Since Villanova's well known Summer Business Institute is online, once again, this upcoming summer, I thought it would be especially interesting to talk about my experience in the summer of 2020, Villanova's first time having SBI online.
If you are not familiar with the program, Villanova offers a 10 week intense business program over the summer to get a business minor. In traditional circumstances, students doing SBI would reside on campus or commute.
For obvious reasons, this program is intriguing; Villanova is notorious for business undergrad and the idea of getting an entire business minor in 10 weeks sounds amazing. And, as an undecided major, the thought of adding a minor's required courses during the academic year overwhelmed me and my schedule. This, paired with the fact that COVID-19 meant no summer fun anyways, I decided to go through with it.
Honestly, I tend to stress about every little thing in life, and especially with school. My entire life I have heard certain processes or classes are impossible, I convince myself I am not cut out, and then, afterwards, I realize it was completely doable. I thought SBI would be the same. I was nervous, but I thought that I would be left saying the difficulty was overhyped or exaggerated. Let me tell you, I was completely wrong.
Villanova's Summer Business Institute was hands down the hardest academic thing I have pushed myself through. It takes extreme discipline and motivation to stay afloat. Even with nothing going on in the midst of the pandemic, I had a tough time having enough hours in the day to complete all my assignments to my normal standard. The program moves at record pace, and, for a routine-oriented person like myself, it feels like as soon as you adjust to your two new professors and workload, you're onto the next.
If I could go back and give myself some advice to make SBI easier, I would advise to do what is most efficient for you. I definitely was wasting a lot of time in the beginning on additional practice problems or taking extremely detailed notes when I should have been more focused on the assignment at hand. What works for some people may not be what is really benefiting you, so just because the teacher thinks it is a good idea to create an entire Quizlet, you need to be able to determine for yourself if you can stretch yourself thinner. You cannot spend as much time on each assignment as you normally would in a semester, and that is okay.
With that being said, SBI does not have to live up to its reputation as a GPA-tanker. I personally maintained my GPA in SBI, but it did take much harder work. I would get up a lot earlier to see the provided SBI tutor (which, by the way, definitely utilize) before my classes on Zoom and keep in constant contact with teachers to stay on top of questions. In a 10 week period, there is no time to have days without motivation or determination. It was extremely difficult but not impossible and, most importantly, rewarding.
The relief of having a business minor under my belt, experiencing the employer and skill based lessons SBI gave me, and knowing that I can push myself that much feels amazing. I cannot recommend SBI to everyone and I most definitely cannot undermine its difficulty. But, if you are really willing to put in the work and sacrifice downtime this summer, I think now is probably the summer to do it. During the program I thought I would not make it through, and I really resented myself for doing it. But, as I became more comfortable throughout the summer and, eventually, saw my hard work was paying off every few weeks with my grades, I can confidently say that I am glad I did it.