Three reasons to skip summer courses

Don’t make the same mistake I made

Photo by Ed Yourdon/Flickr

In my first year of university, I tried a lot of new things. Some of them worked. Some didn’t. Taking summer classes is among the big mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, I finished—barely. If I could travel back in time, I’d tell myself to skip them.

Here are three things I learned that all students should consider before taking summer classes:

#1. It is way too nice outside to be trapped in a classroom all day.

On my commute to campus, all I’d see was the glistening water of the North Saskatchewan River Valley, lush green grass and bright sunshine. All I could think during class was, “I can’t wait to be outside!”

Instead, for three hours during the middle of the day, I was stuck inside. If my computing class hadn’t been in a basement with no windows to the beautiful outside world, I might have gone insane.

#2. Even if you only take one course, it feels like way more than one.

Think about it. You have to compress three months of course material into six weeks. My summer course had midterms every second week and lab seminars immediately after each class. All of this would take up at least three hours every weekday, without any breaks. After about a week of this, I actually started to look forward to my fall and winter course schedule.

#3. If you get sick—even for one day—you may be screwed.

I have a terrible immune system, even in the summer. Naturally, I was bed ridden for five days during my summer course. Since it was completed in half as many weeks as a regular one, that meant missing a single class was equivalent to a week’s worth of material. I almost didn’t catch up.

So there you have it: three reasons why summer classes can be rougher than they sound to an untrained first-year student. Be careful not to make the same rookie mistake I made!

Ravanne Lawday is a second-year English major at the University of Alberta.




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Three reasons to skip summer courses

  1. Note that not ALL summer courses are compressed. Some universities have a three semester system, where each semester is 12 weeks in length, and summer semesters are no different than fall or winter semesters.

    I know at Guelph, for instance, the bulk of their summer courses are 12 weeks in length, the same as every regular course in the fall or winter semesters. There are a few courses that are only 6 weeks in duration, but most of the courses offered last the full 12 weeks.

  2. Indeed, as GuelphGrad says, many universities are on a trimester system and have a full summer term just like any other term.
    Taking a single course in summer is a great way to lessen the load during the school year. It’s only a few hours a week, so don’t whine so much about missing out on the good days. There’s lots of good weather days left.

  3. Compressed summer classes tend to be smaller. There are less people on campus so your choices of finding your favourite study spot, or taking out library resources is greater. Usually there’s one or two less assignments because of the tighter time frame. I really enjoyed my summer courses.

  4. I disagree entirely. I took a full year course and a one semester course last summer and will be starting a semester course this week. While last year I did not work since I had enough savings I will be this summer and my job allows me this freedom. I got to know my classmates and prof so well for my year long course, the prof shook my hand and thanked me for being in the class.

    Do some of your reading outside, we did a tutorial outside once too. It’s manageable and straight out of highschool I was well adjusted to being in school for the extra two months, and the part time class was nothing.

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