Ah, summer school. The movies portray it as some kind of dungeon that sucks up your summer while all your friends who did good in school enjoy the pool.
Summer school does have a negative connotation to it. Some people view summer school as a place where degenerates go after partying too much and flunking their fall and spring classes.
When college students hear that the classes are typically three weeks to eight weeks long yet still jam a whole semester into them, they think only sadists would do that to themselves.
Summer school, however, is not only easier than traditional school, it’s faster, and it keeps you in the rhythm of school. At Lipscomb, there are four summer semesters: Maymester, Junemester and Julymester, and also a full summer semester that stretches throughout June and July.
This summer, I took two classes in Maymester that lasted only three weeks, four classes in the full summer semester that only took eight weeks and another final class in Julymester that went along with the final three weeks of my full summer classes.
I took 19 credit hours in the span of 12 weeks, as opposed to a 16-week traditional semester. I still get a three-week break before classes start up again in the Fall, which is the same amount of time as Christmas break, and all the time away I need.
The pacing of summer classes is fantastic. Too many times in too many classes I have spent what feels like an eternity on one chapter or one concept that I got down in the first few days. Meeting twice a week in fall and spring classes typically allows me to forget what was talked about in the class before. In summer classes, you typically meet every day, and if not every day, you at least meet once or twice a week for a few hours.
Now, the idea of spending three hours in one class sounds painful, but it helps you learn the source material so much quicker. With three hours, you have time to ask all the questions you want, time to have discussions about the subject matter and time to fully understand the concept right then and there. Usually, summer professors allow you to use a lot of that time to finish up assignments that are due at the next class period, so you never have homework to do outside of class. If three hours still sounds painful, then I hate to be the one to break it to you, but when you are out of college, you’ll be spending a lot more than three hours at a job hopefully applying the exact concepts you learned in college.
Summer school also matches the pacing of an actual career. Every day, you have work you must do, assignments you have to complete and new concepts you have to master. A career in anything follows that same trajectory. Summer school isn’t for everyone, but students who are interested in starting a full-time career outside of college would benefit by adjusting to summer school’s pace. Unlike college, a career doesn’t give you a break over the summer.
Taking summer classes allows me to retain a status quo of school, so when I hop back into classes in the fall, I’ll remember what I just learned for my next classes, and I will be maintaining the momentum of work I have to do.
In Japan, students have year-round school with a few weeks of break between three different semesters, which is roughly the same as doing summer school here in the United States. Japanese students’ breaks let them have just enough free time to themselves before getting into the next semester.
I want to graduate early, or at least “on time,” depending on your perspective. I will graduate when I’m 21. Summer school has helped me finish so many credits that I couldn’t fit in the fall and spring semesters. When fall starts, classes will feel painfully slow now that I know I could finish them in a few weeks.