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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Twin Takes: summer school

Summer school not cool

With smaller class sizes and shorter sessions, summer school is an appealing option for many students. However, after experiencing a couple of summer classes myself, I realized there are a lot of drawbacks.  While summer school may be enticing, you may be better off spending your summer working, tanning and slurping down watermelon Eegees.

Most summer sessions are five weeks long and courses usually run three hours a day for four days a week. Even if you’re only taking one course at a time, no one can remain completely focused for such an extended period.  Before you know it, you’ll be completely lost as you think about the people you are inviting for an upcoming road trip rather than your rapidly approaching weekend calculus test.  

Rotational volume, Taylor series, electrochemistry and stoichiometry are all complicated concepts that require lots of practice and application. It’s hard enough to squeeze all of those into a sentence, not to mention a five-week “”semester.”” Naturally, the pace for a summer course must be accelerated greatly. If you fall behind, there’s not a lot of time to catch up or even ask for help.  The brain simply isn’t designed to absorb a semester’s worth of material in a mere five weeks … or at least my brain isn’t.

While some students opt to take summer courses in order to get ahead on credits, others are in there to play catch up. That means your classmates may not be the sharpest pencils, so to speak. Interestingly enough, the same can be said about the quality of a summer professor. Faculty members yearn for a break from another long year just like students do.  They may be at the beach enjoying the same rays as your friend, while you’re stuck in a stuffy summer school room with a sub for a professor.

If you have a scholarship that includes funding for a summer session, you’re a pretty lucky person. But for the rest of us, we get to pay full price for tuition, fees and books. That hurts. Some students can afford the classes by working, but it’s very difficult to juggle both work and school. Eventually your grade will sink underwater … or below “”C”” level.

I’ve always thought summer school was a cage you voluntarily lock yourself in when all you really want to do is break out. Just take my word, skip summer school and do something you couldn’t do because you were in class the other nine months out of the year.

­—Wesley Smyth is a junior studying ecology and evolutionary biology. He can be reached at


Take a course, save a penny

With summer in full swing, there is one thing that continues to permeate some students’ lives: summer school. Although a seemingly horrible pollutant to your carefree summer of beaches, internships and relaxation, summer school can be a worthy investment.

Perhaps the most noticeable part of summer school is that it is significantly shorter, ranging from five to eight weeks. Because of its short nature, professors cannot cover all the material, so, in a way, it becomes much easier. If you simply have to pass a difficult course, summer school is your best bet at getting that “”D”” for your degree.

During summer school, you may experience a smaller class size in comparison to the standard semester. As a result, you can experience a wider range of friends and a more intimate student-teacher relationship. Take advantage and get to know someone new.

As briefly mentioned before, summer school provides an opportunity to focus on some of the more challenging classes that you may have been struggling to complete during the year. As such, summer school can lighten your loads for the fall and spring semester. It may alternatively provide you with an opportunity to explore a subject that you may have been interested in but you could not pursue during the hub and bub of the fall or spring semesters. Whether it is sign language, ceramics, welding or calculus, summer school can provide you with that chance to find a hobby you enjoy in the form of a quirky elective.

Bearing in mind its educational benefits, summer school is also a great financial investment. By taking a good amount of classes during the summer, students can graduate early.  Clearly the benefit outweighs the burden.

One thing that everyone can agree on about summer break is its abnormally long length. Over time, your brain becomes dull from all the video games, remedial jobs and internships, and your brain balloon can pop. The results of this are seen when fall comes around in your second semester organic chemistry class and you realize that you have forgotten all about the first semester. You’re then stuck trying to teach yourself the first semester while scrambling to keep up with the second. Summer school can definitely prevent those horrible moments of forgetfulness and can keep you thinking throughout the summer. It’s a considerable confidence booster.

Summer school is a great investment, but if you still aren’t convinced go get a paid internship or go study abroad. Go out and discover.

Taylor Smyth is a biology junior. He can be reached at

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