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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Fools for Summer School

It would be great to just lay back and relax. Students at summer
school deny themselves the break they deserve. 

It would be great to just lay back and relax. Students at summer school deny themselves the break they deserve. 


Summer: the time between semesters for rest and relaxation,
tanning, socializing, great food, the beach, staying up late,
boogey-boarding and beer chugging. It’s about fun, right? Most
students say yes, but not all.  


Some UMass Boston super-students take summer courses while their
friends enjoy the break. If you never took a summer course at UMB
before, here are some pros and cons: 


 (Con) No vacation?  


It would be great to just lay back and relax. Students at summer
school deny themselves the break they deserve. What’s worse, they
have to watch and listen to their friends who are having a good
time. When someone asks, “So what did you do yesterday?” the
super-summer-student wearily replies, “Midterm.”   


(Con) Money, money, money


Summer courses are more expensive than classes during the semester.
Courses run from roughly $600-1400, but they’re usually around
$1000. That’s a lot of cash for a student. If you don’t have the
backing for these courses – whether parental, personal, or
institutional – you can’t take them.  


(Con) They’re wicked hard, dude


You thought behavioral neuroscience was hard during the semester?
Take 3.5 months of school and squeeze it into about 6 weeks. It’s
not easy. Keeping up with the reading, writing, test-taking, and
minutia each summer course carries as a work load is incredibly
demanding. As if that wasn’t enough, the classes themselves are
three hours long, twice a week! Imagine spending an eighth of your
day sitting inside listening to a lecture on the misunderstandings
Westerners have regarding the Voodoo religion.  


(Con) Absenteeism / procrastination = F  


If you miss one class during the summer session, you’ve effectively
missed a week’s worth of regular semester classes. This is bad.
Fall behind even a little and you may end up with an impossible
work load. 


  Obviously, if these were the only features of summer courses –
lack of summer fun, expensive, loads of work – no one would take
them. But, hundreds of students do take them. What are the
pros?


  (Pro) Professors are human too.


 This may come as a shock, but professors are just as busy,
impatient, and overworked as you. Practically speaking, when hour
two of your supposedly three hour session dodders by, they’re
probably almost as eager to get out of there as you. You probably
won’t stay for the full three a majority of the time. From personal
experience – five summer courses – I’ve only stayed for a full
summer class 8 or 9 times. Sometimes it’s only fifteen minutes off,
sometimes it’s thirty. Sometimes it’s almost an hour, which is a
full class day during the semester.   


Also, most professors give a “5 minute break.” Summer school time
is different. 5 minutes = 12 minutes.


Professors even tend to grade a bit easier. They sympathize with
your heavy workload and understand how compact the course is. “I
understand how much work this is,” is a frequent phrase, followed
by some variation of, “I won’t be a dick when grading.” This does
not apply to courses graded exclusively on tests. If you bomb a
test, you bomb the course.  


(Pro) Have any questions? I will answer all of
them.
 


Some of my best classes have been during the summer in terms of how
much I got out of it. Long classes really give a professor time to
really dig into a topic. Science courses and English courses
especially seem to benefit from this.  


(Pro) You have to take 5 courses this semester? I only have to take
4! 


That’s right, folks. If you’re a summer student who has worked your
ass off while everyone else was drinking at the beach, you can rub
it in their faces when the semester rolls around.   


To graduate in four years you need to pass 5 courses per semester.
If you take two summer courses you need two courses fewer during
the school year. So, if you took two courses this summer session
you only need four courses per semester. Not bad, huh? When your
friends are talking about how much homework they have to do, you
can be doing something awesome, like learning to juggle bananas, or
playing Frisbee.   


(Pro) No brain atrophy  


You walk into your first class on your first day back from
vacation. You’re skin is beautifully tanned and your eyes have that
“WTF, mate?” look. Your eager professor says to you, “We’re going
to begin class with a discussion on Descartes’ theory of the ghost
in the machine.” Who the hell is Descartes, and why is he haunting
my computer?  


Students who take summer courses keep their brains up to speed
while everyone else is in vacation-mode. While returning students
struggle, you’re the much hated brainiac who volunteers, “The mind
is just an illusion. It is all machine.”  


Have a nice semester!