Cool for the summer… or school for the summer?

May 12, 2022

campus spring
UM-Dearborn campus in the summer.

The fate of my summer plans was decided a few months ago when I was forced to answer the question, “Do I take summer classes, or not?” Summer registration typically takes place in February, and every year it becomes a time of real decision-making for me as a student at University of Michigan-Dearborn. However, back then, it was hard to think ahead to anything summer-related while being buried in 2 feet of snow. Sure, there was the daily daydream of floating in a pool or driving toward the great lakes’ coastline with the windows down, but then, as all dreams must end, I was snapped back to reality. I remembered the inescapable 8-10 weeks of winter that was to come, followed by a teaser of warm weather, and then back to a cold 40 degrees in early May (regardless of what that groundhog says). 

Do I share some of the summer breezes and long star-filled nights with school, homework, and exams, or should I just rest and relax until Fall semester?

For the past two years, my answer has been yes to “school for the summer.” But that yes doesn’t mean my “cool summer” is completely gone. Or at least, I like to think it doesn’t. Summer classes have helped me on my way to my degree and have proven a good way to get a bit ahead before the fall and winter semesters. They also offer different classes and are less crowded, which is nice from a learning perspective. 

Last summer, I took two classes and had an internship. On top of school — and an exciting internship — I worked part-time as an office manager and ran my calligraphy business making and addressing wedding invitations. That’s the reality for a lot of us here. We become multitasking masters, having to make all the various facets of our lives fit into our student life. It isn’t always easy, but it is helpful and rewarding for our futures and our personal growth. And taking summer classes has taught me so much more about my own disciplines and time management, which is something I will take with me forever. 

Now, back to the not-so-easy part. If you just say the words “summer school,” there tends to be a negative association (even an audible groan or two, maybe a melodramatic sigh thrown in for good measure). We think of detention-clad rooms, strict instructors with no regard for anything beyond the endless 500-page textbooks, and stuffy classrooms overlooking serene scenes of summer as a reminder that you’re not outside enjoying it all. (I’m picturing a nice pond with butterflies fluttering and the breezes flowing through vibrant wildflowers as I write this). 

But, for me, UM-Dearborn offers a different “summer school” picture. With many options of hybrid, asynchronous, and in-person classes, you can essentially choose what experience you want. And campus? Well, it’s quite beautiful, and thankfully, the classrooms don’t feel like jail cells keeping you locked away. Being in a classroom isn’t a reminder of what you’re missing out on, but rather an addition to your summer experience. That is how I have approached it these past two years. I look forward to summer classes as a natural reset for me in my college career. In the grand scheme of things, summer classes can offer a non-traditional student the opportunity to get ahead, gain some momentum, or simply take the time when there are fewer people around to comprehend the course work. 

I think we (and I mean, me, myself and I) are so stuck on the thought that we can have one thing but not the other. I can have my amazing summer full of traveling, trips to the beach, exploring Michigan, concerts, late nights with friends, and bonfires, or I can take classes and get ahead on my coursework. When in reality, we can have both. It’s all about managing our time. I may have to study for an exam on the way to Lake Michigan, but at least I’ll have a great backdrop once I get there. 

The Takeaway

So, no matter what you choose, take the time to enjoy your summer. Remember, you can still do that even with classes, work, and internships. And, if you’re on campus, think about this, classes for a few months pale in comparison to the rest of your life. You don’t have to choose between “school for the summer” or “cool for the summer” — you can have both! So here’s to bright sunshine, summers, and futures! 

Cheers UM-Dearborn! 

What’s Going on in Metro Detroit this Summer?

If you’re looking for summer fun around the Metro Detroit area, as we return to our new normal through COVID, check out these events (and so many more):

Movement: Electronic Music Festival – May 28-30 
Taste of Ann Arbor – June 5
Motor City Pride – June 11-12 
Juneteenth Celebration – Madison Heights, June 18
Burger Battle Detroit -Eastern Market Shed 5, June 26
Art in the Park – Plymouth, July 8-10 
The Detroit Kite Festival – James Scott Memorial Fountain, July 10
Arab and Chaldean Festival – Detroit, July 23-24
Blues, Brews, & BBQ – Westland, August 5-6

Or some great concerts and live performances: Flume, Justin Bieber, Pusha T, Bastille, MGK, Elton John, The Weekend, Doja Cat, The Kid Laroi, Lord Huron, Chris Rock, Twenty-One Pilots, Blondie, Deadmau5, Lil Nas X, & so many more!


Blog post written by April Marvin


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