The summer is great. There’s something about it that just relaxes the body and mind. Maybe it’s the heat, the relief from the frigid cold of winter and the less frigid cool of spring. Or maybe it’s the entertainment. Summer is the time of blockbuster movies, the best shows on TV, great music, and most importantly, vacation.
That is, the summer is great for nearly everyone but you, you poor, poor college student. Because you, dear friend, have made the academically wise decision of taking summer classes, and now all the free time and summer shenanigans like pool parties, beaches, and events are all out the window. In their place are the cold, hard textbooks, of financial accounting.
Luckily for you, however, OmegaFi has your back. We’ve been around the block a few times and have learned to understand the subtle intricacies of the summer semester. And for your inspiration, we’re here to share these precious wisdom gems with you.
Enter the Endless Summer: 5 Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Summer Semester.
Let’s start with the obvious…
5. Don’t Over-Schedule Your Course Load
Let’s be frank here: If you’re taking summer classes, there’s a good chance you’re either an over-achiever or desperately behind after switching majors. In essence, you’re either trying to graduate early or graduate on time. With that said, there’s a strong temptation to overload your course schedule for the summer semester(s) and take as many classes as you can.
This is not smart.
Why? Because the typical summer classes are geared to make up the weeks of a normal fall or spring semester. Meaning that although you might be able to handle 4 classes (12 credit hours) in the fall and spring semesters, when it comes time to take summer classes, you want to stick to two. As most summer semesters are split into halves with each mini semester lasting for about 6 weeks, these classes are going to be RAPIDLY moving through the material.
And do you know what that means for you, dear reader? A test every week. Multiple chapters and homework assigned each week. It also more than likely means class at least 3-4 days a week for at least an hour and a half.
Don’t overexert yourself. Keep it light and make your summer enjoyable, not a depressing burden of epic proportions.
4. Go to Every Class (Trust Us)
This goes hand in hand with the previous entry, but it’s worth mentioning: Go to class. As we mentioned before, the classes during the summer will move at a breakneck pace, and therefore a single class missed is the literal equivalent of missing two classes. And that’s two classes missed consecutively.
To put this lightly, you could be missing a significant amount of work and material through this sort of absence. Although the schedule of two summer classes can be tedious and difficult (again, 4 days a week with 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours in each class), it’s critical to both your education and your success in the class to attend each of these lessons.
Don’t skip a single one. Trust us.
The problem with skipping even a single class is that it creates a habit. You skip one and feel like you learned the system of how to get by. From there any excuse becomes a reason not to go to class:
- Too tired.
- I’ll just get the notes.
- The homework isn’t due yet.
- I’ll have my friend sign me in.
Skipping class is a steady snowball that turns into an avalanche, so for your own sake, don’t start the habit. Just go to class—you’re paying for it.
3. Study When You Get Home—Especially When You Don’t Want To
Okay, so you made sure you didn’t over pack your schedule and you’ve been consistently going to class. Now what?
Yes, this may seem like a no-brainer, but trust us when we say that we know how enticing it can be to want to relax after sitting in class for 4-5 hours, and doing real work despite having to show back up and do the same thing the next day. It sucks, and in most cases the idea of going home to relax, or linking up with friends to grab a bite to eat, or simply doing anything but school can sound all-too appealing.
However, go to the library and study. To start, these classes move quickly and despite the fact that you sat in them and took all the notes, you need to understand and comprehend the material outside of just writing it down; you need to learn it. Unfortunately for you, this often means taking the two hour minimum after class to walk over to the library and pour back through your notes while reading through the chapter.
And therein lies the myth of the summer schedule: Most students think it’ll be a breeze, but in reality it’s more work than fall or spring. The only benefit working in your favor is the fact that you won’t have many distractions with most students having left for the summer.
So, do your due diligence and earn that time to relax. And speaking of which…
2. Embrace the Art of the Day Trip
There is no greater modern American pastime than the day-trip. Hop in the car with a few friends and hit the lake, the beach, the river, or some other body of water. Go hiking. Hit the park. Heck, have a BBQ in your backyard or by your complex’s pool. Who cares? The point is to do your best to get out of your college town or city and go see something interesting.
The ideal day for this is Saturday. Study through your course material through Friday, wake up bright and early Saturday, hit the road, then bring it back the same day—or Sunday morning—and get back down into the books. The brain needs relief at times from constant stimuli and sometimes a little R&R is perfect for de-stressing and allowing you to think better and learn easier.
1. Enjoy the Breaks (Summers Are Supposed to be Lazy)
So, let’s be real here: Most students leave during the summer semester. Some may be looking to just go home and be around other college-bound friends from high school. Others may be on summer internships, preparing for the work-force and adding new experiences to their resume.
Regardless, there’s a certain calm and peacefulness that comes from a campus that’s had its student population reduced so dramatically. Traffic in the area significantly decreases, lines for food are almost non-existent, and despite the propensity for boredom, for those who don’t mind being a bit of a homebody, the quiet of the summer semester is something that’s a thing of beauty.
When the work is done and you’re between classes, feel free to be lazy. Play Elder Scrolls Skyrim for 8 hours straight. Watch the entire new season of Orange is the New Black, back-to-back over a single day. You’re young and in college, and you’ve got a near unprecedented level of free time and independence.
Use it or lose it.
If you’re currently taking classes this summer and are questioning all of your life choices up to this moment, let us know in the comments below!