Enrolling in a summer subject: Be wise and strategise

by Rebecca Lee

If you’re keen to punch out your LIS degree as quickly as possible, then in all likelihood you’ve considered doing a subject over the summer. After recently completing my first ever summer session, I have 5 observations to share which may help you decide if you’re contemplating enrolling for 2019.

  1. Time: Got some?
    End of school year concerts, work Christmas parties, family Christmas parties, actual Christmas day and New Year’s Eve = the busiest time of year for our family. Besides which, it turns out that summer sessions at my university are shorter than the regular sessions, so there’s less time to read modules and complete assessments. I did one subject and it was more than enough. Think about what you have on, and look at the length of summer sessions at your institution. Then decide what you can manage.
  2. Should, should, should
    It is the end of a 40-degree day. Someone says to you, “Ice cold mojito?”. You can take the mojito, but you should be studying. You could join your mates or family at the pool, but you should be studying. You could binge-watch that series you’re dying to see, but you should be studying. Consider whether you want ‘should’ sprinkled all over your summer.
  3. Strategy for study
    Shoulds’ aside, I’ve decided to enroll in another summer subject at the end of 2019. Why? Well, in a regular session I do two subjects, which means that my attendance to each is split. There is a notoriously difficult subject I need to knock over (‘Run, don’t walk from this one!’ was the advice in the course’s Facebook group), and I think I’ll do a better job if I can give it my undivided attention. A summer session offers the opportunity to give special attention to a difficult subject, or on the other hand, to choose an easier subject and still have a reasonably relaxed summer. All while making progress in your degree!
  4. About lecturers
    If you haven’t already, join all of the Facebook groups related to your course and subjects. Then dig for information! I discovered that at my institution, different lecturers act as subject coordinators for different sessions. The lecturer for the summer offering of a subject I’m interested in? Not so great (according to members in the Facebook group). The lecturer for the regular session? Fabulous (again – reportedly). In light of this information, I’m making sure to enroll in this subject during a regular session.
  5. Steady does it
    It may be tempting to try and smash out your degree as quickly as possible, especially if you find study a drag. But given that many employers are happy to take people on before they’ve finished their qualification, how desperately soon do you need to graduate? Consider giving yourself more time, which might then give you better enjoyment of your subjects, and the journey. Consider Netflix by the pool with a mojito in hand, and not a ‘should’ to be seen!

I could never give advice one way or the other as to whether you should enroll in a summer subject, because every student will have different circumstances to consider. However, I do hope that my observations have provided some food for thought to help you decide.

Please comment below if you have completed a summer subject and have further observations to contribute – ALIA SNGG would love to hear from you!

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