Dropping a dreadful course during the school year is a major relief. It is as if a burden has been lifted off your shoulders and you can finally breathe and live in peace. However, for me this feeling of joy was only momentary, because I knew I would have to eventually take a summer course to complete the credit. After dropping a difficult course in the fall, I was able to breeze through the rest of the semester. But in the back of my mind I knew this would mean I would have to sacrifice at least a part of my summer break.
As I finish the first semester of the summer session, I want to reflect on the experience of taking summer classes, as well as spending the entire summer in Toronto.
Completing a course or two over the summer is no easy feat. Although you will only be studying no more than two courses over the term, it does not mean you will have endless time to master the subject. Half credit courses typically last about six weeks, while full credit courses span about 12 weeks. This means that a course that would normally be taught over four months, is now crammed into just under two months. This means double, and sometimes triple the amount of work. With double the hours per class, multiple tutorials per week, and some students enduring two labs per week, it comes as no surprise that most students do not look forward to spending the summer at university. And yes, this also means no sleeping in until 12 p.m. everyday!
In my experience, I have realized summer school isn’t all that bad if you balance your time well—especially in a city like Toronto. If you are like me and live far away from your family, don’t fret—Toronto is so alive during the summer that you will not feel the dullness associated with school for too long. Make time to go explore the city by visiting the many festivals, concerts, and activities around the city. Something I really enjoy is spending the day studying at a park or outdoor café. No need to miss out on the sun!
If you want to do well in your classes but also want to enjoy your summer, my best piece of advice would be to make and stick to a schedule. You can still have fun, but you must remember to plan your activities around your study time. Set aside a set amount of time each week dedicated to studying. That way you won’t have homework piling up and if you do go out, you can actually have fun without having to worry about a mountain of work waiting at home. No doubt, you will have to sacrifice plans with friends and perhaps postpone vacations. In the end, I find that it is worth it. Not only will you complete a credit, you might even do better in the course by dedicating all of your attention to one subject.