For many students, summertime means freedom to have a healthy social life again and the opportunity to work unimpeded for much needed cash. In addition, relaxation and enjoying some fun in the sun are long overdue luxuries. For others, however, taking a summer class or two is either something they have chosen to do or something they are required to do.
Hoping to graduate this semester, Anna Lyne Poblador is taking four summer classes as well as doing three days worth of office work at Federal Express. Since this is the first time she is taking more than two classes, she says that time management is the most difficult challenge for her.
“I really try not to let it get to me. I balance it as best as I can. That’s what you have to do because when you stress, you can’t do either [work or study] properly,” says the 25-year-old political science student.
But for Leesa Dean stress is something she knows all too well. Besides wanting to be in the sun and suffering from perpetual fatigue and a lack of social life, she says a mixed blessing of summer classes is the speed of them, which makes her weary of taking one next year.
“It goes so fast. I like that it goes fast, but I’m worried about getting my work done,” says the 22-year-old English literature student who is doing five days of office work as well as a class.
Jermaine Walker, a 22-year-old software engineering student, agrees that slacking off is not an option when taking a summer class. This year he decided not to take one because he would not be able to devote the proper amount of time to it since his work at Kraft is extremely physically taxing.
“If you’re physically tired, you have to be careful. I’m not going to do a summer class for the sake of doing a summer class,” he says.
For him, one must be able to fully concentrate on his or her marks, so as avoid getting a mediocre mark. And if he can do this by avoiding a summer class, he will. Yet he does have some advice for those hitting the books during the summer.
“[Take] the right summer class. Certain classes in your program have a bad reputation, so you have to choose the classes carefully,” he cautions.
This is what 22-year-old Communications student Mark Harris did.
“It is the second part of a course that I took last summer, and because it is an art course, I wanted to take something that would be somewhat relaxing,” says the Chapters employee, who works between 30 and 35 hours per week.
“This is not to say that painting is not hard work; it just so happens that this is form of work is meditative for me.”
And for others like 28-year-old independent student Roger Tabry, the opportunity for mental exercise is important.
“The most rewarding thing about taking a summer class is a sense of having my mind working… when it could otherwise be wasting away. It keeps me sharp,” says the graduate of Public Administration who is working as an advertising consultant.
While he admits it is not easy to stay focused because he would rather be swimming or barbecuing when the weather is hot and sunny and having less of a social life is anything but pleasurable, Tabry tries not to let it affect him too much. He is trying to get ahead in his studies before classes start up again in September.
So, how does he go about motivating himself to attend class despite the beautiful weather?
“I just think of class as a part of my role in the world: something I have to do and have no choice. I work myself up to feel guilty about not going, and then I go with the hope that the torture will end three hours after it starts. And that reprieve will be enough to last a couple of days until the next class takes place,” he says.
The life of a student is not easy. Sacrifices must be made, and priorities must be considered. When it comes to reducing one’s workload and thinking of the future benefits of a summer class, Tabry believes it is worth it in the end.