Some universities offer the opportunity to study over summer, sometimes referred to as summer semester or trimester 3. This is a great way to fast-track your teaching degree or catch up on subjects so you can get into the classroom sooner.
Summer semesters are usually shorter than semesters 1 and 2 so the study load is spread out over a shorter length of time. This can be tricky to manage especially when you add work and end-of-year events to the mix.
Here are some tips on smashing through summer semester and keeping your study, social life and sanity intact!
1. Plan your time wisely, but be realistic
Write a semester plan by plotting your assessment due dates, work commitments and social plans down into a table.
|||Subject 1||Subject 2||Social||Work|
|Week 4||||||Weekend away||Monday, Tuesday, Friday|
|Week 5||||Assignment due||||Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday|
|Week 6||Assignment due||||Sally’s birthday party||Monday, Tuesday, Friday|
You’ll begin to see when your assignments are due in relation to other personal and work responsibilities. You may need to reprioritise commitments or simply start working on your assessment earlier. But be realistic, will you really feel like working on your assessment if you’re away, or have time if you’re hopping from one end-of-year party to the next?
It’s a good idea to chat to your family and friends and let them know your schedule and how they can support you.
'Create a schedule and stick to it. Ensure you take a mental health break too!'—Alister, preservice teacher.
2. Find your balance
Just because it’s a shorter semester doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the things you enjoy. When you’re planning out your time, make sure you schedule in things you like, even if it means being creative in how you do it. If you like being outdoors, take your study materials and find a shady spot outside. A good weekly plan will help you to find balance.
'Study life, work life, social life and family life, is all one life—the trick is to make sure you get enough of each to find inner peace and balance over the busy summer semester... and a little Christmas cheer'—Helen, final year preservice teacher.
3. Celebrate the little wins
Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Break big tasks into more manageable tasks. Write a to-do list every day and celebrate the small wins.
'Planning is key. Break down your days and don’t forget to reward yourself with breaks and the activities you enjoy, especially when it comes to crunch time in your studies!'—Erin, first year preservice teacher.
4. Stay motivated
Our tips so far will help you to stay motivated throughout the semester, but other things you can do include:
- Remember why you started—visualise the kind of teacher you want to be when you graduate.
- Have a reward system—whether it’s as small as treating yourself to your favourite snack, or taking yourself off to the movies for the rest of the day, having some rewards in place are a positive way to get things done quicker.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique—break your study down into short intervals and give yourself a short break in between.
'Focus on the main motivation for why you want to do teaching to keep on track. My focus is to make a positive impact on young people's lives.'—Heidi, third year preservice teacher.