Wow, This Sucks: Staying Sane in Summer School

Today, I realized I had been living a lie. When I changed my major from journalism to English last semester (big mistake – but that’s another story for another blog), I thought “Hey, sweet! I can catch up on classes this summer by reading classic lit (poolside, albeit), expanding my already-extensive vocabulary with words like ‘subtilization’ and ‘castrato’ and still work on my tan!”
Apparently, I had fallen prey to my university’s (and um, my so-called ‘friends’) pernicious lies about the elusive evil that is summer school. Both my advisor and financial counselor had blissfully encouraged me to spend my hard-earned work/study cash on summer classes because, well, they were going to be so much easier than the normal, semester-long demons I would inevitably have to struggle with during the fall semester. It sounded like a pretty good idea, and when I consulted my girls who had all previously taken summer classes, they too said that summer school was way easy. And okay, I got a little excited when I realized that this meant I could wear flip-flops and jean skirts to class every day if I wanted– something northeast Ohio school years rarely permit.
So, I took the plunge. I signed up for summer school…with little to no idea about what was in store for me.
I was still floating on cloud nine after a post-midnight romp with an attractive boy when I waltzed into my first English Studies class – totally ready to tackle Faulkner and Woolf with ease. However, as soon as the syllabus reached my freshly-manicured fingernails….I practically went into cardiac arrest.
So here I am, procrastinating reading my 100-page reading assignment from The Sound and The Fury, completely dumbfounded by the fact that I was fooled into believing that spending more money, more time in class and having to do more work in less time was EVER a good idea.
However, I’m stuck in the situation now, so instead of continuing to complain, I have compiled a short list of ways you (er, well, I, but you can use them, too) can survive summer school & still have fun.
1. Do your reading and assignments wherever you can. Take your books to the pool, your laptop to your friend’s back patio or use your lunch break at work to finish assignments. If you can manage to pay attention to writing a research paper while your friends lazily sip Coronas, do it. You will FEEL like you’re doing something fun even if you’re not actually participating in the conversation and/or binge drinking. This isn’t plausible for everyone, but for those who can do it, go for it.
2. Consider online classes. Most universities offer online courses now, and the ability to “attend” a class without actually going anywhere is an option no summer-schooler should ignore. You’ll get the course out of the way & you won’t have to sacrifice any beach/pool time in the process.
3. Study abroad. Need to fulfill a language requirement? Check into your school’s short summer study abroad sessions. Even if you can’t take any other classes offered during the session, you can usually get your whole language requirement out of the way in a few weeks. Not to mention you can spend time in a foreign country — which is an even more exciting way to spend summer than kickin’ it in your college town, fo sho.
4. Take a class with a friend. If at all possible, enlist one of your trusted pals to attend the class with you. Most summer classes meet almost every day of the week – so pick someone you can stand. Not only will you have an automatic study partner, you can save money carpooling. And hey, it’s always nice to know you aren’t the only hungover @$$hole in the whole lecture hall, and with your trusted party/study pal by your side, you can share the pain (and the Advil).
5. Take advantage of your free time! Yeah, you’ll be exhausted from work and school, but when the weekend rolls around, don’t waste it. Plan fun mini-vacations (think a day at a theme park) & do whatever you can over the weekend to prevent yourself from being swamped with unnecessary errands during the week (i.e., take out the damn trash, get that mani & pedi you’ve been saving for, etc.). Your weekends will be your savior now, so enjoy them.
[photo from]

Meeting His Friends: Part 1
Meeting His Friends: Part 1
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