I absolutely love learning and often joked (and eventually seriously stated) that being in school taking classes year-round would be one of the best things ever. So, this summer I decided to take fourteen credits, which is essentially an entire semester of courses within a 10-week period. While I am definitely enjoying what I'm learning and can easily see the benefits of taking classes over the summer, as I sit here studying for exams worth 80% of my grade, I have also realized that signing up for this many classes definitely has a few downsides. Thus my love-hate relationship with summer classes was created.
Initially, I decided to sign up for one summer class because the idea of being able to finish a math course in five weeks instead of 15 weeks was VERY appealing to me (I don't really enjoy math). However, that one class quickly turned into four classes when I thought about prerequisite courses and how much I would be able to learn within such a short period of time. It seemed to make sense to me, I loved school and had the opportunity to continue it for a few more months - why wouldn't I?
Well, halfway through my first set of classes, I have an answer to that question. Walking into my first summer class and reading the syllabus made me quickly realize how rushed this semester is going to be. I have exams pretty much every week in addition to quizzes, projects, and papers - not to mention meeting for actual class 12 hours every week. On top of that, there's also homework assignments and studying, which probably consumes an additional 12 hours of my week. The classes I'm taking created a busy schedule and my routine needs to be strict if I am going to keep up with everything.
My current summer routine looks a little something like this: wake up, go to class, do homework, drive to the next class, sit and take notes, and drive home. I also have to fit in sleeping and eating. On my days off, work gets added into that routine or spending time with my friends or family, depending on the weekend. It is a somewhat monotonous cycle that has left me feeling a little exhausted sometimes. I am so busy that it got to the point where I spent the entire day with my best friend while she essentially watched me do homework and drink coffee. It gets tiring doing the same thing over and over again while constantly experiencing school-related stress and I can feel myself starting to slowly burn out.
But, as soon as everything starts to feel overwhelming and I don't think I can balance classes, work, and summer all at once, I try to remind myself why I decided to take these classes in the first place. I love school. I always have and as nerdy or lame as it sounds, I think I always will. As a college student, I have the opportunity to spend extra time over the summer learning new things about a variety of topics.
This summer, it happens to be statistics, ecology, ethics, and the history of jazz, but who knows what next summer could hold? It seems nonsensical to me to not take advantage of such a great opportunity for growth even if it leaves me feeling a little stressed. Being in classes this summer also allows me to remain in my school routine of productivity (and procrastination) which will hopefully make the transition into my challenging fall semester go more smoothly.
As easy as it is for me to complain about summer classes and the burnt out feeling associated with them, I honestly have no regrets. I love what I'm doing and I wouldn't have it any other way. But don't get me wrong, I will DEFINITELY be taking advantage of my break in between the fall and summer semesters of classes. Relaxation and vacation will be the only two words in my vocabulary during those five weeks and if you need me, I'll be at the beach.