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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Brooklyn, NY
Genius and Madness in Literature
Summer College 2013
Hi! My name is Hailey, and I am a rising senior at the Institute for Collaborative Education (ICE), in Lower Manhattan. I am a Brooklynite, and as a foodie, Brooklyn has one of the most diverse selections of food to offer. In the eclectic streets of Brooklyn one can find anything and everything to eat, from meat samosas and mango lassies to grits in a cup.

Within my school I participate in a variety of clubs, from ICE’s literary magazine to Project Skittles (ICE’s gay straight alliance). In my spare time I love to bike, go to the beach, dance (with friends or rock it out alone in my room), and write poetry. I am excited to be spending some of my summer at CUSC, studying one of my favorite subjects, literature, in the Genius and Madness in Literature course. I cannot wait to unravel the works of great authors while making new friends. See you in a few weeks!

Check out the pictures from the first week here!


Wow! Where to begin? What's not to love about being a lit geek surrounded by other lit geeks! I am absolutely in love with my course. Professor Schwarz is capital A-mazing! Amongst dissecting what makes a genius a genius and a mad man, a mad man, through our reading of The Unknown Masterpiece by Balzac and The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe, Schwarz also offers support outside of the course work. At the beginning of each morning class Schwarz does a five-minute check-in, where each student is able to share how they are feeling and give a rating of how home sick they are from a scale of 1-10. If anyone is over a three Schwarz sincerely asks if there is anything she can do to help before we move into our passionate discussion and analysis of the text. Could not have asked for a better class!

The papers are fast-paced; each week we have three nights to compose an outline, draft out our essay and revise. However, over a cup of coffee we can all get invaluable critique and advice from out TA, Carl, during his office hours. I am proud to say that I finished by first paper on Friday! I am excited to receive feedback on my first paper and go on to the next one. There is always room for improvement and the only way you can go is up!

Now, if you're wondering if we do anything fun besides reading books, writing papers, and analyzing text, the answer is yes! For most Summer College students your class peers are the ones you become closest with because you spend the majority of your time with them in class. By the end of this week alone, everyone in my literature class of twenty-six has become friends or closely acquainted. On Wednesday night, we took a break from writing our papers, and headed off to the observatory! We saw the moon, a satellite, met the on-deck telescope "Bob" and of course what observatory would be complete without classical music playing in the background?

This weekend we ventured onto the TCAT bus system (It's pretty easy to maneuver-- there's an app for it!), On Friday we headed into town to grab a bite to eat and stop by Urban Outfitters (me in a clothing store can be dangerous). That night we went back to Risley for a movie night of Pride & Prejudice. Saturday morning I slept in (sleep is important!) then a group of us headed out to the Ithaca Farmer's Market for lunch. I highly recommend going, it was worth the trip. Later that night we went Level B, the club that Summer College rented out, so we could get our dance on. Before we knew it it was Sunday, time to settle down with our reading and do the laundry that was put off during the week. Throughout the weekend I also explored the gym nearby and found a new running route by a waterfall. Phew! That was a lot in the first week. Shout out to all of my "adopted" roommates in Risley and Balch Hall, it would not be the same without you guys!

Talk to you guys soon!


A day before I started Summer College my pop told me these would be the fastest three weeks of my life. I didn't believe him, but he couldn't have been more right. This may sound cliché, but where did all the time go? How can we only have five days left until we have to pack up our stuff and leave? After reading Foucault's Madness & Civilization and working through Kant's Critique of Judgment, I am glad to say that I have survived my second essay! In this last week I will enjoy each discussion and every frustrating minute of coming up with a thesis statement because next Saturday will be here before I know it.

We lay low this weekend. I attempted to play pool at the Robert Purcell Community Center (can't say I'm a pro at this), but it was fun to hang and chat with a couple of friends. Enjoyed a burrito, at Viva Taqueria, in town and to top off our weekend dinner we went to Collegetown Bagels for some delicious ice cream.

Back to the Future was going to be projected onto the museum but Mother Nature must not be a fan because it was rained out. However, a couple of us Risleyites made it a movie night with 40-Year-Old Virgin and Finding Nemo (this movie never gets old!). I got some work and reading done at Uris Library and to all of the Harry Potter fans that are reading this, the Andrew D. White Library in Uris looks like it's off the set of Harry Potter.

Waking up to rain on Sunday we decided to head to the theater by the Ithaca Mall to watch Despicable Me 2, and sure enough once we left the movie it was clear blue skies. I was able to go for a nice run around the waterfall near Balch Hall before it was time to settle down with the rest of my reading.

On Monday, we had a light reading, which was nice; it allowed us to venture into Collegetown. We went to the Autumn Leaves Used Book Store and the record store that's in the basement (I got a Tom Jones CD for my mom and a couple books of poetry). I definitely recommend checking this place out if you're into books and music! The rest of the week was devoted to writing our final paper. However, a bunch of us are excited to go into town for dinner on Friday to celebrate the ending of our three weeks here!

Before I leave campus, I just want to say that I know a lot of you who are reading through the blogs right now are debating whether you should try Summer College. Questions like, Am I good enough? Will I be okay in a new place, with new people I have never met before?, may be running through your mind (believe me they were running through mine). My advice is: just do it. Try it out. If you're willing to work and play hard there is no way you can't have a good time here.

See you next week for my last post!


Only two weeks have passed since the end of Summer College, but it feels more like a month. Being back home is nice... but there is not an endless buffet with a self-serve ice cream station in the kitchen nor are there a bunch of friends down the hallway to watch Pride and Prejudice and drool over Mr. Darcy with. However, my Summer College friends and I have maintained our group chat, so we are only a view types away! I look forward to maintaining contact with them throughout the highs and lows of senior year.

On the academic side, Summer College has made the courses that I will take in college feel less intimidating. Instead of a college course being uncharted territory, it is now something that I am not only looking forward to but can grasp and feel prepared to take on. Taking a college course in literature, I have to say, was a treat. You are in an environment filled with people who want to be there and are just as—if not more—passionate about literature than you are.

Missing the friends, the ice cream, and the classes, but I hope you guys have enjoyed the blog as much as I have.

College here I come!