Is summer quarter the forgotten quarter? | The Triangle

Is summer quarter the forgotten quarter?

Photo by Alex Everett | The Triangle

It is that time of year when I find myself scrolling through the sixth page of results on BannerWeb and joining waitlists of other young hopefuls who, like myself, have fallen victim to summer quarter registration. When it comes to course availability, this term is especially vexing. The selection is so sparse that it has become an annual struggle to register for a full course load, and this year is looking just as bleak. 

To make matters worse, most courses only offer one or two sections. Students are playing musical chairs with the available seats from the morning of registration day up until the 5 p.m. drop deadline during week one, with the dream that they will be able to piece together a schedule that is somewhat reasonable and relevant to their studies.

While soon to be obsolete, the quarter system provides the very unique opportunity to take upwards of 20 classes during one academic year. This gives students the impression that they have plenty of time for co-ops, minors, certificates and whatever their ambitious hearts please.

In reality, fall and winter quarters offer an abundance of classes and sections to choose from, but that energy is not sustained through the spring and summer. This causes students to overwhelm themselves during the first two quarters and crash out at the end of the year. The disparity makes it especially difficult for students on a Fall/Winter co-op cycle, who are left scrambling to meet their degree requirements during the malnourished spring and summer quarters. 

The quality of classes during the summer also leaves something to be desired. The number of discussion posts and group projects call into question whether or not a professor is necessary. There is this mutual understanding between the students and teachers that we would all rather be on the beach and while I appreciate the sentiment, it makes me wonder what the purpose of the quarter is if everyone has thrown in the towel.