Students, administrators share summer session experiences
As the academic year comes to an end, many students are on the lookout for job opportunities or volunteer positions that may advance their understanding of their respective career goals. UC Davis also offers students the opportunity to take courses during a six-week period over the summer.
Danica Fisher, the director of UC Davis summer sessions, has worked alongside administrators and professors toward improving the summer session experience for the past year, primarily by accommodating classes of the most interest.
Fisher expanded on why she thinks taking classes during summer sessions might be beneficial to students.
“I think that some students will find that over the summer they enjoy having a shorter time period to focus on one, or maybe two classes,” Fisher said. “Some students enjoy having less traffic on campus so you get a better sense of a smaller community. The class size might be smaller depending on the course that you take, which is another thing a lot of students prefer.”
Spending six weeks focusing solely on one or two courses is an opportunity for success in classes students might find more difficult to balance in a regular 15-unit quarter. Fisher explained how during the summer, students have a lot more access to resources that can support them in their classes.
“Students might have a different level of access to a professor or instructor that they might not have during the regular year,” Fisher said. “Some of the same services that [the Student Academic Success Center] offers during the academic year they also offer during the summer, so tutoring, academic counseling, advising and academic success coaching. You have less students who are accessing those services over the summer so you get more one-on-one attention than you might get during the school year.”
Aside from academics, many students also are concerned with the social environment of the campus when school is not officially in session. Although there might not be as many club activities or parties to attend, Fisher explained what social events she hopes that these summer sessions and future summers might hold.
“I think the social opportunities are a little less, but one of my goals for this summer and the summers that follow will be to think about how we can implement more social activities on campus during the summer,” Fisher said. “I think there are a lot of resources, if not on campus then in the neighboring cities of Davis, Sacramento and the Bay Area that we can help promote and provide access to for students. We’re looking to do a lot more to sort of figure out how to make this space not just academically exciting, but also socially exciting for students.”
The university also offers on-campus housing for students who are considering taking classes during the summer. According to Fisher, on-campus housing for the summer is secured through conference housing.
“You can get housing in the summer and it’s short-term lease housing on campus which is ideal for most people who are here over the summer,” Fisher said.
Moreover, students who are on financial aid also have the option of accessing the funds as long as they take a minimum of 6 units. In addition, this year students will also have access to Pell Grant money.
For the rest of the quarter, the summer session team will be tabling every week outside of the Silo and at other campus events. The registration freeze for summer session one will be from June 15 to June 19, and July 15 to July 17 for summer session two.
Alejandro Lara, a fourth-year Spanish and communication double major, explained his reasoning behind taking a summer session last year.
“I wanted to have a somewhat chill senior year and I didn’t think I would need to do [a summer class] but I wanted to have a relaxed Spring Quarter,” Lara said. “Right now I’m only taking 12 units and ever since my junior year I’ve been taking 16 units nonstop and it’s kind of nice to take a step back and not have to worry about taking a 20-unit quarter. I had an on-campus job, too, so I was able to keep working and take classes at the same time which was cool.”
Aside from the academic benefits, Lara described other social activities students can engage in to keep busy during summer sessions.
“I got to see the Davis fireworks on the Fourth of July which was kind of a cool thing to do,” Lara said. “I was in the pool almost every day and you kind of have to, it’s like 110 degrees. It’s ridiculously hot so wear sunscreen, but if you take a summer session you will have fun as long as you put in the time to do the work.”
Each summer session lasts about six weeks, during which students are expected to learn 10 weeks worth of material. While the quarter system is fast-paced, Lara explained how rigorous he found summer session to be.
“I think if you only take one class during summer session your workload will be very manageable,” Lara said. “Just know that you are taking accelerated courses, if you’re doing 10 weeks worth of material in six weeks you have to kind of move at a faster pace within and outside the class.”
Anupya Nalamalapu, a fourth-year computer science major, offered a closer look into the grading dynamics of summer courses.
“The classes are a lot smaller so the curve is definitely better,” Nalamalapu said. “The teachers are usually more lenient and you would think that the classes would be harder because it’s a faster pace, but it’s really not that bad because you can focus on a few classes at a time.”
Nalamalapu took concurrent courses during summer sessions including math, English and technology management. Nalamalapu offered her advice for any students considering attending a summer session.
“Don’t slack off because since [a summer session course] is so fast-paced you still can fall behind,” Nalamalapu said. “Classes are definitely longer, so more material is covered, so don’t be tempted to skip them.”
Written by: Sneha Ramachandran — firstname.lastname@example.org