Less Partying, More Studying: Being a Biology Major Requires Dedication to Studying

Written by: Paige Spitzner

Determined full-time biology student – psych is a minor interest. Future chiropractor that will always have your back! Jokes, animals, and coffee are my jam!


Being a biology major can be very intimidating. When I took my first biology class at Millikin, I was scared because I did not know most of the information they were talking about. Many of my professors said to the whole class that this information is something we should have learned in high school. I did not cover many of those topics during my high school career. However, through determination, studying, and asking questions, I was able to succeed in my classes.

Many of the classes require hours of studying outside of the classroom. Dr. Schroeder stated, “the general rule is 1-2 hours of studying outside of the classroom for every hour inside the classroom.” This general rule applies to biology majors because, as Dr. Schroeder said, “most of what we learn in biology can’t be memorized the night before a quiz or exam.” It is beneficial to spend as much time, if not more, studying throughout the week for the same amount of time we spent in class. I always try to study the night after class for at least an hour to identify any topics that I need more clarification on or to ensure I understand the materials.

Dr. Jennifer Schroeder

Jazmin Brown, a friend and classmate, understands the struggles of being a biology major. She is also on Millikin’s women’s basketball team. School work and basketball keep her busy, but she also manages to work for the athletics doing laundry at Griswold. On any given day of the week, Jazmin’s daily routine starts out with classes. She then heads to work for for approximately 2 hours. After she is off work, she goes to the gym to work out, for at least an hour. When she is done at the gym, she finds something to eat and she starts to prepare for her final classes of the day, basketball conditioning, and basketball scrimmages. Once all of her classes and basketball practice is over, she finishes her day with homework and self-care.

Jazmin Brown

Majoring in biology is not limiting you to only have careers in health care fields. There are numerous careers outside of health care where it is beneficial to have a background in biology. Many people think that just because they are majoring in biology, they have to pursue a career in health care. However, that is not the case. Dr. Schroeder stated, “biology isn’t just for health fields though.” Many biology majors and their peers believe that a degree in biology means you have to have a concentration in a health care position. When Jazmin was asked what is one thing that she knows now about her major that she wishes she would have known as a freshman, she replied, “one thing I wish I would have known about my major is that the possibilities are endless with a degree in biology.”

Throughout my time at Millikin, I have learned that our professors want to see us succeed, not see us fail. Dr. Schroeder’s advice for biology majors is,

“Study early, study often, and ask questions! Most of what we learn in biology can’t be memorized the night before a quiz or exam. By reviewing material more often, we become more familiar with (and thus less scared of) the terminology. I also find that students are often hesitant to ask questions. Please ask them! It’s the only way we know what we need to re-cover or go over differently.”

There are also many resources provided to us that we can utilize if we are struggling in a class. Jazmin’s advice for fellow biology majors is,

“to use the resources provided to you by your professors because it may be what really helps you pass the course. As well as stay organized with homework, exams, and extracurriculars.”

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