Ambitious Summer

These 2017 Summer Session students chose ambitious course loads of 20 credits or more and ended the summer with 4.0 GPAs, or they found love! 

We hope you find some inspiration in their summer stories. 

    Deyna Rossell-Portillo

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    What motivated you to take Summer Session?
    Because I declared my major during my junior year I felt behind of schedule, to catch up I took on summer session courses. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Not only did I reach my academic goals but I also have a new outlook on my abilities as a scholar.

    How has taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals? 
    Summer session treated me extremely well, and I am now graduating earlier than I had anticipated. Because I declared my two majors (Sociology and Psychology) during my junior year I was under the impression that I had no time to waste and so, I took on summer session courses for the first time. I took both sessions (two classes each session) and ultimately I was able to fulfill my senior seminar requirements and obtain my very first 4.0 in college. My summer session success has driven me to take on more challenges before this summer I was satisfied with going to class and having spare time. Now I have a job at the UCSC Arboretum, and I am also a research assistant, which I believe would not have happened if I did not push myself to take on more responsibilities.

    The best part of a UCSC summer? 
    The best part of Santa Cruz in the summer is the availability of everything! You do not realize how active the city gets when there is a massive student population, which limits you as a student. You’re able to catch every bus, gain more attention from your professors, and attain more intimate relationships with your peers. The campus is less populated, and so, you have time to think and admire your surroundings.

    Anything else you'd like to add?
    The beauty of summer in Santa Cruz is underappreciated because summer courses are perceived to be hectic/impossible to handle. In reality, this is far from the truth! Not only are summer courses manageable but they make you feel invincible once fall courses begin.

  • Olivia Pomeroy

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    What motivated you to take Summer Session?
    Taking Summer Session allowed me to take classes that I had a lot of interest in taking but didn’t work with my schedule during the regular academic year. Summer Session has also helped me reach my academic goal of graduating a year early.

    The best part of a UCSC summer? 
    The best part of a Santa Cruz summer was making friends during Summer Session that I could hang out with since a lot of the other students went back to their hometowns during the summer. It’s also nice to be so close to the forest with hiking opportunities as well as the beach.

    Any tips & tricks for future Summer Session students?
    The pace of the classes is faster than usual, so stay on top of work by being an attentive listener in the classroom, engaging in conversation about the material, and dedicating time to doing your work. 

    I highly recommend Summer Session. Despite the classes being longer and going faster, I felt like I learned the material on a deeper level because I could have more discussions with my classmates and teachers about the subject. 

  • Tyler Goshia

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    What motivated you to take Summer Session?
    I am a transfer student coming from a semester system, so I had additional classes I needed to take in order to stay on course for a four-year undergraduate degree.  With graduate applications and scholarships due in the fall and winter, Summer Session was not just a necessity to stay on pace to graduate in 4 years, but also an opportunity to take pressure off my fall quarter so that I could finalize applications and grant proposals.

    How has taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals? 
    Summer Session has not only helped me reach my goal of graduating on-time, but it also gave me an opportunity to receive better help with a lower student to faculty ratio, and a schedule that was open enough to allow me to go to office hours every day. Additionally, the Summer Session faculty and TAs were extremely accommodating and gave 110% of their time to help the class and individuals, even regularly holding meetings on weekends. All summer session classes are at an accelerated pace, but because of that the professors and TAs provided as much help as they can to cover complex subjects as thoroughly as possible. 

    Do you have a favorite 
    Summer Session story
    My favorite Summer Session experience was pulling off a 4.0 even when taking 25 units at an accelerated pace. I was surprised to find out I enjoyed the fast pace because all the classes were so engaging, and I was able to get it done with excellent results.

    The best part of a UCSC summer?
    The best part of the UCSC summer was the feeling of collaboration with others involved in taking classes too, and the feeling of achievement for maximizing the opportunity I was given to take UCSC Summer classes. 

  • Vanessa Sanchez

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    What motivated you to take Summer Session?
    After taking an unexpected leave of absence at the end of my junior year, I decided the only way I would be able to graduate on time was to take Summer Session, and it was the best decision I ever made. I was able to graduate on time and still walk with my class during commencement.

    Do you have a favorite Summer Session story
    Although I took summer session online, I was still able to make connections with other classmates and professors more so then I would in a normal setting. With the smaller class sizes, I was able to communicate with more people via group projects and forums.
    Any tips & tricks for future Summer Session students?
    Make sure you balance school and life; Summer Session, especially the 5-week sessions, is the same amount of coursework but crammed into a smaller time frame. That being said, it is possible to have a great summer and maintain your grades, it just takes a little more organization and dedication.

  • Aishwarya Srivastava

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    How was taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals? 
    Summer session helped me reach my academic goals by simply helping me graduate. In a way it helped me graduate early because I was able to take two courses every five weeks, leading to four courses total, in comparison to three courses over the span of a quarter. I also think it made the experience much more enjoyable as well. Usually there are many classes that we want to take, but do not have the time to take during the regular school year, however, summer session allows that.

    Do you have a favorite Summer Session story
    Since I was coming back after quite some time, my friends had already graduated from UCSC. I had prepared myself to be alone, but I actually ended up becoming great friends with my housemates. It was quite nice because they just needed someone to sublet for the summer and we all ended up becoming pretty close and I really enjoyed their company. We still stay in touch in small ways and that really makes me happy because so many times people want to keep in touch, but it never works out. This time I got to make some new friends that I had a lot in common with and really cherished through my summer session experience. 
    Any tips & tricks for future Summer Session students?
    My biggest tip would be to take fun classes during the summer session and not just classes for your major. It's amazing what you can learn in a short period of time. Even if these classes are for your major, I would highly suggest contacting your professors and TAs whenever you need help. The classes are quite fast paced and it is hard to absorb everything right away, therefore, I would definitely reach out, because that also allows the professor to understand what works for their class and what does not. It is hard not to procrastinate, but I would suggest getting the easier things of the class done early because you will definitely thank yourself later.
    The best part of a UCSC summer? 
    The best part of a UCSC summer is the campus itself. The weather is great. The birds are chirping. The deer are always walking around. The campus is just beautiful and I would highly recommend just breathing it in as much as you can. One thing that you'll always remember about UCSC is the campus.  I think the people also make the campus beautiful. Majority of the time, the people at UCSC are extremely happy to be there. They love what they are learning, they love what they do, and they love who they are at UCSC. 

  • Ernst and Cheryl: A Summer Love Story

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    This is a story of what can happen in UCSC Summer Session, especially in Improvisation (offered this summer!). 

    The very first day of your class, we had an icebreaker game intending to introduce each person to other people in the class quickly. The class was split into two circles, an outer circle and an inner circle. As both circles were spun around and you met a new person from each spin, you would introduce your name and a different element about yourself. Ernst was trying to be goofy with each of his different elements, but when he came across Cheryl, he got nervous and just blurted out "My name is Ernst, and I think you're really cute." Cheryl smiled said "Aww" like one might say to a puppy and replied back saying she thought Ernst was cute as well. Our first day in class started off on the right foot.

    There was one more improv game that stood out before the event that really started our relationship. It was the game where classmates would maintain eye contact, with no words, no body language for roughly half a minute. As soon as the game started, Ernst wanted to be matched up with Cheryl, but she was well on the other side of the room. We slowly started to move down the line and get closer to each other. The exercise ended up stopping right before the two of us got matched! We both cried out "One more round," but no, it was time for the next exercise.

    The night we went to see Bob's extra credit improv performance was the night where our relationship took to the next level. The group we went with enjoyed the show and went out for dinner together. Then Cheryl and Ernst took a walk down to the boardwalk and listened to the ocean waves. As they walked, they talked and shared their lives.

    One of the joys of improv is that it works to break people out of their nervous shells. It encourages people to show a genuine side of themselves. By showing each other our genuine feelings, and seeing the genuine feelings of the other person, a lot of the surface tension was removed. It allowed us to form a much stronger and much more fluid relationship. Now, 5+ years later, we're engaged and still fondly remembering the times we spent together in improv class, as we fondly look forward to the next step in our lives.

    On our five year anniversary, Cheryl and I returned to Santa Cruz and decided we would visit campus where we had first met. Without knowing if the class location or time had changed, we decided to go and take a picture by our old improv class. We were incredibly thrilled to find out the same improv class we took was taking place with the same teacher! We could not believe our luck. :)

    This is us, five years later at the same location on campus!