Unpopular Opinion: Summer Semesters are Great

Because of my poor luck with scheduling classes, I have to stay another full summer term at UF — again. Originally, I was going to stay home or try to get an internship and take the engineering classes I needed online because I thought they were going to offer it online, but they didn’t.

So, now I’m in Gainesville for another four months. It’s not a bad thing, though, because I actually enjoy summer semesters unlike many others. Here are some reasons why.

There are not as many people

On the first day, you’ll notice a stark difference between fall/spring semesters and summer semester in that there are way fewer people on campus, especially during Summer A. Though campus isn’t as lively, it’s much nicer because it’s easier to find spots in the library or super long lines at Starbucks. Another big plus: There are not as many people trying to get your attention in Turlington. Fewer people also means that you can focus on your circle of friends that are here for the summer and become closer to them.

You can start that daily habit of going to the gym

So, there are fewer people, which means there are fewer people going to the gym that can judge you with their leering eyes — which means less stress about going to the gym! Also, you have more time to do so because of the lighter course load during the summer. You don’t have to fret about balancing your homework and your gym time.

This past summer, I got into the nice habit of going to the gym every day for at least an hour, and it was fantastic. I felt better and more fit, and I was really proud of myself. However, once fall semester came around, I stopped regularly working out.

Courses aren't as long as in the fall and spring

Instead of having a class for about four months, it’s reduced to about three. Sometimes, if it’s a summer A or B class, then it’s only six weeks long. Sure, that comes with the disadvantage of having longer class periods to make up for lost time, but it’s worth it because then you have more room during your fall/spring semesters.

Trying new things in town

For me, the new things I wanted to try involved being more social. For fun, I joined one of the UF summer chats to connect with people who were also stuck in Gainesville, and I made some my good friends because of it. I had wanted to attend more parties since I started college to see if I would like them, but my course load prevented me.

However, my extra free time enabled me to go to some house parties and realize that I actually don’t like parties where I hardly know anyone there. Another way I was social this past summer was by going to a gay club for the first time. I had been really wanting to go and, honestly? I liked it, and I'm glad I got that experience.

Another thing I tried that you really don’t get to until you’re off the meal plan is to cook for myself every day. I loved cooking in high school, but it was hard to do so my first year. Since I subleased off-campus, I couldn’t get a meal plan, which was fine – but it meant that I had to make regular trips to the grocery store. I realized that I loved doing something as simple as this during the summer.

There's less stress overall

Since most people are gone, you won’t have to worry about all the responsibilities of your main semester organizations during the summer. This allows for you to explore new activities during the summer or put work towards advancing the ones you are in if you are in any sort of leadership position.

Last summer, I became a moderator for Humans vs. Zombies (Read about my experiences here!), and I was able to create my own game. It was a piece of work that showed some of what I did during the summer. I didn’t want to do it in the main semester because it’s more intense, so I’m glad I got a taste of it during the summer.

Classes are sometimes easier and more fun

Some classes are easier in the summer depending on who’s teaching. Sometimes it’s of better quality depending on who’s teaching. Sometimes you luck out, and it’s both. I got lucky with my materials engineering class last year when I had Dr. Ruzycki, the nicest lecturer you’ll meet and very accessible when it comes to getting an A in the class. She even gave out candy and popsicles often and let us light sparklers on the Fourth of July. 

You learn more about yourself

This past summer helped me learn more about myself – especially the way I go about my day by myself. I learned that I am an outgoing introvert and I get tired out by being with people.

I also came to the realization that I love organized studying, especially when I would stay in Newell Hall writing until 1 a.m. for my Professional Communications for Engineers course. Lastly, I realized that dying my hair with semi-permanent dyes isn’t really for me, since it gets all over your clothes.

I feel like I wouldn’t be as in tune with myself had I not stayed for the summer, and I'm glad I did.