June 13, 2009
Summer Semester: The World In Brief
Folks have the impression that summer classes are easier than regular-semester classes. I can see where the impression comes from. For one, you only need to take one class to have a full load. After taking 4-5 classes during the regular semester, this may sound great. Also, there are two kinds of classes offered in most college summer sessions: classes that are also offered during the regular semester, and classes that aren’t. Often classes that aren’t offered during regular term are experimental or elective type classes, offered with lighter tone or narrower focus than regular-term classes (such as Underwater Basket Weaving or Seminar on Why Frodo Wears Brown Clothes in The Lord of The Rings and the Social Significance of Color Imagery.) In other words, you have either 16-week classes being squeezed into 10 weeks, or classes taking advantage of the 5- or 10-week formats to offer students something new and different to think about.
Neither of these types of courses are “easy.” That’s why you only take one.
My summer sessions are of the first type, the 16-week class offered in 10 weeks. Every year, I get a handful of students who complain about how much reading they have to do and how much work is involved, because after all, this is a summer class. I now have a pat answer: of course there are double reading weeks. I am putting 16 weeks’ of material and work into a 10 week session. But hey, you’re only taking one class, so what’s the problem?
This year, I have multiple students who are (according to their emails) working 50-60 hour weeks, plus trying to raise kids, as single parents, with sick parents/grandparents/siblings/children, oh, and a couple are also in ROTC or weekend warrior types, and why am I making them do all this work in a summer class?
So I have added in that they also need to consult their academic advisor about appropriate class loads. because folks, these are the types of people who shouldn’t be taking full-time loads in a regular term, so they should definitely not be taking a full-load during the summer, when the classes are more intensive. Because it really pisses off the folks who are working 50-60 hours a week, raising kids, taking care of relatives, are also in the military, and do their fucking work.
I assure you, there are many such students in my classes, and I admire each and every one of them.