On May 10, I walked across the Benson stage, smiled proudly and grabbed an important black folder from Dr. Bruce McLarty while telling myself, “Don’t trip. Don’t trip. Don’t trip.” In other words, I graduated. And while I took pictures with friends and family outside after the ceremony, that euphoric feeling of being completely done with college was overshadowed by the realization that I would be back in the classroom the following Monday morning. I had signed up for an Intersession earth science course. Each time I told someone that was my plan, I got the same response: disappointment and confusion. So I started to join the doubters in their game. I heard horror stories about the intensity and workload that Intersession exudes. I saw faces visibly droop at the sound of the word science, as if to say, “Well, good luck with that.” I regularly fielded questions about how is it possible to take another class after having graduated.
So I walked into the science building May 12 with a little less confidence in my steps, hearing the repeated whispered warnings of my predecessors in my head. I mentally prepared for the next two weeks — 40 hours spent in a classroom and countless hours spent studying. But after I timidly sat in my seat that first day, I looked up and was overcome with joy. I saw several familiar faces and realized that six of my close friends were in the same predicament I was. We were “all in this together,” if you will. (“High School Musical,” anyone?)
The next pleasant surprise was how much I was interested in the material and genuinely enjoyed learning about weather, geology, astronomy, rivers, topographic maps, plate tectonics (which sounds like some sort of kitchen-themed techno music), and the Earth in general. I found myself tuned in to the class lecture and discussion, which is something I did not expect to experience in a gen ed class.
That fact carries a lot of weight coming from me. Here’s a brief synopsis of my scientific history. I avoided any sort of science in high school like it was the plague. At Harding, I took an honors course that covered a biology credit, and then, of course, I put off my physical science credit until the afterthought that is Intersession.
So my interest in material involving science was as surprising to me as anyone else. And that, coupled with the design of Intersession, was a euphoric combination (maybe that’s overstating the experience). But I loved the structure and quick pace; the material was always fresh on our minds because we would be tested the following day after learning it. And that’s no exaggeration. During the first week, our first test was Wednesday, our second test was Thursday, and our third test was Friday. But that instant relaying of information process proved to be effective.
I walked out of the last day of earth science today with a long-anticipated feeling of “done-ness.” I have officially earned my public relations degree (through learning about the structure and function of a river?). And I can now add “Pro-Intersession” to my political views section on Facebook. In fact, I wish the whole college experience was outlined in the Intersession format or something close to it. It is much easier to take in one subject at a time so you can focus solely on the material at hand and keep track of just one teaching style.
So now I can confidently tell you why the sky is blue, and some sunsets are red orange. I can read a weather map and predict storms. And I will never look at a river the same. But I will also sleep well tonight knowing that I will never have to fill in a Scantron again or set an alarm for 6 a.m. in order to cram for a test.
Holly Bohnett (’14)