Ambitious Summer

These 2018 Summer Session students chose ambitious course loads of 15 credits or more and ended the summer with 4.0 GPA, new best friends, and lifelong memories!  

We hope you find some inspiration in their summer stories. 


    Taylor Dinwiddie

  •  Taylor Dinwiddie

    How has taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals? 
    During my third year on this campus, Spring Quarter of 2018, I was offered to be a secondary mentor for UC Santa Cruz's Science Internship Program (SIP). I was eager to accept the role because it allowed me to assist a graduate student with their research and help them teach a group of gifted high school students the core concepts of their projects.

    This paid position allowed me to spend the days that I wasn't working, on Summer courses and encouraged me to pursue a minor in Literature. I had to essentially cram the entire minor into the two distinct summer sessions, so I took four upper-division Literature classes in 10 weeks.

    I'm currently a Computer Science: Computer Game Design major, so exploring a department that's fairly different from engineering exposed me to new experiences and ways of thinking. The three and a half hour classes were daunting at times, but I thoroughly enjoyed diversifying my friend groups and discovering a new portion of the campus, while simultaneously improving my writing and my ability to tell stories.

  • Madeleine Schlieter

  • Madeleine Schlieter

    How has taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals? 
    Summer session helped me get ahead, giving me junior standing as a second year, and knock out some prerequisites making it easier to enroll in classes I need and move further in my majors. After this fall quarter I'll be able to declare, I'm double majoring in intensive psychology and cognitive science, and I have some of the most impacted courses out of the way now. One of the classes even helped me get into a psychology research lab on campus, which is something I really wanted to get involved in, but wasn't quite sure how to get there. I think I want to go to graduate school and summer session helped me accomplish things I need to do to get there. 

    Do you have a favorite Summer Session story
    One of my favorite memories from summer session was probably making one of my closest friends. I went into Summer Session not really having many friends doing it too, so I didn't expect to know many people. On the first day, I was getting my parking pass and he was too, then on the way back to the dorms Blake and I ended up striking up a conversation. I didn't think much of it at the time, but we kept talking and hanging out after that and the rest is history! He became one of my best friends and someone I really like having in my life, that alone was enough for Summer Session to be worth it for me.  


  • Kevin Chu

  • Kevin Chu
    What motivated you to take Summer Session?
    As a psychology major, I took summer session because students who major in psychology already have a hard enough time when it comes to getting the classes they want during the academic year. I wanted to be (santa) cruzin' throughout the school year, so I decided to make an adult decision of getting ahead and making sure I had more than enough time to graduate. It all proved to be super beneficial and I now have all of my classes lined up in order to graduate on time!

    Do you have a favorite Summer Session story
    This one time after lab, it was super late and night and I saw a family of seven raccoons crawl out of the sewer! There were 5 little baby raccoons following their parents and I think it was so cool that because of the reduced student population, the raccoons felt comfortable enough to have a little family vacation on the hill of College 10.

    Any tips & tricks?
    Future Summer Session Students: A majority of students always use the summer in order to benefit themselves and have more personal growth. Summer school is a great way to discipline yourself and get started on building a foundation for a better future!

  • Grace Cepe

  • Grace Cepe
    Any tips & tricks? 

    Recipe for success: (1) Just show up; (2) Take care of yourself; (3) Love what you’re studying. 

    (1) Just show up: 50% of the battle is won by just showing up. But, if you’re really struggling with the course load, communicate with your instructors and they’ll do their best to accommodate. They want you to succeed. 

    (2) Take care of yourself: I coped with stress by hanging out with my friends, hiking, meditating, yoga, and binging on Jane the Virgin. I took breaks when I needed it because burn out is difficult to recuperate from. 

    (3) Love what you’re studying: I absolutely adore psychology. I want to learn everything I can about psychology, so I’m taking advantage of UCSC by taking as many courses as I can. Learning is so much fun to me! 


  • Devon Evanovich

  • Devon Evanovich
    How was taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals? 
    In my senior year I fell in love with the History department at UCSC and was inspired to complete the major. There are great course offerings for History in the summer and I ended up taking very interesting courses that I would of otherwise not had the time in my schedule to complete. 

    I am an MCD Biology and History double major and with my normal school year filled with science classes I needed to take summer classes in order to fulfill the requirements for my History major.


  • Madilynn Hintz

  • Madilynn HintzWhat motivated you to take Summer Session?
    For me, Summer Session was a spur of the moment commitment. Since my rent contract was valid through August, I decided to stay and enroll in Summer Session. Taking classes over the summer was a very appealing opportunity as I could check off major requirements in the half the time in comparison to the regular quarter schedule.

  • Natalie Miller

  •  Natalie Miller

    How was taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals? 
    Summer Session helped contribute to my goal of graduating early (within three years). I took two classes over summer that were the best classes I have ever taken - Psychology of Trauma and the Survey of Rap and Hip Hop. The classes are smaller so they are more personal and I met so many good friends just over the summer. 

    Did you take advantage of living in Santa Cruz over the summer?
    Totally, went to the beach all of the time. and local cafes and coffee shops- changing up the scene is a good tactic to studying. Reading on the beach to me is much better than in a classroom! 


  • Jihong Min

  • Jihong Min
    What motivated you to take Summer Session?
    University has been all sorts of ups and downs for me. From enrolling, initially, with a STEM related major to ending up declaring two Arts majors instead, I have had trouble finding a way to complete my education on time. In my mind, I had two options. I start taking 4-5 classes per quarter OR I take a large portion of classes during Summer Session. Summer Sessions is what I ended up choosing, and I can say with full certainty that it has lessened the load.
    How has taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals? 
    Taking summer session classes will not only give me the ability to graduate on time, but it will also give me the leniency to enroll in other classes that I would not have had time to in the first place. I can explore classes not in my major/field, something that I have been very interested in since the start.

    Any tips & tricks? 
    My recipe for success is generic, don’t procrastinate. It’s that simple. Five weeks is a lot shorter than you think. Especially if you consider the fact that a weeks worth of material is crammed into a day. Don’t let your work bury you, there’s a lot of time to play and relax afterward.

    Final thoughts?
    I realize my statement above may dissuade some individuals from taking Summer Session, but here are some good things about Summer Session.

    1) Classes are small. If you ever wanted to take a lecture class as a discussion, this might interest you.

    2) There’s a stronger feeling of camaraderie. Classes during the regular school year usually feel too big to interact with everyone. Classes being smaller makes it easier to interact with the rest of the class.

    3)  If it is a discussion class, you can go further in depth than a regular class might. A large majority of the discussions I happened to be in over summer session really made me think.

    4) You still have a summer break. Might be 3 weeks, but at least you still have one.


  • Ke Xu

  •  Ke Xu

    How has taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals? 
    It helped fulfill General Education requirements and saved much time for graduation. This summer, I took an online course (Econ-10A), this is my first time to take an online class. I feel it is excellent and effective. I do not need to take time on traffic. Also all the notes and related material I could find online, which is good for reviewing. I think the online course is my favorite type.


  • Sarah Fujii

  • Sarah FujiiHow has taking Summer Session helped you reach your academic goals?
    Taking summer session allowed me to keep riding the momentum of the regular school year and knock out the last of the requirements I needed to graduate. I think one of the best things about summer session is having smaller classes. That means having a more personal learning experience with your lecturer. Shouts out to Ben Storm, Megan McNamara, Sarah Harsey, and Ike Minton! Genuinely some of the best instructors I had at the university. I'm grateful that I got to experience their teachings in a closer environment and make meaningful personal connections.