Summer sessions lighten long-term load

Jesper Bekkers and Jesper Bekkers

When most people think about the summer, they usually imagine sun, sea and swimwear. But some students think about school. Sophomore John Paul Gordon decided to enroll in two six-week classes this summer. ‘I will be living here in an apartment in the summer, and I’m so far behind,’ he said. ‘If I don’t make up, then I will be here for the next 20 years.’ Marcia Salazar-Valentine, the interim dean of Continuing ‘amp; Extended Education, thinks the possibility of graduating on time is a real advantage. ‘Studying in the summer will lighten the student workload in the fall and spring semesters. Students will take six credit hours every session. There are three sessions, two of six weeks, and one of eight weeks,’ she said. ‘The only disadvantage I could imagine is classes are compressed and so more intensive.’ Gordon doesn’t think it will be that bad. The teacher also might be able to give him more individual attention because of the smaller classes. ‘I will really sacrifice my whole vacation,’ Gordon said. ‘You can’t give your brains a break, but I need to do studying sometime. It will get me out of here as soon as possible.’ Students can choose from over 700 courses. In Summer 2008, 7962 students took a course at the the University. Of those, 12 percent of them are not current students. The guests could be students from another university or teachers who want to upgrade their teaching license. The other 88 percent are current students. Sophomore Molly Albertson was one of the 88 percent. She took the eight-week session last summer so she would graduate on time. ‘Studying in the summer is really stressful, because there is no break,’ she said. ‘You will be jealous when you hear that your friends are doing fun stuff, and you need to go to school.’ Albertson also said there is not much of a difference in the attitude of the students. But sitting in a classroom is not the only option. Students are also able to study online. More than 200 courses are online. Sophomore Ashley Osburn took online classes last summer. She took only one course in tourism. ‘I missed a lot of classes, and I needed to [catch] up. The online classes are much easier than the ‘normal’ classes,’ she said. ‘I had contact with my teacher by Blackboard discussions. At the beginning it felt really strange, not having a teacher around. But if you had problems you could always chat with your teacher.’ Osburn thinks the biggest disadvantage of online classes was missing the teacher’s personal experience. ‘But now I could study on my own speed. I finished two weeks earlier, that was really an advantage,’ she said. ‘It didn’t [take] me away from my friends. I would recommend it to everybody.’