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Why You Shouldn’t Take Summer School

This is the first post from Ryan Nguyen, one of our newest writers! Leave a comment and he promises he’ll try to say something witty back.

In elementary and high school, one would think those two words should be never be so close together. It seems though, that somewhere in the madness of college, students did a complete 180 and decided “summer” and “school” were long-separated lovers that needed to be right smack next to each other. At my college alone, roughly 40% of the student body is enrolled in summer classes.

Why are so many people enrolled in these classes?

Thomas wrote in a recent post that for those without internships that summer classes were a great alternative, and the reasons he listed are among the strongest arguments for summer school.

  • It can make your school-year course load easier
  • It can fulfill pesky graduation requirements

Of course, there are many more reasons for taking classes in the summer and circumstances can leave students with no other choice. While buying groceries, I had the cashier at Trader Joe’s tell me she had to take a summer class to graduate after she had already gone through the ceremony, ouch.

Despite all the reasons for summer school, taking these classes can actually be detrimental to your academics. How so?

Summer School is Not For Everyone.

A problem that arises with summer school is the number of students who go into it while still burnt out from the academic school year. I hit this problem following my classes ended this year; after more than a year of non-stop studying (I started my MCAT class the day after my finals ended last year) I was mentally exhausted of the school grind. I had signed up for a Statistics class, but after being realistic with myself, decided to drop the class rather than half-ass my way through the class.

Putting off summer school will allow you to recharge academically to head into the next school year with a full-tank of motivation. Rather than get through summer classes only to be further exhausted by the time next school year rolls around, try taking a break from academic classes.

If you want to take summer school, really dig deep and figure out exactly why you are giving up this valuable time. Probably bad reasons? “Because other people are doing it,” “What else am I suppose to do?” and “I don’t really know.” For college students, the summer is an invaluable chunk of time that can be devoted to experiences that would be improbably to juggle during the school year. Go explore your city, take up an internship or summer job, work on a personal project, or even grab some books and work on personal development.

Heck, even your own start-up going.

When your schedule isn’t dictated by a syllabus, the possibilities can be endless. Do be aware, however, that creating your own summer schedule requires you activity seeking out what to do. This fact alone will scare a lot of college students, as they can’t remember the last time they did something for reason other than “because that’s what I’m required to do.”

Not taking summer school doesn’t mean stopping everything and lounging around, in fact my argument is the contrary. Take the summer off from classes in order to challenge yourself in new and exciting ways. The stress of worrying about grades takes it’s toll over time, and the awesome part about non-academic projects is that results are measured in ways that extend beyond the A-F grading scale.

And from what my graduated friends have told me, the A-F grading scale doesn’t seem to exist in the “real-world.”