In 1789, in a letter to a French scientist, Benjamin Franklin wrote of the newly established United States and its fancy new-fangled document called the Constitution: “…everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Less than a year later (somewhat ironically just two days after what we now consider tax day in the U.S. [April 15th]) Franklin himself encountered that latter certainty, passing from a combination of illnesses.
Now, I am not nearly the statesman Franklin was; nor am I such a brilliant inventor (kites and I don’t get along so well). However, I’d like to tack one final certainty onto Franklin’s quote; and that is that life is also certain. When I say life I don’t mean, you know, the birds and the bees, I mean the countless everyday, and sometimes not so everyday, things, events, situations, to-dos that keep us busy.
For full time students this is less of a problem; after all, their business of life, so to speak, is school. But what about the many who pursue, or want to pursue, education part-time? Or even a full time student who wants to get a jump on learning? A solution for these busy people exists and it is called the 8-Week Course. Let’s see what it’s all about.
In brief, the five benefits are...
This 2016 Forbes article lays out the benefits of flexible work in a study conducted within a Fortune 500 company: “employees who were placed on a flexibility program were both happier at work and less prone to burnout and psychological stress than their colleagues who were not on the program.”
The same benefits can be ascribed to students who enroll in 8-Week course programs versus than the standard 16-week semester. While it’s true that the course does meet more times per week it still leaves students enough time to handle a job, parenting or both. As well, the flexibility really comes into play when you know the class will be finished sooner rather than later.
There are times to slow down and there are times to speed up. Chances are, if you’re interested in 8-week college courses in the first place, you’re in a hurry. This is another advantage of the 8-week course; if you’re trying to get a simple certificate, earn those last few credits, or simply want quick bursts of intense learning than the length of an 8-week course will appeal.
That way, at the end of your 8-week course, you’re ready to go out and accomplish all your goals, whether that’s starting a business, finding a cybersecurity job, or developing as an artist and painter.
Because an 8-week course meets more times per week or has more reading and requirements to satisfy each week, it’s more intense; you’re squeezing more into less, it’s that simple. That sounds like a bad thing until you realize that the squeezing actually allows you to spend more time with the material per week. Plus, the quick pace of work will keep you moving and grooving, which works for lots of busy students. Because you might be taking just one or two other classes at a time you have the chance to really lean into the subject and coursework.
I touched on this in the last section, but it’s worth going further. The intensiveness of an 8-week class, combined with the fact that you’re likely taking fewer classes overall, allows you to focus on your coursework more thoroughly, immersing yourself in that sweet, sweet brain goo we call learning. In all seriousness that extra focus in-classroom (virtually) allows you to give extra focus out-of-classroom to all that other life stuff.
I know what you’re thinking: ‘you just said 8-week courses were more intense, so what gives?’ Allow me to explain. Yes, the number of assignments per week may be higher or stricter or of more importance (perhaps in weighting toward your final GPA) in an 8-week course, but there will be a smaller number of assignments overall (all down to that shorter 8-weeks) than in a typical semester. Combine that with your other benefits and 8-week courses add up to real opportunities for students.
8-week courses provide students with a fast-paced, immersive learning environment. It’s an opportunity for students who are busy with life stuff to advance educationally and enter or re-enter their workforce with needed certificates or qualifications. Don’t let life get in the way of getting the education you want and deserve.
As Benjamin Franklin would probably know better than most (though how should I know), there are only a few things that are certain in life, besides even death and taxes. And that is that life itself will throw you a few curveballs; it’s best to be ready for them, to be able to accommodate them, and overcome them.