How to Get Out of UF’s ECO 2023 Alive

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When Gators hear that class singsong “Oh, Director!” in their heads, only one professor comes to mind. Meet the man, the myth, the legend: Professor Mark Rush. Dr. Rush’s ECO 2023 finds a way into your life one way or another. You’ll sit through a semester of his jokes, whether you’re a business student stepping into your major’s sphere, or a Gator knocking out pre-recs out one by one. However, this microeconomics class is not all fun and games. The tough concepts, tricky questions and splash of mathematics in this course strikes fear into the hearts of any Gator. Thankfully, ECO 2023 champions spilled all the secrets you’ll need to know in our expert survival guide.

Check out 10 tips you need to pass ECO 2023 at the University of Florida.

1. Go to class — to laugh at his jokes.

The poor director is often the punchline to many of Professor Rush’s jokes. Rush’s humor clearly carries an air of sophistication. From “The director is so dumb, he got fired from the M&M factor for throwing out all the Ws,” to “Only the Director can throw rocks at the ground and miss,” we can all tell Dr. Rush isn’t the Director’s biggest fan. But don’t think of the jokes as immature and instead see the method behind Dr. Rush’s madness. He wants you to pay attention. He wants to see his students ready to engage and pay attention. So even if your boyfriend told you that “Yo Mama” joke before, crack a smile. Sit back, laugh along and listen closely. You might learn some microeconomics on the way.

2. Pay attention to his end of semester drop email, and think about the big picture.

Our legend himself prefaces this fateful notification with, “This is the one email I absolutely hate to send.” Don’t panic just yet. This email holds nothing but solid advice. He beautifully titles it: “Thoughts on Dropping.” Professor Rush wants his students to excel. And he knows that this may require dropping his class. He wrote, “An F will hang around your transcript like a bowling ball chained to your leg and will handicap you throughout your academic career.” Make a judgement call if you know you’re doing poorly in ECO2023. Rush advises students not roll those “I just need a 100 on the final to get a C in the class” dice. Know your odds, play to your strengths. He won’t feel offended if you hit that big red button on your UFL page. You always have the option to drop it like it’s hot.

3. You don’t need to break the bank with Smokin’ Notes or StudyEdge.

Dr. Rush offers additional resources like Smokin Notes, Study Edge or his personal study guide for the course during your time. These resources provide you with in-depth explanations of concepts, multiple examples and numerous practice exams. If you can afford these resources, or catch them from a friend, good for you. However, don’t worry if you’re concerned about breaking the bank. We’ll go over all of the free resources for this course. Just put in the work so your wallet won’t hurt. UF telecommunications junior Serena Donovan said, “I bought the Smokin’ Notes, and while they were really helpful, they were a bit too expensive for me. Use these as a last resort if you don’t have the time to attend tutoring or study sessions.”

4. Practice your tiny handwriting or get ready to print.

Dr. Rush administers three exams: two midterms and a final. For each exam, he allows one 3×5” index card filled with any information of your choosing, front and back. Some choose to doodle their crush’s name, and some may forget to bring that index card at all. Take advantage of this blessing and be that crazy student. Recognize your microeconomic weaknesses, condense them into need-to-know points and cover every millimeter of those 30 square inches. You can type it up and shrink it down or find the finest pen. Spend hours on perfecting that index card and make it your holy grail. It also doesn’t hurt to get a little motivational note from your friends on that card, either. I’d frame all three of my own in a heartbeat.

5. Become fluent in microeconomic charts.

Microeconomics has too many cause and effect instances to count. Things differ in short run and long run situations, demand isn’t always elastic and opportunity costs differ in every question. Instead of trying to memorize every result of every situation, memorize graphs and concepts. UF computer science sophomore Lucas Grinspan said, “Instead of memorizing specific outcomes, I tried to memorize every chart. You can play around with the curves to test outcomes and understand the lessons more conceptually. During the stress of an exam, it’s easy for those rote memorizations to be easily be forgotten and mixed up in your head.”

6. Take advantage of free resources.

The UF college of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching Center offers tutoring sessions for many of the common classes for the Gators. Do you want to know the one key factor about these resources? They’re free. Unlike Smokin’ Notes or Study Edge, you’ll receive in-person, free help at the back of Little Hall for almost every subject. Why break the bank when you don’t need to?

7. Know the first test isn’t like the others.

The concepts of supply and demand come second nature to seasoned economics veterans. The first midterm exam of this class focuses heavily on those concepts, and most test takers will walk out of this exam with high chins and wide smiles. Ride that wave of confidence after you receive that 100, but tread carefully. Most of the meat of the course lies in the second midterm. Thinking you can ace it just as easily as the first will work against you. UF finance sophomore Elizabeth Schultz said, “Funny story, I thought I knew economics really well, so I didn’t study and passed the first test with a great score. But then I failed the second test and realized I didn’t actually know anything.” Learn from Schultz’s mistakes. Feel proud of your good scores, but don’t dial down your drive.

8. Don’t overthink his quirky grading system.

Professor Rush’s class has a unique grading system. His syllabus states the two grading scenarios: “The two midterms are weighted 40 percent each and the final 20 percent, or the highest midterm is weighted 50 percent and the final 50 percent.” You can either do stellar on both midterms and comfortably bomb the final, or do well on just one midterm and the final. Grinspan said, “The first exam was surprisingly easy, but I tried not to get comfortable and cruise through one of the other tests. You should never pool your focus into half the exams. Treat each one seriously, even if only a few of them end up counting towards your grade in the class.” Many people come up with a plan of which to fail or which test to coast on purposefully. These are not the healthy habits a college student should develop, even though they may spell success for some. Work hard on every exam and put effort into every study session.

9. Take advantage of the fact that it’s online.

ECO 2023 is fully online like many other business classes at UF. Learn to take advantage of the virtual lectures if you can’t attend the live class. Set the speed to 1.6, whip out your notebook, and catch all the content without enduring every empty moment of the classroom.  For some, these online lectures allow them fast forward through all of Professor Rush’s jokes. For others, it’s a chance to hear, “The Director keeps asking me the number to dial 911,” repeatedly. UF material engineering and environmental science senior Angelica Cortes said, “I never went to the live lectures due to schedule conflicts, or, if I could go, it seemed more bearable to speed through the lectures on fast forward.” Clearly Cortes means business about her classes. Do what works for you, just like she does.

10. Participate in his examples and attend his office hours.

Students most often ignore professors’ office hours. But Dr. Rush craves your questions. He wants to see your face up close, learn about your personality and hear you liked that last joke he cracked. Office hours make you stand out in his class; Dr. Rush teaches over 1,000 students each semester. Dr. Rush welcomes any inquires and is extremely friendly in person. Go see him if you take this class.

I'm a sophomore in journalism at the University of Florida. In my free time, you can find me on a lake with my rowing team, collecting new exotic houseplants, or sleeping in a hammock on campus.

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