The college I attended did not use a semester system. The calendar year was divided into four quarters and a school year consisted of three quarters. Most (but not all) people went to school in fall, winter, and spring quarters. A typical course load was four courses per quarter. Some very wily people (with lots of money) took classes all four quarters, three courses per quarter. I took five courses nearly all the way through, taking classes September through May, and worked during the summer (in the summer following my sophomore year of college in a quarter year I earned a third as much as my dad, a lawyer, earned in that full year). In addition, I occasionally audited courses in which I had an interest that didn’t extend to considering a major in it.
As an undergraduate I took the three quarter Intro to Econ sequence, the micro course, and a banking course (basically a macro course). That’s just a few credits short of an econ major (that’s a long, sad story I’ll tell another time).
In addition to my formal course work I’ve read books on economics for fun: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, John Maynard Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Ludwig Von Mises’s Human Action, and others. I’ve read chapters of Ricardo, Hayek, and Schumpeter. I’ve never read Das Kapital although I probably should.
Oddly, I’ve also never read any of Milton Friedman’s books. He was a bit after my time.
In all candor I think that too many people’s notions of economics come entirely from reading newspaper columns and blog posts.