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The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

A Break Later or Now?

Students explain what they’ve gained through the ups and downs of summer school
While summer school can be stressful because of the heavy load at times, Bib-lit students Kailin Xuan (‘26) and Abigail Wei (‘26) find that working with friends always makes the work more enjoyable.

Would you rather be listening to a lecture inside of a classroom while summer break is passing, the beach just minutes away…or walking to class to take a test while all of your friends go to the Taco Stand during their free period? Whether it be classes that are required such as Health and Biblical-Literature or optional classes like Honors Bio prep, summer school can be extremely helpful for the future, but the workload is heavy and takes up a lot of time. This leaves us with one question: is summer school worth it? 

Summer school is a semester fit into three weeks, meaning four hours a day on one subject. Although required classes like bib-lit can free up a student’s schedule for the upcoming year, Sydney Mafong (‘26), who took bib-lit this summer, explained that the material moves extremely fast and takes up a lot of time during the summer. She said, “After taking health last summer, I was shocked at how different bib-lit was. Every day, there was a heavy load of information.” Because each day of summer school counts as a week of regular school, the homework load for the class is much more than what it would be during the school year. Kailin Xuan (‘26), who also took bib-lit, explained, “It was generally more difficult to concentrate and stay motivated, simply because the lectures were longer and the subject wasn’t as engaging to me.” 

But while these classes move fast and have a heavy load of homework every day, Kailin explained that summer school made the class pass by faster. Jerry Huber (‘24), who has taken summer school 4 times, said, “I think summer school classes generally end up being easier than if you were to take them during the school year, mainly because the teachers grade less harshly since you only have a night or a weekend to finish a project or study for a test.”  He also explained that because of the four-hour class, teachers tend to give more class time to work on projects or study for tests. Nirvana Shiwmangal (‘25), who took the optional Honors Biology prep class this summer, added, “you can finish a semester-long class in 3-4 weeks and save yourself from taking up a class period that could be used as a free period to study.” 

Although you can save time during the school year, summer school brings up scheduling challenges during the summer. “I find it a bit tough to balance my time because there are so many things I want to be involved in, and it is hard to realize that there is only so much time in a day,” Nirvana said. Kailin added, “Because of the time the class took, it was definitely more challenging to have adequate time to complete other activities.” 

Along with scheduling challenges, Nirvana explained that with these fast-paced classes, you have to be willing to keep yourself focused and not drown in work, and it can be extremely difficult to stay focused in summer school because the environment is not the same. 

But Kailin and Jerry explained the positive outlooks of these situations.”Scheduling difficulties are annoying, but it’s just for part of summer, so after finishing this class, I definitely still had time to pursue my interests,” Kailin explained. Jerry added,  “If something that you want to do is only offered at one time during the summer like a camp or going away to a college for a few weeks, chances are you can still take a summer school course because it has multiple sections.” 

Within the three weeks, students found strategies to keep themselves focused during the long classes. Nirvana said that it is important that you have some sort of routine; using a platform like Google Calendar or Tweek to plan out your week can be extremely helpful. “Think of it as creating your own schedule the same way Ms. Murabayashi makes the academic schedule,” she advised. “If you are feeling out of it, remember that by taking these classes now, you are saving yourself from 10 times more stress during the school year.”

Jerry had a similar mindset, and explained, “The faster I finish my work or the more productive I am during class, the more time I can spend relaxing and doing other things in my free time.” He also mentioned that doing work with your friends could really speed up the process. Kailin agreed, and said being with many other people who were taking summer classes really helped her. “We would often study together, communicate with each other, and just give each other emotional support.” 

Despite the downsides of summer school, all four students feel that the positives outweigh the negatives. “Another benefit is that the classes are a bit bigger so it is more likely that your friends will be in your class,” Jerry said. Kailin agreed, and said “taking summer school was worth it for me, considering it will help free up my schedule for the next year for the classes I want to take and the classes that I am more interested in.” 

Nirvana agreed that summer classes are very beneficial, but explained that “knowing when and when not to take a summer class is also very important.” She continued that you have to consider what grade you are going into and how you function as a student. For example, she advised incoming freshmen to take health during the summer: not only can it fulfill the credit, but it can be an opportunity to meet new friends and establish connections for the coming year. “Be smart with summer classes and think about how they can help you farther down the line,” she said. Sydney agreed, and added that it is important to look at how your schedule will change during the school year before you make your decision on whether or not to take the course during the summer. 

Nirvana explained, “I think the Bio Prep class I took was one hundred percent worth the effort because it allows you to find gaps in your understanding of chemistry, which is the foundation of biology.” She added that as topics build on each other, it is easy to find yourself trying to play a game of catch-up during the busy school year, so it is important to consistently review the content.  To any sophomores looking to take the Honors Biology prep class next summer, Nirvana said, “Treat the class as though it were for credit and establish a routine…really try to understand what is going on. Ask questions, because this is where you have the opportunity to devote more time to things that may seem confusing.”

Jerry concluded, “If the course is a requirement and is offered over the summer, taking it over the summer is a better option than during the school year.” While summer classes go by much faster, Jerry said to make sure that you are setting yourself up for the next school year, so don’t take five summer school courses and try to overload yourself. 

“As long as you put in the effort, you will be fine,” Kailin said. “And even when you don’t feel like studying and doing more school-related stuff during the summer, remember that it’s temporary and maintain a positive mindset!” Jerry added, “just have fun in summer classes. They are not meant to try and overwhelm you and suck the fun out of summer break!” 

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About the Contributor
Melanie Yau
Melanie Yau, Assistant Graphics Editor
Melanie is a sophomore and assistant graphics editor for The Tower! This is her second year on staff, and along with writing, she enjoys drawing, dancing, and playing and listening to music. She will never say no to “boba and shopping,” even if it means studying until 12:00 am and being dead tired the next day. In her free time, she loves going on bike rides with her family, walking her two dogs, and baking with her sister. She is so excited for the upcoming year! 

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