Summer Session: Good Experience or Waste of Time?

(This article was originally published on May 6, 2009) 

By: Tom Mateer

For most students, summer means a time of relaxing and enjoying the months ahead. For others, it’s time to work. Bloomsburg University offers a number of summer-session programs to students who want to prove their ability, improve grade-point averages or get more credits. Whatever the purpose: Is summer school worthwhile or just useless? Several students who have gone to summer school were interviewed.

Here at Bloomsburg, summer freshmen usually live together in Elwell Hall where residence staff and CAs help people meet each other.

“The first night was alright,” said student Joe Arroyo. “There was a pizza party in the main lobby of Elwell. Who can complain about free food?”

Freshmen are given packets with meeting times and places. These meetings help students learn more about the campus and the students they are with over the summer. The majority of students surveyed said these meetings are a great place to meet early college friends. Many students are still friends with the kids they met during these meetings.

Most students have two or three daily classes and can choose among 450 different classes for these six weeks.

“I was really surprised at what my schedule was when I got it,” said student Neil Dattani.  “I had Music Listening and Comp, which are courses I never thought I could take over summer.” With courses ranging from Economy to Theater Appreciation, students weren’t complaining about their schedules.

Classes weren’t the only part of summer that students enjoyed. Many students said they relaxed from a hard day’s work by going to parties at night. In fact, many students said they felt more compelled to go out as much as possible considering they had a light workload, and it was summer time. With perfect weather and an exciting town, who would want to stay in their dorm all night?

One student, who asked that his name not be used, said, “Summer session at Bloomsburg was easy, if you had the right classes. For me, I had those easy classes, and I took advantage of that. I went out basically every night, well, except for Sunday, but that’s just because the beer store was closed.”

Although every student wasn’t a party animal, many went out on a regular basis even though an unverified word had spread among the group that half of the summer session freshman students would end up failing their six-week classes.

If many students were failing a simple six-week course, there had to be a reason. Some said it was too much partying, others said that their classes were impossibly hard. It’s hard to determine if there is any set reason why students fail their summer-session program, other than their own bad decisions.

Although there are some negative aspects to college over the summer, the positive aspects seem to outweigh them. Many freshmen said that they enjoyed learning about the campus before fall/spring and getting to know teachers.

 “What is more advantageous than talking to future teachers that could greatly impact your college career,” said student Michael Antosh.

The seven credits they can earn help students lessen the burden for future semesters.

“It was a great time, I wouldn’t take it back for the world,” said Nina Latorre. “I met so many great people. I look forward to coming again in a year or two.”

After all the information gathered for this article, it’s pretty clear to see that summer session is not a waste of time. But it’s up to the students: They’ll get what they put into it.

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