Summer School Is Fun When You Cram All The Info In Days

A Couple Lessons That I Learned After Enrolling In Summer School

In a few words – if it didn't help my GPA, I wouldn't do it again.

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I probably made the worst decision that any college student could've ever done: I enrolled in summer school.

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At first, I thought, "Oh, wow, I bet six weeks of school won't be as bad as an entire quarter." And let me tell you, as I write this, I'm mentally scolding myself for making such a choice. Sure. Fewer people, less material to cover, and less time in class.

It sounded like paradise when my friend said that we should take Summer School since it would've been easier to take this class then rather than during the quarter. Fewer people would want to be in the class; easier class to take. However, I was in for an ugly treat, the kind you are promised when you're younger, but end up going to the doctor instead for your shots.

From this past six weeks of classes, I learned a couple things that changed my entire perspective of life.

1. Less time means less time to cover content

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To anyone, this might sound like a heavenly blessing sent from the gods of education. Haha, but trust me it isn't. Summer school is like a contract where you forgot to read the small letter in between the lines. There's more to it than you expect, despite the short amount of time.

A short amount of time means less time to cover all that content. Which means that the professor is going to cram as much information as they can for the course. You know, I just love it when a professor goes off the slides into a tangent, and when you least expect it, you're on the next chapter. Like, half of the information was said during that tangent.

And if you didn't pay attention during most of that tangent, well, you better make friends in that class if you're a loner like me.

2. The hardships of summer

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Remember when Sharpay Evans made us wish for a fabulous summer while singing and posing inside a cup of iced water with a slice of lemon? Yeah, we all wanted that life.

Summer school, however, becomes a hindrance for that fabulous summer. Waking up early to go to class is disgustingly hard during summer. Doing homework for your class during the summer while your friends are out is painful. Not being able to fully enjoy summer because you are too busy worrying about school is bad for your mental health. (A study conducted by a friend and me concludes).

And if you're one of those who took summer school for the entirety of summer, your pain must be unfathomable.

3. Summer school can be hard to take serious

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At first, summer school sounded like it was going to be amazing. I was telling myself how I was gonna go for those A's, and now I am crying hoping to pass my class with a decent C at least. Yes. I tried my best, and, somehow, I was bitten in the ass.

Somehow, I was doing good in class, and then the midterm came. I had studied, you know. I felt ready with my calculator and #2 pencil. I was ready to make that test my bitch. Fast-forward to a couple days later, and I was made a bitch by my test score. I had to take a moment to steady myself and not cry.

4. That scorching, deadly summer sun

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Most of the summer here in LA has been pretty hot. As soon as you step out, a wet stain has appeared on the armpits and chest of your shirt. Most of your genitals are itchy from the sweat, and you just get an undeniable need to go to the beach.

But of course, you need to go to class. You need to walk through campus, through those tiring stairs, and under the sun. I usually have to walk from the bus stop to my class, which is almost a ten-minute walk. By the time I get inside the building (not my class), I'm drenched in sweat and panting.

LA and summer school students are not good friends, let me tell you.

5. The brokenness of being broke

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Being in summer school and not living on campus is one hell of a bitch, especially if you find yourself broke more than half of the time. Especially when you know you can't get free coffee from a dining hall. That realization is one of the hardest.

Moving from being able to have coffee whenever you went to a dining hall to having to walk to a coffee shop and buy some is hard to absorb. Most of the time, my friend and I would go broke from buying coffee because we are those type of students who don't function with it. Sometimes, we would both have to scavenge through our pockets to be able to afford some.

And you know, it's summer and you also need to flaunt your iced caramel latte with foam and almond milk, am I right?

As helpful as summer school can be, I think I would've prepared to skip it if I had known how I would be today. Two finals, back to back and still with no idea of where to start. Sometimes, I wish that I could easily drop classes but it's the last week already. A hopeless wish is what I'm aiming for, so I'll guess I'll just have to cry and try to ace those finals.

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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Mourning The Loss

She had no direction and already felt like she had lost herself, anyway.

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She wore her heart on her sleeve but covered her innermost feeling with laughs, smiles, and awkward jokes that only some thought were funny at all. She was happy on the outside and this got her to the place where she is now. Faking it till she made it made sense until she realized she didn't know what she was making it to.

Regardless, she was a bright light in the hallways of her grade school filled with small plastic chairs and brown square desks. She acted most days as a clown in the classroom in order for her to get some kind of attention. She worked on Accelerated Math and reading books extensively, and in her free time her studying habits were almost obsessive.


Brianna Gavin

When asked to do anything for anyone, she dropped all of what she was doing to help.

High school came around and after being separated from her best friend going to a different school, she knew this time she really had to reinvent herself. At first, she stayed in the bubble of grade school friends and found it hard to ever speak up about anything.


Brianna Gavin

She kept her mouth shut for the first year of high school and lived in the shadows of her siblings' bad decisions. That first year, teachers even called her "little Gavin".

As sophomore year of high school came around, she met a teacher that would forever change her life and brought her out of the shadow of her siblings past. She was the first teacher in that high school to see her as her own person, different from her family.

After meeting this teacher, she stepped into the role of being a leader. She went to summer leadership camps and became actively involved in the Social Committee of Student Council. She created a service club and became the president. She got over 100 hours of service done each year, went on mission trips, led and spoke her story at retreats, went to every football game dressed UP in the theme, and still had time to get a high GPA.


Brianna Gavin

She was KILLING it.

In the mornings before school started, she sat in her car for five minutes by herself to separate her home life from her school life. She listened to "One Man Can Change The World" by Big Sean and sang the words to herself as she began to put on a mask for the day.


Brianna Gavin

She was sometimes a clown. She'd walk around the hallways and go to class while eating boxes of cereal and constantly made jokes about ANYTHING going on. One thing you could always count on her for was authenticity and hope.


Brianna Gavin

Even at her job teaching kids how to swim, the second she came out in her brightly colored swimsuit, her kids were already there and ready to say hi to her. Kids would make her cards and families constantly asked her to babysit and told her stories of how much their kids loved her.


One day during school, she was awarded with a scholarship called "You Can Count On Me", given to her because of how reliable, dependable, and important she was to all those around her. She remembered the words that were said about her when she received the scholarship and those were the driving force for her to continue helping others and being there for herself.

But then came college. And with the goodbye to all of her friends, family, and popular school life also came the goodbye to herself.


Brianna Gavin

She now became something she didn't want to be anymore. She stayed in her room, struggled extensively with mental illness, and looked in the mirror without knowing what she was looking at. She didn't have many friends and she felt alone most of the time.

With change and loss, she lost herself. She, in a sense, died as soon as her relationships with those close friends and family died. And no matter how hard she tries, she will never be the happy, energetic, inspiring, motivational, giving, faithful, loving person she once was.

The truth she has to share...she is gone.

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