Which is the better co-op cycle to have, fall-winter or spring-summer? It’s a question that I had not considered until a freshman consulted me on the matter recently, and the answer I gave them was fall-winter.
Now, I will admit, my co-op cycle was fall-winter, so if you would like to dismiss everything I have to say for the rest of this article as untrustworthy and biased, go ahead. While I am a firm believer that it is impossible to be entirely objective, I will say that I always try to be as fair as I can and aware of my own personal biases when writing these articles.
That said, the fall-winter co-op cycle has always been the better cycle to me because I find summer quarter at Drexel to be the most enjoyable. During the summer, campus is so quiet and empty. With the seniors graduating and heading off to start work or graduate school and most of the freshman going home for their one summer break, campus is barren.
In addition to the reduced number of people on the campus, there are also fewer classes offered. This is a bad thing if you need to take a certain class that isn’t offered during the summer, but I’ve noticed that the summer quarter is always the one when professors seem to be the most relaxed in terms of how they conduct their classes.
Perhaps I’ve just gotten lucky with the specific classes that I’ve taken during the summer quarter, but I can definitely say that the general level of stress is less intense during that particular quarter, and it isn’t because I magically step up my studying game.
In addition to classes being less difficult, the weather is also very friendly to those of us who like to venture outdoors frequently. Yes, there are many nasty and annoying insects that will bug you, but I will take the heat and insects after enduring a cold and harsh winter that was unnecessarily long.
Of course, the most important thing is the type of job you have for your co-op. If it is a job that is located outside of the city, and you have to commute a considerable distance in order to get there, then you’re probably not going to want to have that co-op during the winter. I think it is a well-known fact that many people do not prefer to be outside during the winter. When you’re looking at jobs to apply to, definitely don’t forget to take into consideration the commute and kind of weather that you will have to deal with.
The spring-summer cycle definitely has some things going for it, but I have always felt that the influx of freshman mixed with the frigid temperatures, make fall and winter quarter the worst quarters to be in classes. I have nothing against freshman, I love them, it’s just that I dislike the overcrowded nature of the main campus that comes with the arrival of all the freshman students, but that is in no way their fault. That is a problem specific to me.
So, a quick recap. If you want to take potentially easier classes during summer quarter, enjoy an almost empty campus and have more time to enjoy the nice weather, then go for the fall-winter co-op cycle like I did. But, if you don’t mind the crowded campus or the general nature of fall-winter quarters, do a spring-summer cycle.
To be honest, they both have more pros and cons than the few ones I have given here. At the end of the day, you will still have to spend basically the same number of days in classes and the same number of months on co-op, so it’s just personal preference.