Balancing Summer Break and Academics
As a dual degree student, it was never a question of whether I would do summer classes or not. As an incoming junior, this is my second summer of balancing academics, a job, and time with friends. Last summer, it was not as much of a concern because of the pandemic, but as things begin to open up this summer and more friends have stayed around Ann Arbor, it becomes more of a challenge. I personally think that with the right habits and motivations, taking classes over the summer is a great way to get ahead, make your summer more productive, and open up more free time during the school year.
The biggest challenge for staying on track with my classes is staying productive and on top of the work I have to do. As someone who struggles with ADHD, it is extremely easy for me to get distracted or make impulsive decisions to hang out with friends instead of getting my homework done. In the end, I remind myself that the more work I do this summer, the less I will have to stress about in the school year. I’m not going to lie and say that summer classes are easy. These classes are crammed into a half semester length and are often more of a time commitment as the professors want you to get the most out of their course. To help battle this, aside from reminding myself that it’ll help me later, I also like to consider what I would actually be doing if I didn’t take classes. In the end, my time is better spent doing academics than just laying around watching Netflix all day.
Another important thing to do when considering online classes is to examine the people that you surround yourself with. I’m really lucky to have friends that are also extremely motivated with jobs or that are also taking classes. It definitely helps to reduce my fear of missing out on things. Instead of going out on weeknights and spending money at restaurants or on other activities, my friends and I will take time to just work on homework together or do smaller de-stressing activities like watching the sunset at the docks. We dedicate our weekends to relaxing before getting back into the groove of things on Monday.
My biggest tip for summer classes is staying organized and logging when you have to be in class and which nights you’ll have the most homework. I’ve found that having a couple busy days with two or three classes can be draining but also opens up my other weekdays to pick up work shifts and catch up on homework. I use my planner constantly and like to fill it out on Sunday, so I know exactly what I have coming up and what days I’ll be busiest.
Overall, while taking summer courses isn’t exactly a break from the rigors of the normal school year, it is a great way to accomplish all of your academic goals while here at the University of Michigan.