Summer school. Two words that most of us never want to see together in a sentence.

You finally managed to make it through exam season alive, and there’s no way you want to do it over again – especially when it’s warm outside. But, hey, there’s no escape: you have summer school.

As a university student, and again as a student in college, I’ve done a lot of summer school. There are so many thoughts and emotions that race through your mind when you take extra classes over the summer, and most of the time they are feelings of dread and jealousy.

However, looking back I realized that I had some of the best postsecondary experiences (and classes) in summer school. There are more chances to interact with the teachers because of the smaller class, and there are fewer people in line at the campus coffee shop.

Here are the five feelings (and five stages of grief) you go through when you’re stuck in school over the summer:

“Why did I sign up for this again?”

Comedy actor Anthony Anderson lies on a couch and sobs

Summer school may have been a great idea way back in January, but now that it’s summer, and everyone else has time off, you’re dreading your decision. Even when the third semester is part of your program and not your choice, you ask yourself why you signed on in the first place.

One of the worst feelings is realizing that after so many exams and deadlines you’ll have to do it all over again.

Your friends are going out but you have to stay home and study

Krystal Nielson, a contestant on reality TV show The Bachelor, looks left out at the bowling alley

Your friends may be going away on vacation, but you’re at school getting a tan from the fluorescent lights. You’re also living vicariously through their Instagram stories. Early morning brunch? Pina Coladas in Cuba? More like Saturday morning study session.

“This isn’t so bad. Really!”

Cartoon dog sitting in a room on fire looking unfazed and content in front of a cup of coffee

Summer school doesn’t have to be so bad. Even if you’re at school every day, there’s just something different about summer school. The sun is out, and everyone is a little more laid back. Being in class during the summer is easier when you leave knowing that warm weather is waiting for you outside. You can also take your books and study in the sunshine!

The weather can make us feel happier, and that can have a direct impact on our work. If you have a little free time between classes, you can take a walk by the lake at the Lakeshore campus, or hang out at the arboretum by the North and Guelph-Humber campuses. These spots will make you feel like you’re on mini vacation between classes.

There are actually lots of good things about summer school

Characters Rachel and Phoebe on TV show Friends jump up and down and clap their hands in excitement

Taking school over the summer means you get to finish school earlier than everyone else. Sure, you have to deal with assignments in July, but you’ll have more time to focus on other things after summer school.

Going to school over the summer also means there will be fewer people on campus. Classes are smaller, which lets you make more friends, and get to know the teacher on a personal basis. However, the best thing is probably the lack of crowds at the cafeteria.

Acing this whole adult thing

Character Tom Haverford on TV show Parks and Recreation sits at his office desk and brushes his shoulder while looking into the camera

Unless you get a job as a teacher, chances are you’ll be working all year long after school. Whether you get a part-time job, enroll in extra classes, or both, college and university are the perfect time to get used to that feeling of having a busy schedule during the summer. Think of it as a trial of adulthood.

Summer school will also help you stay motivated in case you go back to classes in September or find your first full-time job.

Don’t have summer school, but still want to stay productive? Check out our ideas on things you can do to stay motivated in the GTA!

You can also catch up on your reading with our 10 books you should read this summer.