DePaul University in Chicago is one of the few universities that's on the quarter system. Most other universities are part of the semester system. The main difference between a semester system and a quarter system is the length. A semester-based university has two sixteen week long courses followed by a generous few week winter break in between each semester and a two-week spring break in between the second semester. On the other hand, universities on the quarter system have three, ten-week-long courses with a very long winter break after the first quarter and a short spring break after the end of the second quarter. The quarter system has its ups and downs, and the quarter system speeds by. Here is a breakdown of each week in the quarter system, and what to expect.
Week 1: Syllabus week
Like most other universities, syllabus week is a relaxed pace. This week is where the students meet other peers in their course, get to know the professor, and get to buy the materials needed for class. At this week stress levels in the quarter system are at an all-time low.
Week 2: The learning phase
In the quarter system, week 2 is where you start engaging with the course material. You will have readings, and get to participate in class discussions. Generally speaking, this week is where lots of learning takes place, and you are not quizzed on it yet.
Week 3: Getting in the swing of things
Once week three hits, students start to become more aware of the class norms, and expectations. They have learned more about the course, and typically the first major assignment, test, or paper is due during week three. Professors start to know the students' names by this time.
Week 4: Midterms denial
The professor may begin to mention that a midterm paper or exam is coming up, and you react with 'what have I learned?' The quarter system is notorious for being such a fast-paced system that it feels that you just started. However, with this fast pace, and intensity level of course material, you did acquire new knowledge.
Week 5 and 6: Midterms week
Not every course has a midterm, but this is the major test or paper that students have to do to see their learning growth. Midterm week is often spread out over a period of two weeks, unlike finals week. A midterm usually takes place week 5 and 6.
Week 7: Relief and destress
It is a nice feeling getting back into the swing of the normal college schedule post-midterms. Stress levels begin to go a little bit lower, and at this point, you begin to see what grade you will be expecting by the end of the quarter.
Week 8: Seeing the finish line
As the quarter system takes up a lot of energy throughout these weeks, you begin to feel a sense of satisfaction when there are only three weeks left, and you can start to see the finish line. However, finals are so close yet so far away.
Week 9: Stress levels rise with little motivation
The classic burnout week, you know that the little energy you have will get you through this week. Especially in spring quarter, this is the week where semester students have already had a week of school off for summer break, and it can be frustrating how everyone seeing everyone else in summer mode. This week, in particular, is a hard week for DePaul students.
Week 10: Late night study sessions, and prepping
It is now the week before finals, and it could not have come any sooner. This week is where the motivation creeps back up, and you begin preparing for finals. Whether it be polishing your final papers, or studying for any upcoming exams. Students rely on coffee, and energy drinks to keep them motivated.
Week 11: Atttending final exams, and writing papers
It has finally come! Finals week is the time where students finish off their quarter by taking exams and writing final papers and presentations. Once the quarter is finished, it is such a relief, and people are proud of themselves for sticking through all eleven weeks of the quarter.