WAR OF THE WORDS

Mike Whitebear ()

Mike Whitebear ()

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Normally, when one utters the words “summer school” in a crowd of students, at least one of them will feel a chill crawl down their spine. Summer school has long been the bane of many students. This is probably because that student had to go to summer school as a punishment at one time or another. But is it really all that bad?

Let’s look at the obvious problem that most students have with summer classes: the punishment factor. When you don’t do well enough in school (high school is a prime example), you are normally “punished” with about a month and a half of summer school. You are forced to waste your summer learning things that you should be learning during the normal school year. Summer is when you should be goofing off, hanging out with your friends, and doing things that would make other people shake their heads in shame. I mean, who needs summer school in the first place?

We all do.

What most students don’t realize is that, although the taking of summer classes is treated as a punishment, other students are treating it as a blessing. Why? Because it is. Now, before you start throwing trash my way, let me try and calm down your meat-fueled blood with an explanation.

Yes, summer school is quite boring, and there are better things you could, and should, be doing. But look at it from the view of the people who enjoy it-they go because they think the same as you do. They, like you, want to leave school as soon as possible. And fulfilling requirements in the summer allows them to do just that.

Taking classes during summer may seem like a useless practice, but it actually lets you get some classes out of the way sooner. And not only do you get credit for them, the classes are shorter. It’s a very good trade for just a month and a half of drudgery.

Summer school isn’t just for people who want to get out of school earlier, though. Students who don’t want to loaf around all day can also go. School lets them get out of the house, and get to where their friends (might) be.

Sure, summer is the time when you should be loafing around like a sloth, but why do that? Loafing is not exactly the healthiest thing to do, you know.

Summer school may not be the best option for you, but at least it is one. If we didn’t have that option, we would be forced to repeat classes that were bad or too difficult the first time. I know I wouldn’t want to take a class I hated again, especially for another semester. I would rather get it out of the way to make room for fun classes, or classes I could learn something from.

So, next time you start thinking about how much summer classes suck, think about this: taking a month and a half out of your social life in exchange for one or two fewer years of school isn’t a bad deal. Are you willing to make the trade?

I remember a time back in 1999. There was this thing called “free time.” Don’t remember it? OK, truth is, I vaguely do as well. All I really remember now are days filled with work and school, and when summer comes-there’s summer school.

Summer school is a punishment beyond regular school. It’s the idea that puts an end to those dreams of childhood activities such as climbing trees, or even just laying around the house. I can’t even think of what I would do if I had the summer off, because I can’t think far enough back to a time when that was an option.

Everything about summer school makes it more painful than necessary. The class sessions are longer and sometimes even more difficult because they are compressed into a shorter amount of time, and the weather is nicer, seducing students outdoors. (This applies to other schools, of course, not Skyline. Take my word for it, there is sunshine in the summer.) Why would you subject yourself to that? Is it truly better than just taking the class during the regular school year? Is it worth it to give up your summer for just two classes, six units, five hours a day, six weeks of misery?

Instead, take the summer off, you deserve it. Trust me. If you take an extra year to finish, that’s OK. It’s another free summer for you to enjoy. In all honesty, after a free summer, you will come back to school during the year refreshed and ready to learn, embracing the material your teachers will present to you.

Think about your math class, your English class, or for you smarty-pants overachievers, think of something really nasty and scary like calculus with analytic geometry II honors. Or how about gym? Whatever course you loathe the most will do. The 50 minutes you spend a day in that class drags by endlessly. What is less than an hour seems like it stretches out for much, much longer. Would you want to double that excruciating pain into a two-hour class?

Sometimes the ideal outcome of breezing through your requirements is not what you will end up with. Instead, the level of potential distractions and your complete revulsion from the situation will hurt your motivation.

Contrary to the view of many students, summer school classes are not always an easier way to get through a requirement. The material is denser and more concentrated due to the shorter term.

Also, it’s not like there are different teachers in the summer. Those happy, cheerful teachers that give away A’s because the birds are singing and the sun is shining are just a myth. Many of the instructors teaching many of the summer classes are the same instructors teaching fall and spring classes. So guess what? Your angry, embittered math teacher doesn’t undergo a transformation into a cheerful generous A-giver during the summer. He is still as angry and embittered then as he is now, except that it is a lot warmer in the summer, so he may smell too.

Summer school is an excellent option to retake classes that you previously did not pass. If you did not fail any courses, however, why not reward yourself by getting away from school for the summer? You could take up a sport, get an internship, or just come by Skyline and wave at Mike Whitebear in his summer school classroom.

There will be plenty of opportunities later to work all year long. Until then, spend your summer the way it was supposed to be spent: having fun, and doing what you love.