Summer Studies 2015: Yea or Nay?

February marks a busy time for McGill students: midterm season is descending upon us, the tentative final exam schedule has just been released, and the brief respite of reading week is so close we can almost taste it! On top of juggling all of that, many of you are likely trying to figure out your plans for this summer.

With a full four months of break, there are many directions your summer could take, whether it involves taking the time off to rest or working a summer job or internship in your field of study. However, another worthwhile option to consider is staying in town to take a summer course. The summer courses schedule is now available on Minerva for your perusal.* While I’m sure that the idea of spending any part of your summer in school prompts plenty of grumbling and grousing, taking a summer course at McGill actually offers quite a few advantages.

First off, the summer course load is generally more laid back. Of course, this always depends on each course and on how many courses you choose to take, but taking courses over the summer is usually less stressful than during the school year. When you only have one class, you can focus all of your time and efforts on that one subject instead of also having to manage studying for three or four other courses at the same time. Though you are covering a lot of material in a short period of time (one month of summer studies corresponds to one semester), the fact that you won’t be simultaneously taking five courses takes away much of the pressure and stress that plague us during the academic year. Taking a class over the summer is also an easy way to make up any credits you might have missed.

Second of all, taking a summer course doesn’t mean that school will occupy the majority of your time as it does during the regular school year. Signing up for a summer course is not a commitment to stay for the entire summer; 3-credit courses last one month and 6-credit courses last two months. Besides, summer classes only meet for two and a half hours every day, Monday through Thursday. That means that every Friday is entirely free for you to spend however you like and every weekend is a long weekend! Even on the days you do have class, you’ll probably have more free time than you’ll know what to do with. Luckily for us, McGill is located in a lively, vibrant city where we can always find something to do.

For a young adult, the best time to be in Montreal is during the summer. Though the city can’t be called dull even in the dead of winter, Montreal truly comes to life in the summertime. During the summer months, Montreal hosts a number of renowned festivals, including the Montreal Beer Festival, the International Jazz Festival of Montreal, and Francofolies. The weather is simply gorgeous and everyone celebrates by heading outside. On several occasions, certain streets are converted into pedestrian-only walkways and the shops and restaurants located along the street will move outside for the week for the makeshift street festival. In short, discovering Montreal in the summer is an unforgettable life experience that all McGill students should have.

If you’re still on the fence about taking a summer course, don’t worry! There’s still time to decide; registration doesn’t begin until March. You can find out when registration opens for your year and faculty here. Still, regardless of whether or not you choose to take a summer course, it’s definitely worth the experience to stay in Montreal for at least one summer before graduating. Summer really is the best time of year to be here.


*To view available 2015 summer courses and their scheduled times: log into Minerva → student menu → registration menu → search class schedule and add course sections → select “Summer 2015” as the term.


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