College students spend almost the entire spring semester looking forward to the summer break. Why? Well… that’s easy. It’s the longest holiday all year and a signal of one year down, a couple more to go. It’s time to go home, travel, relax, put your feet up; and just enjoy the beaches, the hiking trails, and the club.
But not for everyone.
For the students looking to complete their degree sooner, or who need to resit failed courses, taking classes is one of the best ways to spend the summer semester. Even so, this semester can be challenging, as instructors must cover the same course material in much less time.
With that in mind, here are five tips to help you come out on top – or just make it out alive.
Take as Few Courses as Possible
As previously mentioned, the summer semester is a great way to rack up credits and get some courses out of the way, but try not to stuff the semester with as many courses as you would during the rest of the year. Ideally, students should aim for one to three courses during this time – two being ideal.
This is because the pressure from professors to complete the courses in time falls on students, who must spend more time outside of class, reading ahead, catching up, and completing coursework. Thus, the summer semester provides less time to complete coursework and study for tests.
Besides, who wants to spend the entire summer in classrooms?
Balance Easy & Hard Courses
The more difficult a course is, the more time students must spend on it just to get a passing grade, or an A. Thus, during the summer, students should avoid picking courses that might prove difficult to keep up with.
What counts as hard varies from person to person, but for the average student mathematical courses, science subjects, and foreign languages often prove the most difficult.
This advice stands unless you’re only taking one course for the summer. At this point, taking a harder course might be a much better option because you can focus on it, with no other courses to distract you.
Create a Condensed Schedule
Many people may prefer to spread out summer classes throughout the week. This might make sense at first, until you find yourself wishing you had entire days to work on a project, study, or just relax without needing to worry about attending class.
Try to cram all your classes into one to three days, so that you have the rest of the week to focus on work and have a little fun. It also leaves full days open for potential side-gigs and part time jobs to help boost your income.
Just be sure to stay on top of your work, as this also likely means that all your homework and finals will be due on the same days.
Benjamin Franklin once said:
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
The summer semester is a great time to put this quote into practice, as it’s the worst time for waiting until the last minute to complete assignments, or to study. Time is of the essence, so spend it wisely. Once your work is out of the way, you’re free to do the things you actually enjoy.
Make Time for Fun
The wealth of pictures on Facebook and Instagram of everyone else enjoying their summer vacation can make the semester feel like hell. It can seem like everyone else is out having a great time at the beach or at the club, while you’re stuck in a classroom or busy studying.
Eliminate that feeling by making time to have fun, whether alone, with your partner, or with friends. Go on a date. Watch a movie. See a concert. Go to the beach. Explore local festivals. It is summer after all – class, or no class. And don’t you forget it.
Taking classes isn’t the most fun way you could spend the summer semester, but it’s likely the most productive. Still, there’s plenty of time to have fun before and after the semester starts, and even between classes. This means you can still travel, hit the beach, or just sleep the days away. However you choose to spend the summer, we wish you all the best for the semester ahead!