Striking the perfect work/life balance is always tough, but it gets especially challenging during the summer. Every student taking summer courses will feel this way to some extent, but it hits home for any adult student who is balancing work or family life. At work, you hear about co-workers' weekend getaways. At home, even your kids have fun activities through camps or day care. When sitting at your computer or reading your textbook, it's hard to NOT feel like you’re missing out.
Your feelings are legitimate—we all deserve some time to soak in the summer! But you should avoid focusing on what you're losing. It's not productive.
Shift Your Focus and Try to See What You're Gaining
When you feel like your summer is a bummer, remember your goal. For most of you, going back to college is all about finishing college quickly. You want to get that degree and take your career to the next level. There are amazing advantages that you'll gain when you power through your degree program, take summer courses, and put yourself in the position to get that degree sooner rather than later.
Here are our four favorite advantages of taking summer courses
1. Staying sharp
Have you ever been in an upper-level class and needed a refresher on the material that was covered in the pre-req? When you take courses every term, you can avoid this hurdle. You won't have long gaps in between related course topics and it will be easier to apply what you've learned.
2. Finishing college faster
If you enroll during every term of the year, you can cut a semester or two (maybe even a year) off of the traditional time frame that it takes to complete your degree program. Yes – you may "lose" your summers. You'll also need to develop time management skills to keep up with this pace as a student. At the end of the day, it gets you closer to completion and closer to your career goals.
3. Saving money – smart management of your student loan debt
Most students rely on student loans. When you take a long time to earn your degree, you need to be mindful of how much you borrow. Part-time students who borrow the maximum amount term-after-term risk accumulating a lot of debt. When you enroll full-time and work to finish your degree quickly, you can have a better handle on student loan debt.
4. Keeping your momentum
An important factor that help keeps your motivation levels high is seeing progress. If you knock off a course or two each term, your progress is tangible. If you earn your degree at a slower pace, it gets more difficult to fully appreciate your progress.
Person-to-person and student-to-student this will vary, but for many people it can be hard to get back on the wagon after taking a break. If you identify with this scenario, taking courses each term is a good strategy to keep yourself engaged so you achieve your degree.