James Gardner '13

For James, Summer Session offered a special opportunity to get to know his professors on a personal level that allowed for a new level of freedom of expression in the classroom, and an ability to share what he really felt about the material. “Normally professors get to know us through our work, through our papers, but here professors got to know us on more of a personal, informal basis. They got to know the person behind the paper before they actually got the paper.”

His decision to take Summer Session courses was in preparation for a heavier academic load during his next three years. “I wanted to get a head start on learning in some particular academic departments, specifically Sociology and Government, because I’d like to earn the International Certificate. By taking the introductory courses in those departments during the summer, I have the freedom to take the upper level courses required for the certificate during the school year.”

The intensive schedule, James found, worked in his favor. “We had a journal we had to write in every day. I was not able to slack off on readings and really had to focus. There was no breath in between each thought and theory…the professor hit them, connected them to one another and kept moving on. It was good—I didn’t have time to forget. Everything stayed in my mind all the time. I can tell you that I don’t remember what I learned on my first day of this semester, but I still remember so many of the theories we studied this summer!”

Summer Session is a different experience from the traditional academic year. For one of James’ courses, “we met on the porch of Alpha Delt.  We got this unique intellectual experience. It was like going back to the Classical Greek days when the philosopher would sit on the ground surrounded by his students.”

James also finds that he looks back fondly on the Summer Session experience, and even misses the house he lived in for the summer. “Every time I walk by that house now, I honestly get a little homesick!"