There is a certain laziness inherent in summer. Long afternoons that must have been made for napping. Warm evenings when tending an outdoor barbecue for hours seems like the norm. And, of course, those endless vacations. Leisure is really what summer is all about.

With most students and instructors gone for the summer -- except for the hard-core summer school adherents -- it seems on the surface a pretty quite time at the Peralta Colleges, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College.

But leisurely it is not. In fact, for staff and administrators, summer is often the busiest time of year as they ramp up for the fall semester, which begins at the Peralta Colleges on August 18. Preparing for the 30,000 students that arrive each fall, our local community colleges find summer the perfect time to spruce up classrooms, fine tune programs and ensure that student services are ready when they return for classes.

And students should be preparing, too. If you are interested in taking a class or two this fall at one of Peralta Colleges, make sure you enroll early to get the classes you need. Many of the most popular courses fill up early, so it's important to apply and enroll online as soon as you can at www.peralta.edu.


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The coming fall semester features some great programs for students of every stripe. Whether you are interested in gaining new vocational or technical skills, just out of high school and looking to get university transfer courses under your belt, or a "lifelong learner," eager to try something new, our local community colleges have the classes you need.

Merritt College is featuring the First Year Experience program this fall. What could be better than a program that allows freshmen to take college preparedness and writing courses in a supportive learning community on campus? Call 510-434-3972 for more information. Interested in learning American Sign Language? Berkeley City College has one of the best ASL programs in the country and will fully immerse you in deaf culture as you learn ASL. For information, telephone 510-981-2872.

One of the fastest growing industries right now is logistics -- the movement of every kind of cargo by ship, plane, rail and truck. And College of Alameda offers the ATLAS program to help you start a rewarding career in the logistics field. Call them at 510-594-1871. If you want to learn the secrets of journalism and using journalistic skills to get your opinions heard, then Laney College's Journalism Department is the place for you this fall. Take the award-winning newspaper production course or newswriting or, for the adventurous, social media for journalists, which demystifies the constantly changing world of social media. Get the scoop at 510-464-3459.

Fifty years and counting: For those of you who may have missed the 50th anniversary events at the Peralta Colleges during the past several weeks, you now have a chance to witness the community celebrations on the web. Voters founded the Peralta Community College District on July 1, 1964, and the commemorations of this milestone in East Bay higher education history have been memorialized on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Just use the hashtag #Peralta50 to see photos and comments about the events. You can also tune into the community colleges' YouTube channel to see videos from the events -- including an inspiring address by state Chancellor Dr. Brice W. Harris — at www.youtube.com/peraltatv. Now back to a not-so-lazy summer after all.

Reach Jeffrey Heyman at jheyman@peralta.edu and follow him on Twitter at @JeffHeyman.