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Surviving Summer School Part II: Blockbuster Hit, or Bad B-Movie? It all depends

Surviving Summer School Part II: Blockbuster Hit, or Bad B-Movie? It all depends

By Jim Larkin and Jack Powers 

 Anyone who knows anything about Hollywood knows that summer is THE time for movies. It also happens to be time for that odd, sort of “non-school” educational experience that we in the West refer to as summer school. If you’re in summer school, chances are that whether it is a positive or negative experience depends largely on how well your personality preferences mesh with your situation on a day-to-day basis. Will it be the runaway blockbuster hit that invigorates your education, or the bad B-movie that just sucked away 3 months of your life? Let’s find out by examining how type plays into some of the more extraordinary, popcorn-worthy aspects of summer school.

African American schoolgirl raised hand in classThe incredible shrinking class

Smaller summer school class size can be a double-edged sword for both Introverts and Extraverts. For Extraverts, if you’ve got a lot to say in class you won’t have to fight as hard to be heard. On the other hand, be aware that the lack of competitive voices might remove a natural barrier that you need. Raise your hand too many times, and you may get a “know-it-all” reputation (think Hermoine Granger).

For Introverts, the more intimate class opens a door for participation, as raising your hand may not be as intimidating. The flip side of this is that with a smaller class the expectation that you’ll participate may be higher. Most Introverts dislike being put on the spot, so  do your homework, and be prepared with a few questions or comments of your own.

Ghost campus

One of the most striking differences between summer school and a normal semester has nothing to do with the course material or instruction style, yet can have a profound impact on your ability to focus and perform. While nine months out of the year a campus is a social energy hub, during summer it can feel like a ghost town, which can be unnerving or energizing depending on your personality.

For Introverts, who prefer a quieter, more reflective environment, summer school will likely mesh well with your natural style. Extraverts, on the other hand, may experience feelings of isolation. If you’re accustomed to diving into campus culture’s wide assortment of social functions, its important to seek alternate ways to connect with others. Similarly, you may find that the quiet actually makes it difficult to buckle down and study. If so, try heading out to a coffee shop.

Or, it may be a good time to practice flexing your style and sampling the benefits of Introversion. After all, sometimes a preference for Extraversion can make it easy to get pulled away from studies into social activities. If this is the case, the quiet of summer may be what you need — even if it isn’t exactly what you want.

SONY DSCThe deep dive

The immersive summer school environment offers something for both sides of the Sensing/Intuition scale. There may be more time to explore nuance and minutiae that might be glossed over in a normal semester, which might appeal to the Sensing types, who tend to be detail-oriented and focused on the here-and-now.

For big picture-focused Intuitive types, summer school may offer the opportunity to delve more deeply into theoretical constructs, examining how the subject fits into the global scheme. For example, have you ever been frustrated during a math or science class with what seems like a fixation on a single principle devoid of context? Summer school may give you a chance to understand how everything you’re learning fits together, exploring the philosophy and history of the subject.

For Intuitives, summer might be a good time to get hard science classes out of the way. With the information being compressed, it may be easier to recall and connect the dots during finals. However, you’ll still need to flex your type and apply some pretty serious planning, or you may find yourself swimming in detail.

Bored and confusedThe neverending class period

Summer school courses have longer, more frequent classes spanning a shorter time period, so material is much more condensed, which can be both a blessing and a challenge. If you’re an Introvert, a lecture-based environment may fit in well with your personality preferences. In more interactive environments you’ll be operating outside of your natural preferences — it doesn’t mean you can’t do it effectively, but it’s gonna require energy. If you take a group lab you may feel significantly drained after class, so be sure to plan time to recharge your batteries so that you don’t get burned out.

The reverse is true for Extraverts, who may cringe at the idea of spending 2-3 hours listening to someone carry on about a subject. So, try to find out about the instructor — if you hear that they don’t take a lot of student comments, you might want to take another class if you have the choice. If you don’t have a choice, you can mitigate this by becoming as engaged as possible in the subject. Come to class prepared — you may yet have chances to participate if you’re ready with well-researched, insightful comments and questions.


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