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Dog Days of Summer Classes

Published on 7/7/2021 1:47:13 PM
By Sydnie Harrell, Office of Undergraduate Studies at Texas A&M University

Summer II and the second half of 10-week courses fall in-line with the hot and humid dog days of summer. While summer classes allow students to knock out major requirements in a short period of time, many Texas A&M students are feeling the strain right now.

“Summer classes are a whole other beast because they are only five weeks long and very fast paced,” sophomore Brooke Nunley said. “The biggest [struggle with summer classes] has been motivation; I mean, it’s summer! Who wants to do more school during break?”

Adjusting to online education is an obstacle on its own for many students. In addition to adapting to a faster pace, first year college students also have to figure out how to manage their time. While they may have gotten the hang of it in the fall and spring semesters, summer classes mean less time for doing assignments, studying, or for fun.

“My first semester [of college] was rough,” Nunley said. “I learned that I actually didn’t have good time management skills, so I worked on that a lot. You have to pay attention more [in summer classes] because due dates come a lot faster.”

To try and overcome the challenges that come with heftier course loads, students are embracing tools and campus resources available to them. The Academic Success Center (ASC) pushes out study tips on their Instagram, @SuccessTAMU, and in their study and learning handouts, “Success Tips for Online Summer Courses If It’s Your First Time in College and “Tips for Success in Online Classes During Coronavirus Outbreak.”

 
A sample of a study tips series the Academic Success Center promoted on Instagram. 

“Ways that I have been able to overcome my struggles with motivation and accountability is by creating little things that help me stay on track, like to-do lists,” senior Luisa Castillo said. “Having these daily to-do lists of assignments, chapters, lectures, and notes helps me understand ‘Oh! I am actually busy!”

Students have also voiced their struggles with doing schoolwork in the same place they reside in; they are surpassing this obstacle by attending their classes and doing their assignments anywhere they can get a WiFi connection. Some have found that this also helps them be more focused and productive.

“Another way to keep myself motivated is by doing online classes at coffee shops,” Castillo said. “A change of scenery helps so much more than people think. It creates newness that we crave; it diversifies our schedules so we aren’t mentally stuck in a routine that can be detrimental to our mental health.”

Texas A&M students aren’t the only ones needing to keep themselves motivated. The recent TikTok trend #SummerSchool provides comedic evidence of the need for students and educators at all levels to share their common struggles with summer school.

“I have seen some videos recently on my FYP [For You Page] with #SummerSchool,” junior Anyssa Perez said. “I’m glad there are others out there sharing my struggle and being stuck inside doing homework just like me.”

Participating in conversations on social media about summer school struggles can be a momentary escape from academics, but students can also receive practical, timely help at no additional cost through campus resources like the University Writing Center (UWC), the Academic Success Center (ASC), and the Math Learning Center (MLC).

“Students taking summer classes should definitely explore all of the resources available from Undergraduate Studies!” Math Learning Center Program Coordinator Anna Williams said. “Summer classes are uniquely challenging because they are shorter, so familiarizing with all of the resources across campus is helpful.”

Appointments for the UWC are available throughout the summer in multiple online formats (Zoom and asynchronous appointments); they also have Writing and Speaking Guides accessible online 24/7. The ASC offers online tutoring sessions in multiple subjects and appointments with academic coaches who can help you customize time management or overcome struggles with motivation. The MLC offers appointments for math tutoring in summer in addition to help sessions.

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Media contact: Anna Transue transuea@tamu.edu