When finals end, summer break begins. Here’s a thought on how to spend those long, lazy days—keep taking classes. Most of you might scoff this idea, wanting to disappear for three months and forget VSU exists. Growing up in an American culture, we are trained to associate summer with relaxation, not responsibility; we should be all lounging on the sandy shores, not sitting in a lecture hall. Before you dismiss the idea, you should think of the upside. What appears as a dreadful experience can be the key to graduating in four years.
My first experience with summer classes happened last year. Bound to Valdosta by Centennial’s 12-month contract, I wanted something other than my job to do. That desire led me to consider enrolling in summer classes. The hours spent earned me further completion of my core requirements and status as a junior the start of my third year.
Summer classes will help you stay on track. True, you can bog your fall and spring schedules down with 16 plus hours to accomplish the same goal; however, you will be able to take fewer hours during the regular year by knocking some of those credits out over that three-month “free” time. Not only will you graduate on time, or even earlier, but you would have done it in a less stressful way. You will also have more time during the regular year to spend with your friends, engage in campus activities, or hold down a job.
Since you won’t be weighed down by a full load, you can concentrate on the couple of classes you do take. You will have ample time to study and absorb the material which can better prepare you for your upper level or related courses. Again, you will be significantly less stressed to keep up with your work. Plus, your GPA will have a good chance of rising, which will cause you to keep or gain HOPE or just graduate with a higher class standing.
In Marie Jenkins’ eHow article, “The Advantages of Summer Classes,” she points out that summer classes mean smaller class sizes. Due to VSU’s increasing student population, class sizes have grown. Due to dorms closing or habit, people normally leave for home during the summer, which decreases class sizes during that time frame. Thrive in this opportunity as it allows you more access to your professor, enhances in-class participation and interaction, and allows for your tests and papers to be returned faster.
Jenkins also argues that the short time span is appealing when it comes to taking less-exciting classes. Instead of enduring biology or algebra for five months, you only deal with it for one or two. The extra attention you give to the class ensures your passing it, which means after the summer, you will not have to worry about it for the rest of your college career.
A perk I have discovered is being able to take classes that a regular semester might not allow time for. This summer I will take Sexual Ethics and Abnormal Psychology. Both will give me a highly interesting perspective into the human psyche and will influence my writing by providing me with unique information. These atypical, just-for-fun classes could contribute to your major or could be beneficial on a personal level.
To those who are interested in pursuing summer productivity but cannot stay, take online classes at home. You can work at your own pace while enjoying time with your friends and family. If that idea does not suit you, enroll in a local university. This will give you exposure to a different campus and broaden your transcript. Plus the teachers you meet could be future references or job contacts.
While it might be too late to enroll for this summer, consider this an option for the next. The break will not be thrown away. While you enjoy it, you will reap the rewards of getting ahead.