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This summer, I tried to do something that seems to be a bit crazy on the outside looking in, but in actuality, it worked out well: taking a summer class (macroeconomics at USC) while interning at Microsoft full time. How’d it go: let’s talk about it!

Why Did I Do It?

To start, I did it because I wanted extra space in my schedule. Full disclosure, since I switched my major from mechanical engineering to CSBA, space has been a bit tight and I wanted a really light senior year. Taking this economics class was a good way to free up space senior year so I can have a light load (on track for only 12 units/3 classes!) and have a blast for my last year and semester on campus. Also, I heard this professor was really good from a close friend in the Marshall school of business and my full-tuition scholarship covered the costs. Finally, since we are online, this opportunity won’t be here again *hopefully* so it was the perfect time to take advantage.

How Did It Work?

Working a full-time software engineering internship job means working 8 hours a day 5 days a week (9-5), which means that after 5pm and on the weekends, you can do whatever you want! This gave me the perfect time to do work during the day and class in the evening. I had to work with my professor to complete alternative participation assignments and so that I could take all my quizzes and tests out of sync with the class. It worked perfectly as I would just watch lecture on Tuesdays and Thursdays (or Sundays if I was tired during the week) and do the assessments whenever they were due. By the end of the summer I was going out more and this “schedule” got a little more random but I always got things done and it worked out.

How Did I Do?

Well… I got a B+ in the class and am just about to finish my internship at Microsoft this week with good reviews from my manager so I can say it didn’t go half bad. Would I recommend this to everyone: it depends. I wouldn’t try to take one of my core Viterbi engineering classes at the same time as my engineering internship as that would be too much engineering overload and I find not going to lecture and watching the video to not be as helpful for complex topics. However, if it’s an easier class like a GE, a class for a minor in another school, or even a math class at a community college, it’s doable. Just make sure to be reasonable with your expectations and don’t do it if you really don’t want to. Summer is a time to have fun and enjoy, so if you really just want to stick to one thing, you’re already being productive with your summer so don’t overdo it.

All in all, I’m glad I got through it and am looking forward to that light senior year workload!

Timothy Harrington