What is Summer School Like?
I’m doing summer school at the moment. Yes, I’m inside read while my friends are at the beach, but it’s not all bad. Here’s my take on the pros and cons of summer school…
1. Everybody is outside playing in the sunshine while you’re sitting in class, eyes glossing over at hundred-slide PowerPoint presentations
2. Your classmates stop attending class after the first day of summer semester. My ethics class had around ninety enrollments, sixty-five turned up to the first lecture and the numbers have been steadily dwindling ever since. At the beginning of the second week (our fourth lecture) there were only two-dozen students persevering with the above mentioned PowerPoint presentations.
3. Twelve weeks worth of material is crammed into four weeks. That equates to nine hours of lectures per week. With the recommended study time being four hours of private study for every one-hour of class, that is thirty-six hours of reading a week. This is okay if you do not have any other commitments (e.g. summer vacation work) or distractions (e.g. everybody else playing outside) but can be difficult to achieve otherwise.
4. If you even miss one day of readings you can be left behind very quickly. The difficulty of catching up is compounded by the nature of the intensive teaching style, meaning that material is gone through very quickly and if you don’t understand something the first time round you may not have time to dwell on it.
5. The university campus, although officially ‘open’, is largely deserted. My university is taking advantage of the slower foot traffic during this period to revamp the law building. This involves deconstructing the reception area and rebuilding it on a different floor. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing place to be at the moment.
The Pros Now you may be thinking that I’m obviously regretting studying over summer, but all complaints aside, I am actually quite glad to be enrolled. I think of it this way:
1. If I weren’t going to uni three days a week, I’d probably be slothing at home with the PlayStation. The summer ideal of spending time at the beach with your friends and all your tanned hot bods is really just that, an ideal. I think the beach starts to get old after the sunburnt tips-of-ears and too much sand in awkward places.
2. Completing a summer unit is a great way to take the pressure off during regular semesters. This is especially so if you would otherwise be expected to overload. Similarly, if the legal scholarship stars don’t align for you and you need to repeat a subject or can only study your dream elective in a certain semester, taking one or two units over summer can help you avoid extending the length of your degree.
3. By virtue of there being less students studying over summer, there is less demand for library resources. This means that you can get away with not purchasing your prescribed texts because you know that several copies will always be available in the library. You’ll also have the pick of the best seating, computer, printer etc. Although small, and perhaps neurotic, these options can make a difference to my mood, which in turn affects my concentration and focus.
4. My summer holidays are almost four months long and, without doing anything study-related during this period, I would completely forget how to read, write and research. Studying a summer unit is keeping my law student skills sharp, my visits to Officeworks regular and my level of productivity high. This should make the transition into semester one easier because I’ve not completely forgotten what being a university student involves.
5. I can go to uni dressed in pajamas and feel no shame because very few people will see me, and even those that do cannot judge because they too are taking advantage of the relaxed vibe of summer semester and are dressing accordingly.
If you have the opportunity to study one or two units over summer, and have few other time-sensitive commitments, do it! It can be easy to slide into a trough of self-pity but beneath all the whining I am secretly gleeful to be getting a unit out of the way with over summer.
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