A Scintillating Summer Semester

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Emma Walls tells us why you should log into onestopadmin.uts.edu.au right now, and sign up (energetically) for subjects during the summer semester.

It’s the second week of January, when my body conjures a resounding sneeze. I panic, cautiously glancing around level five of the UTS library, preparing to receive scathing glances from fellow students. But the only greeting I receive extends from the hardly-audible whirring of a computer a few seats down. Rid of stressed, talkative, and even sleeping individuals, the library feels unfamiliar in the summer semester.

Living on campus, and consequently paying for all 52 weeks of rent, it seemed obvious that I would take advantage of a four-month break. I signed up for a core subject and an elective, both of which seemed to address quite engaging topics.

Whilst studying during the summer evidently means smaller tutorials and lectures, it also means that you're likely to have the lecturer as your tutor too. This is extremely helpful in more ways than one, the main being that they know precisely what occurred in the lecture, as they themselves delivered it. It also makes communication considerably easier, in areas of confusion, extensions or clarifying absences, as they are seemingly in charge of everything.

Studying in the summer means you actually have something to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love free time, but too much free time? No thank you. Classes give my day structure. There’s only so many Netflix shows to watch, before you start to feel dreary and depressed. If you’re someone who can binge watch series after series, functioning on minimal sleep, and somehow continue to maintain a positive attitude and healthy wellbeing, well, good for you.

Looking back on the four months of the 2018 summer break, I feel slightly exhausted, but not completely. Unlike other, partially empty holidays, these ones didn’t feel wasted. Perhaps, with the rigid routine created by class, I was able to undertake more adventures and activities, as I valued my free time more.

I explored the bushland within Sydney’s National Parks, standing amidst the humid environment as birds emitted calls that echoed around me. I trudged to Pancakes on the Rocks with my roommates, and ate inside the odd-smelling restaurant. I regularly travelled to Broadway Shopping Centre, visiting the pet shop's hilariously curious kittens. I explored the terraces that litter the backstreets of Paddington, Woolhara and Bondi. I walked through Barangaroo Reserve on a scorching hot summer day and strolled through Mosman's streets, beautiful purple-coated trees are scattered haphazardly throughout. I discovered a bushland reserve nearby and saw wattle, accompanied by brilliant red bottlebrushes. I encountered a laughing kookaburra too, cackling maniacally from atop a wooden bench. Walking from Balmoral Beach to Taronga Zoo, I stumbled upon secluded beaches and less-trodden paths. I convinced my boyfriend to hike through the Spit Bridge to Manly walk, during which we peered down at scorched Dobroyd Heads, the landscape blistered and blackened. Whilst the burnt aftermath of a fire encased us, we also witnessed patches of vivid green rebirth, sprouting in stark contrast amongst the black.

If that hasn't convinced you, how's this: doing a summer subject may shorten your degree, or at the least, lessen the load toward the end, giving you the opportunity to find a part-time job in your field. Let’s just say I’ve already enrolled for summer semester this year, and I advise you to too.

Emma Walls is a third-year student, currently studying a Bachelor of Communications majoring in Media Arts and Production with Journalism, alongside a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. She enjoys the half-price bakery items at the end-of-day sales from Haymarket Woolworths, devising and designing stop motion pieces, pizza coated with pineapple and hopes to later pursue a career in teaching.