10 Reasons Why You Should Take a Summer Course

Dur­ing spring finals, every­one has the same thought, “Almost done and then sum­mer vaca­tion! God, I need a vaca­tion.” It’s pretty unlikely that you want to sign up for a sum­mer class. If you aren’t required to take courses over the sum­mer, why would you? The last thing you want is to con­tinue allow­ing your brain to fry. And some col­leges won’t take finan­cial aid, if you have it, so why waste the money? On the other hand, cer­tain col­leges make it a require­ment to take a few cred­its over the sum­mer. In this case, I’ve seen most stu­dents sign up for three classes all at once to get them out of the way. It can feel aggra­vat­ing to have a vaca­tion stolen from you, but why not make the best of this sit­u­a­tion? If the school makes it a require­ment, pace yourself—take two classes max­i­mum. If you aren’t being forced to reg­is­ter for a sum­mer term, you should sign up any­way for at least one in your college-lifetime (a fairly easy one—I’m not say­ing to go take organic chem­istry or bio­chem­istry). It doesn’t even have to be the entire sum­mer (if your col­lege offers dif­fer­ent ses­sions). Here are 10 rea­sons why tak­ing a course dur­ing the sum­mer is not as bad as you might imagine:

1)      You are able to absorb more knowl­edge. If you’re a full-time stu­dent, you prob­a­bly jug­gle four to six classes at a time. Your mind is scat­tered through­out dif­fer­ent classes and strug­gling to remem­ber for­mu­las, dates, and facts. Sum­mer is dif­fer­ent. With one course, you can finally focus all your atten­tion on the class at hand. Some­times, we for­get why we’re really in col­lege; sure we want to social­ize and have fun, but col­lege is a way to fur­ther our edu­ca­tion. Sum­mer is a great time to step back and immerse your­self in the infor­ma­tion with­out the insane stress.

2)      Boost your GPA. As I said before, you focus much more on your sum­mer class(es). If you aim for a rel­a­tively easy class, say a human­i­ties require­ment, chances are you can make that easy A. Even if you decide to take an upper-level class, the atten­tion you can give the class is greater, so your grade should cor­re­late to the amount of time you put into the class. Com­pared to fall and spring, when you have to divide study time amongst other courses, sum­mer study time will be greater. (I’m not guar­an­tee­ing that you can make the A, but your chances will be higher, espe­cially if you use the study time wisely.) Instead of strug­gling to get the C+ in biol­ogy, you instead end up with an A-; def­i­nitely a grade booster there!

3)      Stay on track in aca­d­e­mics. As great as the col­lege life may seem, you can’t be a col­lege stu­dent for­ever. Tak­ing a sum­mer course will help keep you on track and grad­u­ate in a timely man­ner. It hap­pens to the best of us, but some­times a class turns out to be more than you bar­gained for and it’s too late to drop or you think you can man­age to pass. Come finals time and you real­ize, “Damn. I’m screwed.” Final grades come out and the ver­dict is in: you need to retake the class. Here is where the sum­mer term advan­tage comes in. If that class is offered dur­ing the sum­mer, retake it then, so you can stay on track. If it isn’t avail­able, retake that class next year in place of a fall/spring class that can be taken in summer.

4)      Spend more time get­ting to know your pro­fes­sor. If you take only one or two classes, it stands to rea­son that you have more time. Go see your pro­fes­sor or TA dur­ing their office hours! Don’t have any­thing you need from them? Go and make up a ques­tion. More one-on-one face time with your instruc­tor will allow you to feel more com­fort­able around them. So, if you do have a seri­ous ques­tion in the future, it won’t feel as intim­i­dat­ing when you go meet with them. This also gives the pro­fes­sor to get to know you a lit­tle more—can you say incred­i­ble col­lege recommendation?!

5)      Take advan­tage of your apart­ment lease. Not every­one lives on cam­pus, so if you hap­pen to live in a rented apart­ment or shared house, use it! Find­ing a trusted per­son to sub­lease (and not trash your place while you’re away) can be dif­fi­cult. Post­ing ads on Craigslist and in Face­book class groups won’t always work. Sign up for the sum­mer before you go through the trou­ble of search­ing for some­one to sub­lease. When you find some­one, drop the class before it costs money and the sum­mer starts. How­ever, if the ad falls through, then just stay for the class you enrolled in! If you don’t want to bother going through the trou­ble, decide early on to stay for the sum­mer and make the most of the apart­ment you are pay­ing for.

6)      Invite fam­ily and friends to see you. Bal­anc­ing school work and a social life (along with sleep­ing and eat­ing) can be tough. You might find your­self too busy over fall/spring semes­ter to go home or have friends and fam­ily over. Maybe you don’t want to have to hide all your par­ty­ing from fam­ily, so you make sure to keep them away. You’ll find this is not as much of a prob­lem over sum­mer.  A lot of peo­ple are gone, so you have more time to your­self. Even though you are still going to class and doing home­work, I’m sure you can find the time to host fam­ily and out-of-town friends. Memo­r­ial Day and July 4th are per­fect times for a visit. Let them spend a mini vaca­tion with you (and let your par­ents pay for your meals for a long weekend!)

7)      Develop health­ier eat­ing habits. Take-out and Ramen noo­dles are a col­lege student’s best friend. These are mean, nasty friends. They bully you into the fresh­man fif­teen. Get a new best friend over the sum­mer. You have the time to go to the super­mar­ket. Try new recipes and cook (with veg­eta­bles). Stop tak­ing the easy way out with a McDonald’s drive-thru or an on-campus Chick-fil-A. Try using this time to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

8)      Find activ­i­ties that nor­mally aren’t offered dur­ing fall/spring. Sure, your col­lege always plans excit­ing events. Book­worms, like myself, tend to miss out on all the fun though. Either that or I for­get to go because I’m swamped with work. As I’ve already men­tioned, sum­mer gives you a much more flex­i­ble sched­ule. There might not be the same extrav­a­gant con­certs hosted, but sum­mer has some hid­den gems. With your new­found time, go dis­cover what your col­lege has to offer! I go to UF and I just found out that next week is Bug Week!—I minor in ento­mol­ogy, so this is some­thing that I want to par­take in. Go to your cam­pus’ web­site and actu­ally read the emails you are sent; you might find some­thing that peaks your interest.

9)      Use the col­lege gym. You pay for it in tuition, why not use it? If you hap­pen to be a gym enthu­si­ast, going every day, good for you! (Seri­ously, that’s great!) But, for those who find them­selves like me and my room­mate, you find your­self busy with course work, social­iz­ing, extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties, or all of the above. We always tend to say, “I’ll just go tomor­row.” I’m sure you can see where this is going… tomor­row turns into the next day, then the next day turns into next week, and then next week turns into next month. It’s a sad, vicious cycle. If you end up tak­ing a short sum­mer ses­sion, you can actu­ally go to the gym often. When you get home, you can proudly show off your toned body at the next pool party!

10)   Expe­ri­ence a new cam­pus atmos­phere. Every­one always talks about hav­ing the ‘col­lege expe­ri­ence’ and sign­ing up for a sum­mer term is one expe­ri­ence no one really men­tions. If you hap­pen to attend a large uni­ver­sity, you’ll notice that the sum­mer term turns into a ghost town. Most stu­dents pack up, head­ing home or leav­ing for a sum­mer intern­ship. It turns into a com­pletely dif­fer­ent atmosphere—like you go to another col­lege. Say good­bye to long lunch-rush lines for cam­pus din­ing! If you ever want to find out how smaller col­lege cam­puses feel, stay for the sum­mer. You never know, it might be a refresh­ing change of pace.

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