Update: Surviving Summer Courses
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about tips to survive summer courses. Now, most of the first summer semester has passed and I’ve had the opportunity to put those tips into practice. The following are a few of my realizations:
First: It’s Intense
When people say college summer school is fast-paced, they aren’t kidding. Summer courses are intense. You can have a group presentation, a three-page essay and an exam all in the same week.
The workload is intense, but it’s not impossible. You just need to keep up with your classes. Going to class is extremely important. Skipping a couple of days might not seem like a big deal, but the amount of material covered each session is crucial to passing the class.
Second: You Can’t Procrastinate
Even if you are a great procrastinator, it’s just something that can’t happen in summer school. Leaving everything to the last minute will drive you crazy.
For example, I failed to keep up with my planner and almost missed an assignment that was worth two letter grades. I was able to finish it on time, but I only slept for a total of three hours. That will be the last time I do that — the stress to finish the project was painful, and the time I spent not working on the assignment wasn’t worth the lack of sleep.
Third: You Need to Disconnect to Survive
It can be hard to find the middle ground between going to class, doing homework, having a job and still enjoying your summer, but you must make time to relax.
Even if the world around you is going 100 mph, making the time to disconnect from school is necessary to survive summer school. I don’t mean blowing off projects just to enjoy the weekend, but find some time for you. For the sake of your mental health, take a break every once in a while.
Summer terms are most definitely not for the weak. They require a commitment to studying and keeping up with your own work. Your professors are always willing to help — but remember, they are trying to teach 16 weeks of class in only four weeks. So if you have a question, go to them ASAP. Waiting a few days to talk about last week’s lesson will be a frustrating experience for both of you.
Of course, my intention is not to scare people out of taking summer courses, but you need to know it is a very different experience. You really need to understand that the student lifestyle you maintain during the spring or fall semesters probably isn’t going to work in the summer.