Shimer students in a great books studies roundtable discussion
You might like the idea of studying humanities because you love reading books from cover to cover, and exploring topics from all angles via thorough research and discussion. At Shimer, we recognize that these tasks take time.
Because student success and wellbeing are important to us, we want to ensure each of our undergrads is equipped with the strategies they need for managing this unique workload. We won’t let you get buried under the weight of all those great books!
Here are four tips for managing your humanities course load in liberal arts college.
1. Plan Ahead: Create a Schedule for Organizing Your Humanities College Study Time
Obvious but essential, we can’t overstate the value of a good student schedule. It’s wise for liberal arts students to make use of planners to create and maintain a strong study routine.
The simple process of writing responsibilities down can help students feel less stressed and frantic in the long run. By making time to list and prioritize your future readings, assignments, and classes, you can clear those responsibilities from the forefront of your mind and file them in a trusted location—ready to be revisited and tackled when the time is right.
And everybody benefits from putting the books down once in a while, so make sure you schedule downtime along with study time!
2. Don’t Let the Thesis Grind You Down (Illegitimi non carborundum!)
Are you intimidated by the thought of writing a liberal arts college undergraduate thesis? Don’t be!
A Shimer performance involving fainting under stress (which we promise will never ‘befall’ you!)
Most first-year Shimer students arrive with trepidations about eventually completing our Senior Thesis Project, but by final year they’re always prepared to pass with flying colours.
If you pursue this path, you’ll get to engage in real academic research and synthesis, present original ideas, and more. To properly pace your research you’ll get to choose a faculty member who guides you every step of the way. With this help, students ease their way through the thesis process and graduate with both a degree and well-earned sense of accomplishment.
3. Look for Humanities Studies Programs with ‘Layered’ Curriculae
In humanities studies at Shimer, students build up to thesis work through our ‘layering’ curricular principle. Each of our humanities courses begins with works that are simple, in the sense that they are foundational or straightforward. As these courses progress, the works become more formal, demanding, nuanced, and complex.
In programs that ask students to start with the basics and tackle more complex works as time goes on, students find the work at the beginning of term equally challenging as the work at the end (when the latter is, in reality, more difficult). Put simply: choose layered programs! As their coursework gets harder, you will get better at managing it.
4. Make Use of Liberal Arts College Study Resources – Including Your Classmates
Liberal arts college is all about feeding and expanding your mind, so mental health is paramount! At Shimer, we have several great resources for students to explore if ever they feel peak stress limits approaching.
From our counselling center to our disability services to our office of spirituality and service learning and beyond, we are committed to helping every Shimerian practice wellness while they study.
And one of the best resources you’ll find here is our vibrant community of students like you. Life at Shimer is about so much more than academics. Along with keeping you accountable for a study schedule and offering insights on your work, good friends will help you keep your priorities in perspective.
Shimer students from the late 50s/early 60s studying together
Are you interested in taking some challenging and rewarding humanities college courses?
Visit Shimer to load up!