Not spending your winter break on a Euro trip? Looking to fast-track your degree and reduce stress during semester? Why not sign up for a Winter School course. But don’t just take our word for it. We spoke with Uni of Newcastle students who undertook a compressed course and how it worked for them.
Discover a new type of learning
Winter School courses are essentially a compressed version of the regular course. Rather than studying it over a full semester, you fit it into a three week period.
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) student, Indigo Ryan, found this means you need to be “more prepared in advance”.
“It was definitely a lot more fast-paced…and you need to be prepared for four to six hour long sessions, which is something you don’t usually get.”
While this may sound intensive, it gives you the chance to focus in on that one subject, as opposed to juggling it with three other courses. Plus by working to stricter deadlines, this helps you build plenty of useful skills employers’ value.
“I find that during a normal semester it can be hard to get ‘into the flow’ of a particular course, since you might only spend two hours of your whole week learning the new content,” said Bachelor of Communication student Madeleine McDonald.
“With the short course, however, I was learning something new every day. It meant that I remembered what I was being taught because my focus wasn’t torn between four courses.”
Reduce your stress during semester
It’s basic maths really. By doing one (or even two!) Winter School courses, this means -1 course during semester = less study = less stress.
With plenty of courses on offer, Winter School is a great opportunity to complete one of your core courses or get some electives out of the way.
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) student, Elle Lingard, picked up Environmental Law as a compressed course due to the amount of commitments she had on throughout semester.
“Everyone that studies full-time knows the pressure of multiple deadlines looming and the struggle of trying to balance course readings (literally – carrying around textbooks for multiple subjects is like trying to prop up the Leaning Tower of Pisa sometimes). There’s nothing worse than trying to do your assigned reading knowing that you also have readings for three other subjects to do that are equally as important,” she said.
“Having Environmental Law as my principal focus for a month meant I had a healthier work/uni/life balance which had a noticeable impact on my mental health, physical wellbeing and ability to complete the assigned work and assessments to a higher standard.”
Experience a different class environment
As you’ll be seeing your classmates and tutor a lot more frequently than your typical weekly 2 hour tutorial, it allows you to create much stronger bonds. Take the opportunity to get to know your classmates.
Bachelor of Laws student, Sam Cooper, found the close-knit nature of the class made group assignments actually bearable.
“The assessments were almost wholly group work which normally I would abhor. However, easily the most fun and embarrassment I have derived from an assessment was during the filming of the 6 minute mockumentary video assessment,” he explained.
It’s not just the classes which are different, but the whole university environment. Say goodbye to your parking worries.
“There’s so much space, and it’s refreshing not to struggle for a park, wrestle for a study table or worry about standing in a queue for your lunch,” Madeleine said.
Fast-track your degree
Sometimes life gets in the way and you need to cut back your study load. But at the same time, having to go to uni for just one course so you can finish your degree isn’t a heap of fun either.
Bachelor of Teaching (Health and Education) graduate Edward Rodgers, found that by picking up a compressed course, he was able to graduate on time and enter the workforce.
“I thought I’d finished my degree but hadn’t, s#@! myself and enrolled in the summer term at the last second, smashed those ten units out and graduated at the same time as everyone else.”
Put your uni break to good use
‘But I just really want to relax during the holidays’, you say.
Well, undertaking a winter course doesn’t mean you won’t get the opportunity to recuperate for the coming semester. It just means you’ll be giving SOME time to study, so you have more time to relax during the semester.
“It was a more relaxed environment and it meant I still had plenty of time to hit the beach after class or on my days off,” Elle said.
Madeleine also found herself with plenty of spare time while studying a compressed course.
“The course itself only ran classes on 3 days of the week, for 4 hours – so it hardly took up all my time, and made the holidays more rewarding because I was working towards something, rather than Netflixing all day or wishing I had something to do!”
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the University website to find out what Winter Courses you can enrol in. Once you’re in, check out part two on how to nail that compressed course. Happy studying!