professors to take, but also that I could test out of certain classes.


  1. Check which classes you can test out of or substitute


Besides Advanced Placement credits, there are possible ways students can get out of classes. For example, Scripps students that are required to take Principles of Reasoning (PHIL 1200) can waive that requirement with a math credit. There are also tests to exempt you from classes, such as the Composition Exemption Exams, which can waive your Freshman and Junior Composition requirement.

Some of your requirements can also be substituted. This is especially true with minors. For my Journalism minor, I was exempt from all but one class, so I could specialize in whichever classes I wanted. This just requires confronting advisors and department heads about the requirements for the degrees.


  1. Look at online classes


Online classes are the easiest way to schedule in classes, especially gen-eds. Almost every gen-ed requirement can be taken online, including your Tier III. This is a great way to take a class that seems like a burden, but beware – taking an online class can cause you to forget about the assignments. Otherwise, it’s a great way to finish some work during syllabus week.


Find out how one woman traveled more than 500 miles to learn to love herself

Pres Seymore made a huge life decision by moving from Atlanta, Georgia to Athens, Ohio. By transitioning from a predominantly African-American neighborhood to a predominantly Caucasian, Seymore couldn’t avoid the issue of race.

“It was [at Ohio University] where I learned that I couldn’t hide certain aspects of myself,” said Seymore to a crowd of OU students and faculty.

Despite occasional harassment from students on Court Street, she was able to find a community to support her.

“My friends helped me learn to love myself,” she said. “I’m black, I’m gay, and that’s just who I am.”

This was one of the many stories told at The Bobcat Unity Walk, hosted by The International Student Union (ISU) on Thursday at Baker University Center to promote diversity in the Ohio University community.

The idea for the Unity Walk was a result of ISU’s desire to create an event that would bring the University’s student body together following recent events of terrorism in the news and incidents in Athens regarding racism, bias and safety concerns, according to Hashim Pashtun, the president of ISU.

Hashim Pashtun
Hashim Pashtun, the president of ISU who is pursuing his doctoral degree in civil engineering, speaks about promoting diversity at the Bobcat Unity Walk

“We wanted to do something that acknowledged all Bobcats as individuals and how we can support one another,” Pashtun said to Compass.  “Even if I know about other cultures, that doesn’t mean I know about all cultures. If I expect someone to respect my country, my culture, my religion, I have to respect you, your culture, your beliefs. And respecting one another means getting to know one another.”

Pashtun said ISU has three hopes for this first-ever Unity Walk.

“We want to give students hope,” he said. “We want them to leave there with positive vibes and with the hope that we can attain unity along with diversity. It’s an attainable, achievable goal. The only thing we need to do is commit to our own individual’s responsibilities. We want students to leave the event knowing they made a step, they took the initiative – even if it’s only a one-hour thing – to be concerned about their Bobcat community.”

There were many volunteers who shared their stories about diversity in Athens. Semih Bedir, a film student from Turkey, learned about OU’s program from a teacher back home, but was hesitant about coming to the area.

“I was expecting a conservative town in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “I’m [now] seeing the picture from the other side, and I’m not only learning more about the region, but the [United States] as well.”

Reverend Evan Young discussed how asking more people to join these types of events would help promote positive change on campus.

“By brining your friends into the circle, you add to that vision of the justice that we all share,” he said.

Pashtun said the hope is that as Bobcats get to know each other as individuals, they form a foundation to support each other and strengthen the Bobcat community as whole.

“By getting to know and acknowledging one another, we hope to prepare ourselves for future events that could affect our community,” he said to Compass. “If one part of our community is affected by an event, we want the entire community to show up and let them know they are not alone. I am with you.”


Jared the Dreamer

“My father worked in the steel mills. His father worked in the steel mills. Ever since my great-grandfather came from Poland to Cleveland in the 1920’s, we’ve always been a blue collar family. But that was before the shutdown of the plant in Lorain when I was a kid. Everyone’s dad lost their job, including mine. We struggled on food stamps and welfare for awhile, before my dad found a job as a sales associate, which had lower pay than his union job. Both my parents had to work 12-hour days to put me, my sister and brother through school. They always wanted us to focus on our classes, get a good education so we wouldn’t be in their position. I had a part-time job while in high school so I could support my younger siblings. It paid off. I graduated [high school] with honors and now I’m a full time student in college. I’m hoping to get a job that pays enough so my parents don’t have to work anymore." #planetathens

A photo posted by Rahul Mukherjee (@rahul.mukherjee) on

Here’s one place that’ll reel you away from OU’s party atmosphere

If all of Athens’ entertainment venues were at a party, The Athena would be a wallflower; it might not have the party atmosphere that the college town is famous for, but it’s still an interesting — and underappreciated — aspect of Athens culture.

Athena Booth
The Athena is known in the Athens area for its unique Art Deco style

Located on Court Street, the Athena opened in 1915, making it one of the oldest movie theaters in the country. Ohio University purchased the theater in 2001, restoring it with an Art Deco-style interior.

The Athena’s distinction from many other theaters in the area is its unique movie selection. The theatre hosts many independent films, and has hosted the premises for many major movies such as Aaron Sorkin’s Jobs and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit. Many film classes here at Ohio University take place in the Athena, and its three theaters can even be rented out for private events.

During weekdays, movie goers can access many deals. On Tuesdays, all tickets cost only 4 dollars. On Wednesdays, one small popcorn is free with the purchase of a ticket. Additionally, any show before 6 P.M. is only 5 dollars.

The Athena is a great resource for Athenians to experience great film. It provides students a great way to spend their weekend, and is a suitable alternative to the college party atmosphere.