Whether you're a Frank Sinatra or Sublime fan, everyone knows the classic tale of school being out for the summer and finally getting a chance to relax. As my final "kid summer" comes to a close, my last summer not having a big-kid job, I realized that summer break is not what it used to be when I was younger.
I now work 40 hours a week on campus, and like myself many others are working just as much as I am on top of taking classes. Summers in college is a time to make as much money as possible so you do not end up broke in the middle of the semester or trying to catch up on your class load.
Jessica Clarke painting during her summer art course (and my source of transit to her left)
Plein-air painting is just plain cool
I was riding my bike back from break the other day and noticed the lawns of campus littered with people silently sitting and painting at their respective easels. Being the curious person that I am, I approached this kind woman who explained to me that she was enrolled in a summer course here at Fitchburg State.
The course was a week long adventure taught by Ralph Caouette that explored the aspects of plein-air painting. Plein-air painting, or en plein, means "in the open air" in French. Jessica, the woman I was interrogating, was painting the beautiful clouds in sight and highlighting the shadows with various colors.
Summer classes are great for some, but not for me
Summer classes are not my thing. I learned this the hard way after my freshman year when I attempted taking one online summer course. One. Totally manageable, no stress of other classes with just one, and it was online. I managed to screw it up so bad and took the hint that summer classes and I were not going to get along.
Some people absolutely love taking them though so I always suggest them since it's a way to make your life easier during the school year. I have a lot of respect for people who take four summer classes (even more respect for the daring people that take five or six!) Classes range from the arts to the sciences, from regular lectures to full labs. Anatomy and physiology, nutrition, biology, and chemistry are some of the more popular classes because they are a strong requirement for many majors.
As I said before, summer classes are not my thing. Being on campus all summer showed me how active every department still is and how most faculty do not get a break. Preparations for the fall are in full swing and summer is coming to a close. I am lucky I can shut down my brain for a little bit and only have to work on campus; hopefully I can keep my brain from automatically shutting off next May once classes end.