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What's so great about Winter School?

Cartoon smiling snowman

You might be reading this in bed, having just woken up from a long sleep-in. You might be reading this while you browse Facebook in the afternoon. You might be reading this late at night because you have nothing to wake up early for tomorrow. Or you might be reading this from inside a classroom, having gone back to uni to do winter school.

While most uni students skipped happily straight from exams to holidays, for a few dedicated people the end of exams just meant more time for uni. If you've ever looked at the winter subject list but weren't sure if you should enrol, here's what it's like...

Why do a winter unit?

After finishing exams I enrolled in a one-week winter subject because I wanted to get another subject ticked off. Just like summer school, winter school means you can get units finished, meaning a lighter study load during semester or possibly even an earlier graduation.

Winter school also allows you to take units that might not be offered in your uni’s regular timetable. It also gives you one-on-one time with your lecturer because (despite the benefits I’m listing) winter classes attract few people and lectures are always a lot smaller. Because my uni is small anyway we already have quite a lot of contact with lecturers, but even that was stepped up during my winter unit. I finished the week of classes feeling more knowledgeable and confident about the unit’s content than I had about any unit I’ve done before.

What’s the catch?

Winter term units aren’t just slightly colder summer school classes. Because the winter holidays are shorter the units are crammed in together, making it more difficult to have a proper holiday. By the time you’ve done your week (or two) of lectures, researched your essay and studied for your exam you’ve got one weekend of holidays left before you have to muster the enthusiasm to start semester all over again, where you’ll be studying alongside classmates who are tanned and relaxed from European adventures. Suddenly, your extra few credit points don’t really seem worth it (#lawstudentproblems).

While winter school doesn’t make for the most relaxing break, it can really benefit your regular semesters. This is the second winter unit I’ve done; the first was this time last year. Having completed subjects in the holidays, I was able to do three units in second semester last year instead of my usual five.

Winter school is also great if you want to move your graduation time – I have a friend doing two winter and two summer school units this year in order to graduate before his HECS time runs out – or, you could finish early and still get your Europe time in as well.

Winter school is interesting, engaging, and you make new friends, which I thought was totally impossible five years into law school. If you have some extra time on your hands next winter break, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend doing a winter term subject.

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