Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Summer Session Summary

As the Summer II session begins to wrap up, an urge to write non-academically has been pushing at me. Writing for this blog in particular has been a source of joy, so I figured I should get back into it! In this post, I’ll take some time to detail both of the summer classes I took during Simmons’ two summer terms, as well as how I experienced academic burnout. 

I took one class for each summer session this year, which totaled out to five credits. The first class was CHL 424C (Series Fiction – Middle Grade) and it took place from May 22nd to June 28th. This was a rigorous two credit course where we explored five genres of books that make up the foundation of the middle grade category. Not to be confused with middle school, middle grade books are written for a third to sixth grade audience. I enjoyed the depth that our discussion went into each week, but finding time to read an entire series in seven days was a challenge. When it came to the high expectations that the professor had for all of us in the class, I felt that I had to prioritize our theoretical readings over the series sometimes! This was the first time that I had this professor in a class, and observing her method of group facilitation taught me a lot about how I’d like to lead classes for the school library I will work at upon graduation. Overall, I thought this was a great way to keep myself engaged in academia and I feel a lot closer to the other students in the Children’s Literature program because of it. 

The second summer class is one I am currently taking; it runs from July 11th to August 27th. It is LIS 481 (Collections and Materials for Children). I elected to take this class over the summer to graduate on time, but it is serendipitous that the class is running this term for another reason. I recently accepted a position as a Library Utility Aide at an elementary school in Somerville, so I should be reading more children’s books to serve my future students well! That’s how this class comes in especially handy; we have had two small group book discussions all ready, and we have one more left. Many of the people in this class are educators or work in a children’s room at a public library, so it has been fantastic to talk about books with them. I am picking up many bits of knowledge that will be practical for me to know very soon. It is run by one of my favorite professors, who I have gotten to know on a more personal level since starting at Simmons in Fall 2022. Like the Series Fiction course, this one is rigorous, but in a very different way. I am incredibly grateful for all of the information I am absorbing! 

Finally, I have to address the pressures of taking five credits during such condensed school terms. Taking two credits in five weeks and three credits in seven weeks may not sound like much to someone who is used to undergraduate credit structures. However, I may have overcommitted myself by not giving myself a summer vacation! It feels as though I have had little time to decompress from this past spring, and August is creeping closer to its end as I type this. Taking this many credits during the summer was a choice I made lightly, but I am feeling the consequences now. For anyone who is considering summer classes, do not make the decision like I did! Talk to your advisor about how much work will be expected from you for each class. If you can, find previous students who have taken summer classes and ask them about their experiences. Assess how the other things on your plate will be affected by taking graduate-level coursework. And most importantly, make sure you’re still finding time for summer fun, no matter if you take classes or not! See you back on campus very soon Sharks!