Don't Kill Your GPA: Enroll in Online Summer Classes

Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

Don't Kill Your GPA: Enroll in Online Summer Classes

Thumbnail image for online school.jpgTrue story: I got a “C” in college once. I should probably preface this by explaining that for a perfectionist to admit this is like a diehard vegetarian admitting that he/she had a bit too much Tequila last weekend and found him/herself eating a hamburger. It’s disappointing, embarrassing and inherently makes you question how you could have slipped.

Okay, okay so I am being a bit dramatic because I am sure we have all been there and yet most of us probably still managed to get employed despite that ugly “C.” My story, however, is a bit more harrowing as I got a “C” in a class that I didn’t even have to be taking; I am going to chalk this up to college freshman naiveté. Okay here goes.

It was the end of first semester of freshmen year and I realized that I needed a science class to complete my one science requirement at Newhouse. Just one measly science class. Mind you, I was that student in high school who opted to take two AP math classes just so I could drop science senior year so that should effectively convey to you my distaste for all things atom-related. 

So anyways, I consulted with one of my fellow Newhouse friends who suggested that we both take Geology second semester freshmen year. Being the freshman that I was – and being for no valid reason opposed to meeting with any individual whose title started with advisor – I took my peer’s word for it that the Geology class would satisfy my only science requirement towards a major that would never require my knowledge of rocks and sediment flow. Big mistake.

Turns out that for my friend who was majoring in broadcast journalism, a geology class was just fine. But for me, a magazine journalism major, I was supposed to take science… with a lab. Shouldn’t looking at rocks count as lab work?!

In essence, I got what I deserved. I didn’t do my due diligence, found myself in a class where I was slowly getting piled on (you know from all the sediments), and the result was a big fat “C,” a grade that killed freshmen year an almost-perfect GPA. Oh and then there was that little matter of me still having to take a science with a lab class.  

The only option at that point was summer school – a time where I could really devote the hours needed to learning all the wonders of biology, figure out how to correctly use a scalpel, and get a respectable “B” for the course. And after a few arduous weeks spent at the local community college Saturday mornings, I found the moral of the story (aside from never trust a 17-year-old friend) to be that summer classes are actually a wonderful way of tackling that one class that stands in the way of you and your 4.0 GPA.

While I did have the option of taking biology over the summer – a move that proved easier for me as I could really devote my time to studying just one subject – students nowadays are even luckier as they have a myriad of opportunities at their fingertips as all they have to do is whip out their trusty laptop and sign up for online classes. Online classes not only allow students to still enjoy all the benefits of a summer internships, vacations and employment opportunities, but they also allow kids who may struggle in certain subjects to get those core requirements out of the way during a season in which the pace slows significantly and distracters like “Thirsty Thursdays” and “Toga Night” are fewer and farther between.

So, as I reflect on my first few years at college, as yet another summer comes reminding me of how far away freshmen year truly seems, I want to remind those younger than me that it is cool to take online summer classes. Not only will it most likely keep your GPA right on track, or enhance it, but it will give you some peace of mind when school rolls back around – a time in which you have to worry about balancing upper division classes with everyday college rituals.



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