It’s March, and Spring Break ’14 is all but a distant memory. For those of you on semesters, it’s time to start catching up on everything you missed during the first eight weeks of class. For those of you on quarters, you’re still getting to know your newest syllabi and June seems a looong way off…

Regardless of the timetable your university is on, chances are you’re all wrestling with one horrible question: summer school?

There are lots of reasons to go to summer school…

1. (possible) access to classes that are maybe too crowded and over-enrolled during the regular school year

2. a concentrated course plan to fit into an accelerated seasonal schedule – though classes will take up more of your immediate time, you’ll knock ’em out in fewer calendar days

3a. the fact that it’s summer, thus you’re likely to get a more relaxed experience

3b. the fact that most summer session courses are staffed by graduate students and/or part-timers, thus you’re likely to get an *easier* experience

That last one’s just a little tip from me to you, though I definitely don’t think the *easy* route is always the best one, especially not for core or major courses.

So sigh, it looks like summer school is the answer and I’ll see you in Unairconditioned Building #C-1845 from 8 am to noon, Monday through Thursday, for six to eight weeks this July/August…

Except that I really don’t think you should go to summer school. Actually, I would advise against it.

Summer courses generally cost a bit more than their regular session counterparts, but cost shouldn’t be your primary deterrent. Time should.

As an undergrad, you’re blessed with three-ish months every year wherein goofing around at a for-fun job is ok. But rather than blowing all your tips partying with your coworkers after a dinner shift at Chili’s or wherever, what you should be doing with all that extra summer time is networking – shadowing a professional (even an entry level professional) in your fields (fields, not field!!) of interest, volunteering on the front lines of whatever crisis call center, animal rescue, self-help summer camp, or social media blitzkrieg agency you see yourself pursuing, and making connections. Because the job market today is tough, and your college degree – the one you’re not quite done with – is devaluing as we speak.

This summer, work at Chili’s (because bills don’t take summer vacation) and work on your career. The degree of importance this time in your life holds cannot be overstated, and the wider world eventually gets us all.

Need some school advice? Make an appointment for virtual office hours right here.

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(pictured: your summer should be stimulating!! image via Shutterstock)

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You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from ChauntelleTibbals.com, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, Ph.D.”

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