Swapping a pool floatie for a backpack for summer classes

Jessica Guerrucci — Managing Editor

The sun is shining, everyone is happy they get three months of doing nothing at all, while I’m sitting in front of my computer doing homework.

Summer at Southern was not ideal, but if it meant I could graduate a semester early, that is where I was going to be. I would say the general mindset of students is to look at summer classes negatively. It is summer; it is supposed to be about vacation and relaxing, but to make the best of my situation, I changed that mindset and saw them as an opportunity to get ahead and graduate early.

I took two summer classes: Writing for the Web and Race in the News. One was online and one was an on-campus hybrid class, so both offered different experiences, but they were similar in some ways; one being that they felt rushed.

It is hard to imagine squeezing a whole semester of learning into one month. There were so many topics covered in these classes, I felt there was not time to go in depth about the material. It seemed like we were just going over the basics and then moving on, especially in my on-campus class. Since we only met twice a week for two hours, we would sometimes cover three different topics in one class and did not get to learn as much as I would have liked.

As for my online class, it felt less rushed, but we got assignments nearly every day, including weekends. I felt like I had the opportunity to learn more, but it became stressful at times. Another issue was with the class focusing on race. I felt like it would have been a great opportunity for in class discussion. There are discussion boards for that purpose but I did not feel like it was the same as physically being in a classroom.

Cost was another factor. Each three-credit summer class was $1,735 each, so for me to take two of them, it cost me $3,470. However, I chose to look at it this way: it would cost me less to take the two classes now and graduate early, than pay to stay another semester and only be taking two classes. For some though, I can see this being an issue. If someone is behind or wants to get ahead, summer classes are costly and it makes them less accessible.

One question many people have asked me is why I did not take my classes at community college and pay less money. Being a journalism major, I did not have that opportunity because the class, Race in the News, was so specific to Southern, I could not have taken it elsewhere. If I had considered summer classes earlier, it would have been smart to take one of my general education requirements at community college, but as a junior, it was too late.

However, taking one class at a time was something I liked. Usually, I would have five classes piled on top of each other and be stressed out, just trying to get all the work done. Instead, I was able to focus on what I was learning and complete my assignments. I found I was able to appreciate what I was learning more.

Summer classes will never be ideal, but in the end, if taking one is going to get a student where they need to be quicker, I would recommend it. There will always be pros and cons to weigh, and some people might want to just relax and shut off their brain the whole summer, but if not, it is a chance to learn something great.

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