What’s a Semester?

Almost all colleges and universities divide their academic years into semesters or quarters, depending on the state or the country you are in. But for someone who has never been exposed to one of these systems, it can be a challenge trying to switch from one to the other. It was unbelievably hard for me!

The quarter system is usually 10 weeks long, plus the finals week. For those who wish to get done with their classes quickly, this is a good system. Class meets twice a week, which means students show up to class only 20 times during the whole term. The term goes by fast and many students favor this because they feel like they don’t have to get stuck with the same subject for a long time or with a professor they didn’t like.

The semester, on the other hand, is much longer; usually 15 weeks and a finals week. But I tell you, it is much more relaxing! The downside of this is that students are limited to the number of courses they can take, which is usually just 10 a year. But, this much I know, semesters give students more time to study and digest, and remember the information. With the quarter system, students almost always feel stressed and even sick during their finals because of the pressure they are exposed to.

I learned all this the hard way when I started taking classes in U.S. I felt that in 10 weeks I was not able to learn much because everything was moving so fast; I had no free time for anything, and I could not procrastinate anymore! (This last one, at least, was good for me.)

Would you change our quarter system to semesters?

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