CU senior Charles Ballas, pictured studying in the University Memorial Center on Wednesday, is taking a Maymester course that begins Monday.


    CU senior Charles Ballas, pictured studying in the University Memorial Center on Wednesday, is taking a Maymester course that begins Monday.



As finals week comes to a close and summer break swiftly approaches, most students at the University of Colorado are ready to let off some steam.

But not Charles Ballas. He’s preparing for Monday morning classes.


For more information or to find a course catalog for Maymester 2010, visit colorado.edu/summersession.

Maymester — select courses condensed into a three-week session — begins Monday, leaving participating students without much downtime to recoup from finals or the spring semester.

With three hours of class per day, five days a week, and hours of nightly homework, Ballas said the course will be intense — but he’s hoping it will fly by while he keeps busy.

“It’s only three weeks, so it’s all about survival skills,” Ballas said.

Ballas is using Maymester to subtract time from his college career.

“Between working part-time and juggling 12 hours every semester, I wasn’t able to get enough credits to graduate this May,” Ballas said. “So I’m taking a Maymester class and a summer class during the A session (which begins June 1) so I can graduate in August instead of having to come back for the fall semester.”

About 10 percent of CU’s students are enrolled in Maymester courses this month, which is a fairly consistent registration rate, according to the campus’ Office of Planning, Budget and Analysis.

But it’s not just students who find themselves chaotically rushing to get through finals week and refocus on a new class.

CU English professor Richelle Munkhoff is teaching a Maymester class for the first time this summer and said it’s been a busy month wrapping up her two spring classes and finalizing plans for the summer.

“I’m worried that my stamina may not be able to handle this kind of intense class,” Munkhoff said. “I wonder if the students will be able to keep up with the homework, but I feel like it’s going to be an interesting experience and I’m looking forward to the class.”

Munkhoff has taught summer courses before, but not in the Maymester term. She said it worked out well this year because she has some research to focus on this summer and the shorter course length will give her plenty of time to work on personal projects before the fall.

CU junior Peter Swanson is using the majority of his summer vacation on internships before he begins his senior year. Maymester allows him time to get some extra credits while still gaining valuable internship experience, he said.

“It actually extends your summer break if you’re planning on summer school anyway,” Swanson said. “You don’t get a break right after finals, but then you get most of the summer to do whatever you want versus if you take summer school.”

Other students are less enthusiastic about the lack of a break Maymester affords them — but said it’s easier to keep your focus on school then trying to regain it in the fall.

“It is hard because I don’t get a chance to enjoy summer, but at least I’m still in school mood from finals so I’m more motivated to learn and do the readings,” CU junior Kayla Cook said.

Some students said they prefer to take upper-level classes such as Munkhoff’s during Maymester so they don’t have to juggle difficult courses with their regular semester workload.

“I generally like to take hard classes during Maymester because I can put all my attention into that class,” Cook said. “Also, teachers are more relaxed during the summer so there’s no stress from that.”