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.