The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

By the end of every spring semester, the last thing I have ever wanted to do is think about school.

It was true after my first year before I’d been jaded by 50-hour work weeks and full course loads, and it’s true now as I prepare to complete my undergraduate education and enter the mystical land of the “real world,” which promises opportunity and, if we’re lucky, a little more cash in our wallets.

But even if you, like me, shudder at the thought of returning to school after finishing a full year of classes — consider summer school.

Finish your language requirements, take the class you know you’ll struggle with, take the requirements you want to put off but shouldn’t.

I spent one summer in Chapel Hill — I wish I could have had more. I worked part-time and took an internship, and the best thing I did between walks on campus and late afternoon YoPo runs was taking summer classes.

I had spent my spring semester struggling through Italian 102 and knew I couldn’t wait another three months to take the last level of my language requirement — so I enrolled in Italian 203 for the first summer session.

Admittedly, I started out with a lack of confidence in my ability to sustain conversation in a language I once regretted studying and a sense of resentment at the thought of enduring a 90-minute class five days a week.

But after the first week something incredible happened — I liked school again. I didn’t mind going to class every day. I was learning and enjoying it without the stress of a semester’s course load.

By the end of my summer session, I felt confident speaking another language. Even if I struggled at times, I didn’t worry about it because I knew I had time to focus my studies on just this class. With a summer session I could fulfill an education requirement, learn without feeling overwhelmed and enjoy my summer, too.

I wish I had some life-changing wisdom to say about my summer spent struggling through Econ 101, but I do not.

I didn’t enjoy learning whatever it is that happens in microeconomics. Despite how new my textbook was, I still don’t think the principles within it are necessarily representative of the economic realities we experience on a daily basis. But I’m also a communications major destined to find the rhetorical faults in almost everything — what authority do I have on the principles of economics, anyway?

Your sentiments on summer school don’t have to be Hallmark-worthy. You might hate going to class every day or struggle with the material.

But if you want to take a class you couldn’t during the regular semester or learn without the burden of a full course load, consider summer classes.

Chapel Hill is a lovely place in the summer — and you should take every advantage you can of being here.

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