Faculty offer summer advice

Ryan Thompson

The full and early summer sessions began May 30, and some students may not know what to expect.

Listed below are a few tips from Washburn faculty to help you get the most out of your summer education.

The biggest difference between the summer sessions and the fall and spring semesters is the intensive nature of such condensed material according to Michael O’Brien, lecturer of modern languages. Ryan Alexander, chair of the criminal justice and legal studies department, seconds this.

“Faculty are packing 16 weeks worth of material into five or eight weeks,” Alexander said.

Students can expect the summer session to fly by, meaning students should take time to consider how to approach their summer classes.

Alexander stresses the importance of preparation and proper scheduling.

“It seems like students ease up a bit on preparing for and participating in summer classes when compared to fall and spring classes,” Alexander says. “Make sure your summer schedule, [for example] vacation or work, is not going to impact your summer class.”

An important step in doing this is looking over the syllabus and course schedule carefully so coursework can be planned out ahead of time. Start working on assignments as soon as they are given, as the shorter deadlines give you less cushion time for procrastination.

The first piece of advice O’Brien offers is to take attendance seriously. Each class period will likely cover a lot of new material.

“Attend class everyday,” O’Brien said. “Missing two days during the summer is the equivalent of missing a week and a half during the regular fall semester.”

Because of how much content is backed into each day of class, reviewing the day’s material after each class is a valuable practice.

“Reviewing the day’s material is always important, but even more so in the summer since the next day will bring another three hours of new grammatical concepts and new vocabulary words,” O’Brien said.

This makes good note taking all the more important. Any material that is repeated, written on the board or put in a powerpoint should probably be taken down. Remember: Class notes don’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to use symbols, abbreviations and other shortcuts to ensure you get all of the information down in a reasonable amount of time.

O’Brien’s third and final tip for success in a summer class is establishing strong communication with the professor.

“Go to your instructor’s office hours more frequently to ask questions and clarify any doubts about the material covered that day before moving on to the new material the following day,” O’Brien said.

There is no shame in needing help. On top of the accelerated pace, summer generally requires students to work longer hours, so it’s easy to fall behind or feel overwhelmed. In addition to keeping in touch with one’s professor, it might be a good idea to consider visiting the tutoring center on the third floor of Mabee Library.

Furthermore, student health and counseling services will be available over the summer in Morgan Hall Room 140. Between class, school work and jobs, it can be challenging to find the time to get everything done, especially for those planning to actually enjoy some of their summer, so if stress or physical ailment start to get in the way, don’t hesitate to stop by.

If all else fails, just try to remember that in five or eight weeks, it will all be over.