By ALEXIS ZIRPMOULIS
It is that time of year again to start thinking about registering for classes. Summer classes have already opened up for registration. We are all excited to be nearly finished with the spring semester, but students should consider registering for summer courses.
It is always important to think about the benefits of continuing your studies over the summer. Based on personal experiences, I have found that there are many students who are curious about enrolling into summer courses, but are not sure whether it would be a good idea for them because they do not fully understand what choices or benefits that come along with enrolling in the short semesters.
I began my college journey in 2012 and I began enrolling into summer courses in 2013. I am so happy that I did. Even though I attended community college before transferring to UMW in 2015, I struggled to enroll in the limited courses that were offered that worked around my full-time work schedule. Online courses are appealing to me because of their relaxed nature, and many times you are given permission to work at your own pace. I have also found that unlike during the fall and spring semesters at UMW, a lot more summer courses are offered online, which means even if you are planning to go home for the summer, or go on vacation out of the country, you can still continue your education from a distance. However, you may find that without physically being present in a classroom setting, you quickly forget about the work that needs to be completed, therefore it is important to be strict with yourself and set personal expectations.
Summer courses have a shorter duration. I believe this is what spooks many students away from enrolling into summer courses, because rather than being roughly sixteen weeks long, summer courses are usually roughly only five weeks long. I have never found this to be an issue and I have never truly felt overwhelmed even while taking a full course load in a short period of time. From personal experience, I feel as though my professors realize how short the semester is and they truly work with their students regarding the workload that is assigned.
As I mentioned, I try my best to take a full credit load during the summer because flexibility is key with my full-time work schedule, but initially enrolling in even just one or two summer courses every year may allow you to potentially graduate early. Personally, I enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to take summer courses to get all of my General Education requirements out of the way, so I had more time during the regular academic year to focus my time on my major and minor requirements. If you are behind on credits or maybe you want to re-enroll in a previous course that you did not do so well in, summer is the perfect time to do it and catch up.
Summer courses at UMW are often pretty small. Last summer I enrolled into a course that I feared I would struggle with throughout the semester, but luckily there were less than 10 students in my class. I received a lot of one-on-one time with my professor and never left the classroom feeling confused about assignments or my overall grade.
Enrolling into summer courses will keep your brain active and help you maintain positive brain activity year around. The more you continue to exercise your brain, the better you will perform academically. Just remember do not bite off more than you can chew, but if you have never taken a summer course it does not hurt to try at least one. If summer courses are not for you, there is a brief period of time that you are allowed to drop the course for a full refund. We all need balance in our lives, and now is the time to regain that balance by enrolling in summer courses.