Summer sessions provide different environment to student experience

The Reading Room in Linderman Library.

The Reading Room in Linderman Library.

In the heat of summer under the blazing sun, Lehigh’s campus is still lively with students taking classes. This year’s first summer session will begin May 26.

The summer sessions consist of two six-week sessions, and students have the option of participating in one or both sessions. Several courses from many majors are being offered for students. However, according to summer sessions coordinator Theresa Freeman, some courses are more popular than others. The most popular tend to be introductory courses, such as Principles of Economics. She also said the more difficult courses, such as organic chemistry, are also popular. Taking a tougher course over the summer gives students more time to focus on the material, while other courses aren’t in the way.

While mostly consisting of Lehigh students, the summer sessions are also open to non-Lehigh students looking to take a course at Lehigh. High school students, adults not presently attending Lehigh, as well as students who attend other universities, are also allowed to take a variety of summer courses. Freeman says this is a popular option for high school students who want to get ahead on their college credits, or for college students who live nearby and want to take courses while at home for the summer.

Freeman believes that there is a misconception among most students that the summer sessions are only for Lehigh students. She noted that they in fact attract a lot of visiting students.

Freeman also said the sessions provide a good opportunity for high school students to become familiar with Lehigh, in case they decide to enroll here. She says that allowing high school students to take a few courses not only gives them a chance to get ahead with college credit, but also to see if they can see themselves at Lehigh.

Ari Goret, '14, relaxes in front of Richards House on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Richards is a first-year residence hall.

Ari Goret, ’14, relaxes in front of Richards House on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Richards is a first-year residence hall.

“It’s real college coursework on our campus, so it’s a good way to see what it would be like to attend undergrad here,” Freeman said.

The schedule for summer sessions is not the same as the schedule for the regular academic school year, with classes generally being held twice a week for three hours, or four times a week for one hour and 35 minutes. But, according to students who have previously attended summer sessions, it is not only the academics that are different in the summer– the social scene is, too.

Grant Moore, ’17, who attended the sessions last year, said the campus is quieter due to fewer students and a much smaller party scene. The difference, he said, has its pros and cons.

“It’s nice that there are usually fewer students because the classes feel more relaxed and you usually get more attention from the professors,” Moore said. “But fewer students also means it’s harder to meet people and find things to do outside of school work.”

Moore plans to attend the second session of this year’s summer classes, and he says he will spend more time in the library to meet fellow students, as opposed to studying in his room.

For other students, the lack of a social scene is good news, a motivation to study more instead of spending time with friends. Douglas Caristo, ’17, said he is taking summer courses in order to have more time to devote to difficult classes. As a bioengineering major, Caristo said he depends on the summer sessions because that is when he takes some of the most demanding courses in his major.

“Not having as many people around and as many things to do means I study more,” Caristo said. “Sometimes it gets boring and repetitive, but it pays off in the end because I do better than I would during the regular school year.”

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