“I thought it
was going to be weird and lonely and boring. And, well, it was just awesome.”
There are all kinds of reasons to stay in the summer. For Alma, a theater major, being at Wesleyan means having a great major (theater), that provides certain opportunities, but also playing music, performing in a variety of projects, becoming a labor activist, and having a relationship with Middletown. So it’s not surprising that Alma needed a way to accomplish her Gen Ed requirements outside of Fall and Spring semesters. She sought a way to do so that would allow her to enjoy unfamiliar subject material, when she wasn't also memorizing monologues and slogging through a thousand pages of reading a week. Alma was also intrigued by the prospect of being a Middletown resident, and cultivating relationships with local businesses and organizations.
“Summer Session seemed like the perfect opportunity to be able to fulfill my gen eds and spend more time on writing. The best circumstances for me to do science are when I’m not doing much else. And, writing is better for me when I can get out of class, and have 5 hours where I can just write till my next class. That’s just not possible during the school year - there are just too many campus activities.
It was great to live off-campus and have a real relationship with Middletown, and to experience Wesleyan in a less manic way. There were fewer people, so I felt like I could actually get to hang out with the people that were around. It sounds strange, but it was more relaxed – the classroom experience is concentrated, but the lifestyle is more relaxed.
[The professors] were so much more available. I took classes with Professors Anne Green and Andrea Robert and they are both the warmest and most lovely people… I already had a pretty good relationship with Anne Greene, but I felt like I could go to her office and chat with her in ways that I couldn’t during the school year. And, Andrea Roberts (chemistry) – who I would never normally have a class with – is one of the loveliest people I have ever met and I was able to actually be a student of hers… she even came to one of my gigs at the end of the summer – and I hadn’t even told her about it! I feel like even if I never see her again, she will always be supportive.
My first off-campus gig was at the very end of Summer Session at Javapalooza at the end of June. One of my friends from Wesleyan works there and put up a Facebook post on Summer at Wes. Aside: the Facebook page was the best – you knew what was going on and where – socially it was a lot better and easier to find people. She told me that they were looking for people to play, so I went down, and … that’s how it started. I play at Javapalooza a lot – I have a show coming up this weekend, actually.. Last year on campus I played only at Open Mics. … the music scene on campus is male–dominated and it’s hard to feel welcome. It’s a lot easier for me to ask a business owner downtown. Now I play out pretty often.
As a student labor activist, it was really good to be here in the summer, working with the janitors on campus through USLAC, and it was just good to be eyes and ears on the ground, cultivating relationships, and participating in projects that are ongoing that aren’t related to academics. Whether that’s working with different parts of the labor sector or working with the North End Action Team or Buttonwood – that kind of continuity for the organization is important and doesn’t happen otherwise."