Back in May I sat down in the registrar’s office at my college to figure out my next semester’s schedule. Just like every semester before, we picked out classes that would fit around each other to give me a full schedule. This time, however, things were different; we weren’t just planning for one semester, but tentatively planning a second and looking at possibilities for finishing up my last few classes in the shortest possible amount of time after that. She asked if I had considered taking an summer online course. I told her I hadn’t, but was interested.
The class was Israel After the Exile, and I signed up for it. There would be an out-of-pocket charge for the class since the summer online courses at my college aren’t covered under the full tuition scholarship, but I had two income sources lined up for when I got home, so I wasn’t worried about paying the fee. Though I was a little nervous for how the format of the course would work with my tentatively busy summer schedule, I was excited for it; though it wasn’t my first online class, it was my summer class. Additionally, it was my first class as a senior. And, the class proved to be an enormous blessing in more ways than one.
First, it kept my brain academically engaged throughout the summer. Let’s face it: ADD makes it difficult to make the transition out of summer break and back into “academic mode” at school. This class gave me something structured to focus my attention on. It also provided a new sense of consistency; I wasn’t on campus, but I was still in school. I was still learning things that I probably would not have taken the time to learn otherwise. Now when I go back to campus and resume classes there, my brain will already be academically engaged and ready to go. No struggling to get in the groove.
Secondly, the things I was reading for the class seemed to correlate almost perfectly with things that were going on in my life this summer. Almost every time I’d sit down and read an assigned story or piece of scripture, I’d find myself encouraged in regard to something I was dealing with. Some days, it was just enough to get me by and keep my focus upward. I’ll be honest: there were days where I didn’t want to sit down and read something for class. But the times I forced myself to do so anyway were the times I found myself inexplicably refreshed by something I had read.
Thirdly, I learned some pretty stinking awesome stuff. Of course, I usually say this regarding just about every class I take. As much as I secretly loathe academics and studying, I love the new knowledge that I gain along the way. This time around, a lot of the learning felt independent; I was reading books and watching documentaries here and there, but I was left with plenty of room to study beyond the course requirements. There was a lot of breathing room, and it was nice. The term paper was wonderful, as well. The ability to independently research and write about topic of my choice (even if I did pick one from the list of suggestions) meant I was learning one thing in-depth.
Anyway, the class went surprisingly well and just finished up yesterday (Sunday). Now, I have ten days before I leave Wisconsin to meet some internet folk and two weeks before I return to campus. My new GoPro should be here Thursday, along with the “floaty backdoor” attachement that I ordered. This means that sometime next week, maybe Thursday, I’ll have to take a day off before I leave to go around and do some most excellent filming. Ten days. I’m going to miss this place. Ya know?
It’s weird to think that my summer vacation is only going to last all of two weeks, but I’m chalking it up to the fact that I’m 23 and need to just “grow up.” I’m really looking forward to getting back to campus, though. Campus is my “home sweet home”. I’m admittedly nervous about having a roommate again (I spoiled myself with having my own room last year), but I’m looking forward to setting up the room and getting things in order. I’m also excited to get back to working in the cafeteria with my friends. Mostly, I’m looking forward to putting Wisconsin behind me.
I’ll admit it: I’m ready to leave. While being in Eau Claire has its perks, I can only tolerate being here for so long before I want to just leave. I would be totally okay with leaving tomorrow, actually, but my boss just landed a bunch more jobs that will give me a decent amount of money before I leave. I’m also sticking around because there are a few things that I would like to do yet, like put on swimming goggles and see if I can find my lost GoPro. But in all, I just want to get out of here. I may be home for the summer, but this isn’t home; Central is home, and I miss it. Ya know? Ten more days before I get to leave.
This summer I did something I’ve never done: I took a summer online class.