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This week, I realized that my very first post about summer school had promised a rosy six weeks, full of reading in between class, keeping up with my actual readings, and of course, homemade lunches.

Having shut my Astronomy and Geology textbooks forever, I can safely say that most of these did not happen. At all. If I’ve learned anything (other than about how the planets were formed and climate change), this is what I would say. Here are my final words on summer school:

1. Don’t be afraid to let yourself off the hook.

If you’re taking a course that’s not part of your major or program, and is only meant to fulfill a breadth requirement, consider taking it credit/no credit. Most schools offer this pass/fail option, and while reducing your stress levels by a boat load, it also lets you focus on learning something different without having to worry about getting an extremely high grade.

2. Don’t miss class.

Summer courses pack everything into such a short time frame that the bulk of each lecture is almost guaranteed to be on your exam.

3. Do stay on top of your readings.

I know the professors stress this as well, but they mean it. Skipping readings leads to cramming in an entire textbook right before the exam. Also, in my experience, the teachers usually only have time to cover the broad ideas in class, meaning that all the detailed information will come from the readings and is definitely more than fair game on an exam.

4. Do make friends!

In a previous post I mentioned the invaluable inspiration friends can provide, but having or making new friends in the same classes as you can be extremely helpful when it comes time for group projects and studying for exams. Plus, its always fun to have a study buddy!

5. Do bring your lunch from home.

I know, I said this at the beginning, and I’m going to say it again. While you’re at it, bring lots of coffee as well and consider switching to tea. Starbucks and Second Cup are currently thanking my wallet for its generosity.

Good luck to all of you still taking summer courses!

Did you finish summer school like me? Leave a comment about your experience!

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Image courtesy of Gabriella Corrado (CC by 2.0)