If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’ve decided that Pitt is it. You’re a new student, and maybe you’re nervous. Maybe the thought of living away from home is scary. You’ve tried to gather as much information as possible about your new school–what to wear, who to make friends with, where to eat… but no amount of preparation can help you. Just let go, and let me describe what a typical day of a student at University of Pittsburgh. (Completely based off of my freshman second semester schedule).
7:30 AM — WAKE UP!
During high school you had to wake up early, and odds are you’ll have to do the same at least one day every week. I’m a morning person, so going to 8:00 AM or 9:00 AM classes never phased me, but I know for others it can be rough.
I lived in Sutherland West, which is on the top of Cardiac Hill. I had to wake up at least an hour before my classes if I wanted to look presentable, eat, and make it to lower campus on time.
8:10 AM — Make or Buy Breakfast
I always allotted myself 20-30 minutes to eat Breakfast and prepare my mind for the day. No phone usage, no studying. I usually went to the Perch and talked with the staff while eating slightly runny eggs (you’ll get used to the food).
Pro tip: Always be nice to the janitors/kitchen staff. They work SO HARD for us, and many students don’t even realize it. Plus, if you’re nice, they’ll whip up your favorite sandwich for you.
8:35 — Get to Class
Typically, I walked to class. When it was rainy and miserable, I’d wait for the 10A, 10B, or 20B (busses) to take me to main campus. Walking was always faster, though. If you live on upper campus, it takes 15-20 minutes to walk down the hill and get to class.
9:00 — Spanish
I’m a Biological Science major, Spanish minor. My Spanish class was every morning at 9. If you want to knock all of your classes out by early afternoon, the best thing to do is take early morning back-to-back classes. It’s mentally exhausting at first, but if you add hour gaps in-between classes, it’s not enough time to REALLY study or get anything useful done.
Classes are generally 50 minutes long, but my Spanish class was let out early a few times a week because we went through the material so fast.
10:00 AM — Break
I know I just said don’t put hour gaps in your schedule. I meant what I said. It’s a waste of time. I know this because I put hour long gaps in my schedule and all I did was sit around because I knew there wasn’t enough time to study. I’d spend about 20 minutes practicing Spanish or reviewing biology notes, then had to pack everything up and run to my next class.
11:00 AM — Seminar in Composition
I don’t think I learned much in this class, honestly. I’ve always been a good reader and the writing portions were manageable. I will say this class is required for all Arts and Sciences students, and it’s pretty fun despite the amount of papers you’ll be assigned.
11:50 AM — FRIENDS
For some reason, from 12 PM – 1 PM, none of my friends had classes. It was great. We always met up and ate lunch at the Cathedral Café.
Pro Tip: The long line is for Chick-fil-a, so if you want healthier food, walk around those people and grab some sushi or a salad. Yum.
1:00 PM — Biology
This class was awesome. Everyone always talks about how it’s a weed-out class, and it honestly might be…but it was my favorite part of the day. Everything I learned was fascinating and made me think about people differently.
I have dreams about lectures from this class. No joke. Even now, as I’m writing about it, I’m smiling because I want to learn more! That’s what going to classes should feel like if you’ve chosen the right major.
2:00 PM — Research
For the first month or two of the semester, I hopped on a shuttle to the Children’s Hospital. While there, I had the chance to learn from researchers who are gathering more information about/doing tests for Cystic Fibrosis.
Honestly, I think research should wait until second semester Sophomore year, because I did not have the appropriate background needed to understand what they were doing. I wish I had waited a year, because I found it really interesting, but had no clue how to help.
Pro Tip: WAIT A YEAR BEFORE RESEARCHING. Bio 1/2 and General Chemistry 1/2 are necessary if you want to understand most of what they’re doing.
6:00 PM — Eat
I usually returned to upper campus at 6-6:30 PM. My friends and I ate together, then headed upstairs to study.
8:30 PM — Gym
1 hour is enough. Any more, and you’ll regret it. Use you’re time to study. Sure, physical health is important because it helps you stay balanced and stress-free, but don’t neglect your actual work.
9:30 PM — Wind Down
Shower, brush your teeth, change into comfy clothes, and decompress.
9:45 PM — Study Until Your Vision Blurs
This is not high school. An hour of studying won’t cut it. For every hour you’re in a lecture, you should spend 2+ hours outside of class studying. So, if you do the math:
15 credits = 30 study hours (minimum) per week.
16 credits = 32
17 credits (dear lord, don’t start your freshman year with more than 16): 34
18 credits: 36
1:30/2:00 AM — Crash
I read somewhere that sleeping well leads to higher retention rates. Make sure you get a good night’s rest so you can do well in school.
Everyone has a different schedule based on their major. Some people DO have easier coursework than others, but that shouldn’t matter. College is difficult for EVERYONE, no matter what major you pick. Be proactive. Fill your schedule up and plan in time for studying, socializing, classes, clubs, and sleep. If you can manage your time well, you’ll be less stressed and have time for everything you want to do. Good luck!