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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


New York City
Design Immersion
Genius and Madness in Literature
Summer College 2013
Hi, I'm Alex, a rising senior at York Prep in New York City. I will be enrolled in Design Immersion my first three weeks; Genius & Madness in Literature during my second three weeks. I'm not sure what my concentrations will be at university, but I do love design and I live for literature. How can you not take a course titled: Genius and Madness?

At York, I am in the Scholars Program, take Honors classes, am a member of the Headmasters List and writing club. I am fluent in English, Spanish, and Greek. My passion is music. I play piano/keyboard, write and compose my own music/songs. I am a beekeeper at my school—yes in Midtown Manhattan. I look forward to my six weeks at Cornell with great anticipation. York Prep is sending six students this summer; I look forward to my time with them and making new friends.


Hello again. I'm pleased to say that my first week at CUSC has passed—not without rigor—but certainly far quicker than I would've ever expected. And although it has taken time to adjust to dorm life (no A/C, laundry, etc.), after eight days time, I'm sweating less. I figure I'm finally settling in.

My course, Design Generation[s], is an eye-opening immersion into an ineffably diverse and vast universe of design. From 9 to 5 every weekday, our class is met with a wealth of knowledge and design practice in the form of lectures, projects, design critiques, exercises, and other disciplines of instruction and execution. The remarkable success of this course, needless to say, is traced to our wonderful instructor Rhonda Gilmore. Rhonda's brilliant deportment, combined with her effective teaching styles, keeps our class with bated breath, instilling a feeling of visceral excitement, and inspiring a genuine interest in what comes next. It would be in bad taste, however, not to give mention to our other teacher, Pete St. John, who brings a cool, straightforward perspective to the room, a skill set in rapid sketching, along with invaluable insight from his end of the professional spectrum; of course, our teaching assistant Luna, deserves recognition here as well, for her design experience and dedication to our summer class has provided us with yet another priceless executive perspective. While we may be kept working in-studio past sundown, our class' ethic and camaraderie is outstanding to say the least. Supportive, polite, and very funny, I don't think I could've asked for better peers.

Work aside, I find myself most often amongst friends, and have come to be almost synonymous with the portable speakers that almost always grace my right hand. I am always here and there, on campus and off, and am looking forward to what comes next.


First of all, I want to take this time to acknowledge all of my classmates from my now completed Design Generation[s] course. You guys (and girls), were one of the biggest factors in making design one of the best academic courses that I've ever taken. Seriously. I was proud to be amongst you, and remain honored. While I personally may never see the likes of a career in product design, I will continue to be a champion of the discipline, much to the credit of my time here. To those not in the loop, I assure you: the future of design is in incredible hands.

Now, with that experience sadly behind me, I turn with great alacrity toward literature. Ever popular in my life, literature has been a staple in my academic diet from Potter, to the Bard; the Bible to Cortazar. I recall mentioning how difficult it would be for my new instructor to compete with the caliber of teaching that I experienced in my prior session, but it appears as if my new instructor, Professor Schwarz is most capable of pulling off the impossible.

And lastly, I still have my speakers, I still meander around campus with them, and I still don't bite. Three weeks here will hit you fast, be sure to blink once and a while (I don't want your eyes to dry out), but do so too often, and you could miss it.


Lamentably, Cornell's Summer College finally swung to a close for me not very long ago. It is astounding how much has elapsed over the past six weeks, and yet, it feels as if I just arrived yesterday. In earnest, Summer College has forever made a profound impact on my life, in both academic and social theaters.

My literature class was unparalleled, as I treaded familiar literary ground, all the while being introduced to the more obscure. Spending each morning with our beloved Professor Schwarz, was in and of itself a true blessing. Professor Schwarz possessed a brilliant insight and understanding of the texts that she worked us through. What's more, Professor Schwarz's "lectures" were never quite "lectures" in a traditional sense, always open to student input, discussion, and question: they were, in essence, a platform geared toward accommodating the higher meaning of a text, and thereby allowing us to reap the overarching significance intended by the author. Our TA Carl, serving as the perennial "devil's advocate" to our hypotheses, asking "can you elaborate on that?," and polishing off our thoughts into concise, insightful papers.

To all of those who I did not get a chance to say goodbye to: consider this my parting word, know that I will miss all of you, and hope to connect with you all at some point in the future.

Best, Alex