Although summer break has begun, taking spring or summer courses can allow you to indulge in a personal interest course, and achieve a concurrent certificate or minor helping to advance your academic career
March 20 marked the first day of spring; the weather is becoming warmer and the sun is present for a longer time. For many, this beginning of spring symbolizes a fresh start. However, for university students this change in weather also signifies the end of an academic year.
Although this change is exciting as students can soon enjoy the wonderful weather without school commitment, extending the school year may not be as horrible as it sounds. By taking spring or summer courses, students are actually setting themselves up for various advantages.
Before I go on, I would like to clarify that when I mention prolonging the academic year, I do not mean taking courses such as CHEM 2OA3 (Organic Chemistry I) or STATS 2B03 (Statistical Methods for Science). These courses are usually taken to lighten a student’s courseload during the traditional academic year, or repeated to obtain a higher grade.
Instead, I mean taking courses that you find interesting or may help you achieve a minor or concurrent certificate. I am a strong advocate for summer or spring courses. I believe that each student should voluntarily enroll in one spring or summer course during their academic career. Personally, I took four courses during the non-traditional academic school year during my first year of university.
Although I did not receive a break between my first and second year due to the four courses engulfing my summer, I do not regret spring or summer courses. In fact, I am very excited to enroll this semester once again. I adore the feeling of walking to campus on a hot summer day and attending lectures within the cool buildings. In my opinion, there is no other feeling like studying in the library during the summer; the warm weather heightens the enjoyability of academics.
I tend to find that the academic year can take us away from enjoying our personal interest courses since we have other courses to balance simultaneously. Although university is where our time management skills are repeatedly tested through academics and extra-curricular, that does not mean we can perform adequately 100 per cent of the time. Taking courses over the spring/summer term is a common way to engage in personal interest courses without sacrificing the grades or the content.
Some programs have specific requirements which may make it difficult for students to complete a minor or concurrent certificate. However, the warmer months may allow students to catch up on requirements permitting them to achieve these academic aspects as they are free to take whatever is offered.
I am a student who enjoys planning to navigate the confusing realm of graduation requirements, especially since I would like to complete a minor or concurrent certificate. From experience, the spring or summer semester creates a wonderful opportunity to complete required courses that cannot be completed during the school year.
Some requirements may be reserved for students within their respective departments, and at other times they become full before your course enrollment time opens. In addition, since the summer months entail students participating in various aspects such as co-op, travelling or research opportunities, more spots are open over the summer to enroll in the courses missed during the traditional academic year.
Overall, you may be averse to the idea of extending the school year into the summer. However, the spring or summer term allows for you to indulge in smaller class sizes on a free campus while simultaneously allowing you to focus on both the grades and course material for classes you may not have been able to take otherwise.
Shloka Jetha is a woman who has always been on the move. After growing up in seven countries, the 23-year old has finally settled in Toronto and is pursuing her dream of working with at-risk youth. Part of what appealed to her about the new Professional Addiction Studies program at McMaster Continuing Education is that it’s online, which means she can set her own schedule and study on-the-go when she’s away from home.
But of course the biggest draw is the way Jetha feels the program will complement and expand upon what she learned in her McMaster degree in sociology, as well as what she is currently learning in a Child and Youth Care program at another school. With the goal of someday working in a clinical setting like the Sick Kids Centre for Brain and Mental Health, Jetha believes the more practical information she has about addiction and mental health, the better.
“I’m learning a lot in my current Child and Youth program,” Jetha enthuses, “but for me there is a bit of a knowledge gap that the McMaster Professional Addiction Studies program will help to close. It’s an incredibly complex field, every situation is new, and you need to be able read between the lines and understand the difference between what a troubled kid is saying and what’s actually going on in their life.”
Jetha believes that having the rich background knowledge the Professional Addiction Studies program will provide, and being able to link that information to her work in the field, will help her excel faster. Most importantly, she feels it will make her better and more effective at helping and healing kids in crisis.
“I’m specifically looking forward to gaining more knowledge about pharmacology, but also about other things as it’s difficult to learn on the job,” Jetha says. “I can learn a tremendous amount from the kids I work with, and that’s invaluable experience, but coming to them with a deeper knowledge base will allow me to talk with them about drugs and alcohol in a way I otherwise couldn’t.”
Jetha has been fortunate not to be personally touched by addiction, but has lost friends and people in her community from overdose. She is also familiar with the impact of this complex issue through the volunteer work she has done.
Even though this is an incredibly demanding career path, it’s one Jetha is proud and honoured to walk. She feels the good outweighs the bad and is determined to continue learning and helping as much as she can. The Professional Addiction Studies program at McMaster Continuing Education is uniquely designed to help her achieve that goal.
Applications for Spring term are open until April 29, 2019. Learn more at mcmastercce.ca/addiction-studies-program
Jennifer Bacher / Silhouette Staff
Spring is on its way. How do I know this? It’s not because the birds have started chirping at 6 a.m. or that the days seem longer. It’s not even because the snow is beginning to melt. What marks spring for me, is when the stores debut spring fashion. This year it is going to be pastels, lace, florals and stripes.
Pastels are always popular with the coming of Easter and are even easy to wear right now. Look for tints of jade green and lilac in cardigans and skinny jeans, which are easy to transition and versatile throughout spring. Knitted tops and blazers are perfect for layering during the colder months.
Lace is the perfect feminine fabric to add an elegant sophisticated touch to any colour palate. Look for lace in dresses, accessories and tops in any colour. This year, cream, sky and rose are all favourites for lace. This trend is another piece that can be winter ready. Why not try a lace tank peeking out from under a blazer?
Stripes, a classic, can be used year-round. Stripes can be used to offset an otherwise monochromatic outfit, or to have fun by mixing with other prints. Whether it be horizontal, vertical, wide or thin, anyone can pull off stripes. Try a thick striped skirt with a solid top for a simple look or a navy striped top with red jeans for a nautical look.
As the perennials come out so do the floral prints. Wear the colorful prints with dark pieces now and plan on pairing with other pink and orange hues in a few months. This year’s trend for floral is pairing a bold sweater or cardigan with a crisp collard blouse and chic oxfords.