Quite recently, just a couple months ago, I took a summer class for the first and (hopefully) last time. Don’t get the wrong idea though, summer classes can be a really big help if you want to lighten the amount of classes you have to take during the regular school year. However, they are not meant to be taken lightly.
Personally, I took my Biology class simply to fulfill a lab requirement (English major feeling a little out of her element…), the class included both a lecture and a lab; I had no idea it was going to take up so much of my summer. So, to help those of you who are thinking about taking a summer class this upcoming summer or sometime in the future, I have just a couple suggestions on how to help you “survive” a summer class. I know fall semester has only just started, but all of these ideas are fresh in my mind and I really would like to share them with everybody.
First, don’t load up on classes!
I know it’s very tempting to take multiple classes during the summer so that graduation gets here quicker, but in most cases it is not worth the trouble. I only had the lecture and lab to take care of while many of my fellow students were taking three to four at once. This made everything so much more stressful for them and many were either close failing or were forced to drop out of the class.
The reason? Summer classes go by so much faster than classes in the fall and/or spring. All the information that takes roughly about three to four months during the latter time, takes only about two months during summer courses. In other words, all the information is squashed together and tests pop up almost out of nowhere and there’s not as much time to study.
Luckily, I only had this class on my to-do list and since the lecture and lab went hand-in-hand most of the time, I really didn’t have to worry about studying for another class.
Secondly, talk to people the first day!
If you’re like me and you have to take your summer course at a school that’s much closer to you than your usual college campus (there’s a good chance it might be cheaper at a community college), then you probably won’t know anybody. As scary as it is for an introvert like me, it is so important to try and establish connections as soon as possible with people, especially because those connections could help you pass the class!
Just ask your neighbor if they usually go to this school or if the class they’re taking with you is for their major. There’s no law that says this has to be your new best friend, but it couldn’t hurt to find someone to study with or if you miss class, you can ask them for the notes (general psa, do not miss class if you can help it).
Thirdly, check out the campus/building before the first day comes!
If you’ve never been to the school before or you don’t know the building very well that you have your class in, then go and find out where your classes are! It might seem like a hassle to go there early, but it will make that first day less stressful when you can go to your first class without any issues. My lecture and lab were both at opposites ends of the building I was in, which meant I had to figure out which side to park at first. If you end up having a similar problem, try to park near your first class, just in case you’re running late that day.
Also, it couldn’t hurt to try and find your teacher’s office, just in case you need some help and you lose your syllabus (which let’s face it, we’ve probably all done at least once in our college lives).
Lastly, make the time to study!
I know this one might seem like a no-brainer, but you must study every day. That might sound like overkill, but this is so important. With all the information you will be given each day, you should review that information if not the day of, then the very next day. Write out the PowerPoints some teachers might put online for you (maybe even beforehand if you have the time!), make up flashcards, draw diagrams in your notes to get the pictures in your head (this helped me on so many questions that I couldn’t remember the technical terms, but the visuals were burned into my memory), etc.
These suggestions are pretty simple, I’ll admit, but when I went into this class I was surprised to realize that the idea that it was going to be easy got turned completely upside down. You sometimes forget even the simplest of things, especially during a time like this when you aren’t used to being in school.
Hope these help for next summer! And hey, you could even use some of these comments and apply them to your fall semester!