Growing up, “summer school” was the most unthinkable, blasphemous oxymoron I could wrap my head around.  Summer was for freedom, not, God forbid, learning. Summer was for melting popcicles and pools and mindless entertainment devoid of any hint of school year drudgery. Whenever an elementary school friend told me in hushed tones that he or she had to attend summer school, I slapped a horrified hand to my mouth and shook my head in pity.

As I moved into middle school and then high school, my academic career was spent working myself to the bone for nine months out of the year. The thought of doing it for the remaining three coveted months of freedom was the worst torture I could imagine. And so it was with a faded but still lingering sense of doom that I started my first summer semester of college last month. Surely I’d crack under the pressure? For I’d only heard horror stories: “Oh, man, summer school? It’s so intense. I died, man, I died.”

And yet here I sit, two days away from the end of the semester, and what do you know? I haven’t died. In fact, I am having a ball.

Summer classes are the perfect fit for me. I’ve been lucky enough to have an excellent professor who is passionate about the subject he teaches, and that excitement is contagious. I’ve learned more in this class in a month than I’ve learned in countless others. Classes are fast paced, of course, because they cover four months worth of subject matter in five weeks and meet Monday through Friday. Yet because of this rigorous schedule, there is no room for procrastination–and believe it or not, when you’re not nervously putting off writing that essay for hours, it actually gets done! Quickly!

The best part? It’s short and sweet. You can knock out several credits in a fraction of the time and get that much closer to graduation and starting your career.

So is summer school for you? If you are:

1) Motivated,

2) Responsible,

3) Able to work under pressure, and

4) Don’t object to sacrificing those glorious summer sleep-in mornings,

then summer classes are right up your alley. I would not recommend taking more than two classes at a time, however. In fact, at my university, two summer classes are considered a full load, the equivalent of five fall or spring semester courses. The workload is heavy, often exhausting. But a little blood, sweat, and tears never hurt anyone, right? And what better way to kick your degree into gear than by showing how committed you are to earning it? Don’t let the fear of a fast-paced class stand in your way. You just might surprise yourself with how capable you are of keeping up with it.

So let’s call it a truce, summer school, o childhood enemy of mine. You aren’t that bad, after all!

Casey Eade is a journalism major at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She loves the arts, stuffy, redundant classic literature, and dreaming about traveling the world as a show host or a foreign news correspondent. Until that big journalism gig comes along, she can be found blogging at