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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Millburn, NJ
Democracy and Its Discontents
Freedom and Justice
Summer College 2007
Hi, my name is Brian. I'm 16 and I am almost done with my junior year at Millburn High School in Millburn, NJ. This summer I will be taking two three-week courses, "Freedom and Justice" and "Democracy and Its Discontents." I have always been interested government and law and look forward to learning more about them in these classes. I'm an avid tennis player and just finished a very good season of high school tennis. During the winter, I love to ski and snowboard as much as I can. Spending time with my friends on the weekends helps me relieve stress from school and I always look forward to it. This summer at Cornell, I look forward to meeting new people and experiencing what life at college will be like. I can't wait for Summer College.

Well, it's only been one week of Summer College and I already have a lot of work. This weekend I have to do a lot of reading and write a paper by Monday. During the past week, I've spent a lot of my time reading and simply getting to know Cornell. At first Cornell seemed huge and I felt completely lost, but by now I've started to get to know my way around the place. The campus itself is unbelievable and it's really special to get to spend time in a place as beautiful as Ithaca. The one aspect of Summer College that I don't love is the check-in procedure at night. Check-in is at eleven on weekdays and midnight on weekends, but the problem is how we are checked in. The RCAs will not start checking us in until exactly eleven or twelve and it ends up taking ten to twenty minutes to complete the entire process. Other than that though, I am really enjoying Summer college. My professor, Professor Kramnick, is fascinating to listen to and I just generally find the course I'm in (Freedom and Justice) to be very interesting. It's only been one week, but I already see why people love Cornell and why it is such a desirable place to go to college.

The past two weeks of Summer College have flown by. It's hard to believe that next week is the last week of my first class, "Freedom and Justice," and that I have my final exam in the class next Friday. This Thursday I had my first test in the class and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as impossible as I expected it to be (although I can't be sure of that until I get the grade back). Other than that, class continues to be interesting and almost every day I discover something new about Cornell. I've found a number of different places where I like to do my nightly reading and other places where it is nice to simply hang out. I also love going to Collegetown on the weekends. There are a number of restaurants that I've been to that have been great. I'm looking forward to this last week in my first class and then to the beginning of my second class, "Democracy and Its Discontents."

This last week was the final week in my first class, Freedom and Justice. I had the final exam for the class on Friday, and it turned out to not be that bad. Friday and Saturday morning I said goodbye to my friends who were only staying for three weeks. Looking back on the first three weeks of Summer College, it was incredible to realize how fast it had gone by. I felt that I had just gotten here and already half of my time at Summer College was over. It was sad to see my friends leave, but I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting new people these next three weeks. On Monday, my second class, Democracy and Its Discontents, begins. I'm hoping that it will be just as interesting as my last class. There are still many things that I want to do while I'm here at Cornell and hopefully I will be able to find time to further discover all of the opportunities that I can take advantage of.

Well, I survived the first week of my second class, Democracy and Its Discontents. Although it is very different from my first class, Freedom and Justice, I still enjoy it. The class is much more history oriented than it is theoretical, which is very different from my first class. So far, I have found it interesting to learn about various groups of Americans that have not been justly treated by the democratic system in America. I look forward to continuing to learn about these different groups of dissenters and why for them America was not the home of freedom and equality that many people believed it to be. This past weekend I spent a lot of my time with my cousin (a Cornell University and Summer College alumna). It was fun to walk around campus with her as she relived her memories of being at Cornell. I also enjoyed showing her the various places that I had discovered while being here. It's strange to think that I have less than two weeks left at Cornell and it's amazing how fast the summer has gone by. I hope that during these last two weeks I will be able to do everything that I haven't had the chance to so far and that they will be the most fun weeks of the summer.

With less than a week left in Cornell Summer College, it's amazing to think that I arrived here all the way back in June. The summer really has flown by. Since it's the last week of my class, I'm going to be spending a lot of time finishing the nightly readings and then preparing for the final exam. My final paper was due on Monday so it's at least a slight relief to have that out of the way. I hope that during these last few days I will be able to see or do anything that I haven't yet since I've been at Cornell. I'm looking forward to getting to spend a little more time with my friends before I leave on Friday. It will be very sad to leave on Friday, and hopefully I will continue talking to all of the great friends that I made this summer. It's going to be weird to leave Cornell, but at least I will leave having had an amazing summer.

Now that Cornell has ended, it's really incredible to look back on it and see what I accomplished. I took two college courses in only six weeks, I learned what it is like to be in college, and I made great friends. I'm happy to be home again, but I do miss Cornell a lot. I wish I could just walk into Collegetown and go to Collegetown Bagels. This summer further increased my interest in Cornell, and right now it is my first choice for college. Hopefully I will be able to come back to Cornell a year from this fall and will be able to spend a great four years there.