Democracy and Its Discontents
Summer College 2007
Hi! My name is Katie. I just finished my junior year of high school. My first semester was spent in my hometown of Wells, Maine and my second semester was spent in Washington, D.C. as a United States Senate Page. As a page I attended school early in the morning then reported to work at the Senate. Watching debates and votes take place on very controversial issues such as minimum wage, the national budget and immigration were remarkable. At Cornell Summer College I will be studying Law and Politics in the course Democracy and Its Discontents. I am so excited to start Cornell and meet many new faces. Our democratic government has always fascinated me and I am excited to learn more about our its evolution. I play three sports at home: field hockey, indoor track and softball. Also I am an active member in Student Council and of Maine Youth Voices, an organization against teen drinking. I am so looking forward to this summer and can't wait to meet everyone!!
The next day Professor Salvatore prepares and delivers a lecture that provides context to our readings and promotes a deeper understanding of the key concepts. These lectures range from discussing political movements to historical dissenters within our government. With his upbeat personality, Professor Salvatore is able to help me and my classmates make connections between the reading and what was happening in society at that point in time. I have found all of his lectures to be fascinating. I am still amazed at the amount of charisma he has at 8:30 in the morning! I am not sure I could do it! After the lecture, we break out into smaller sections where we discuss the night's prior reading with our teaching assistant. These class discussions are another opportunity to voice our opinions and learn new ideas and thoughts from one and other.
Even within the time span of a week this class has given me an opportunity to look at the history of our democracy in a whole new light. For instance, I had never really learned much about the Chicago Teamster strike until we read an excerpt about it for homework. I was fascinated to learn how these men and other workers of the time took their cause to extreme measures to fight for what they though was right. This is just one example of dissenters who made an effort to change, in this case, working conditions and wages. What I have learned so far has given me new perspective on our American democratic history. And though I have been learning so much I have found the workload to be very appropriate.
Aside from academics, I have met so many interesting people here at Cornell already! Everyone seems nice and willing to help you, if needed. I found myself at Collegetown Bagels, a local student hangout, this weekend and walking around the Ithaca Commons. The streets are filled with specialty shops and restaurants, which makes Ithaca and Cornell such a extraordinary little community. I have truly enjoyed my time here at Cornell so far and I am excited for the next two weeks.