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The Summer Session debate is in session

An invocation of the words “summer session” brings some to tears, others to babbling about arcane or obscure “intensive” subjects, and some to laughter as they recall what they consider an oxymoron.

Here, at PSU, the session has begun and so has the debate about the merits of PSU’s Summer Session. It is likely that, as a summer student, you will engage several times in this vigorous discussion. Those who despise the thought of sitting in classes on beautiful summer days will ferociously condemn those who somewhat enjoy the interiors of cool concrete, even if the quality of class is not as durable as the classes of other quarters. The debate will continue between the two polarized groups-flinging verbal assaults about the supposed contra-distinct integrity of summer. But one can not argue with the school kids, as they are busy with their schoolwork and the others, well, they are busy tossing their Frisbees and glaring at the busy school-bees.

But in all fairness, there are many types: the motivated, the fast trackers, the intense bilingualist taking the very intense summer language courses (just think, your midterm is in your second week of class!), however, many PSU students can only associate summer school with crusty eyed elementary school peers marching to summer school to either learn math, learn appropriate “regular session” behavior, or as a sort of incremented punishment from exhausted parents.

In a way, some of these things have not changed (except the age of the students). The first week of the session I met the young man who needed to learn math for the graduate entrance exam. I met a young lady who bombed one of her regular session classes and was making up for it in summer school and, in an ironic turn, I met the parent who was, this time, not punishing their children but, instead, fleeing from them and using summer session as the sanctuary.

Regardless of which camp you are in, the PSU Summer Session is unique in several respects. Foremost, the university is central to a large number of summer events that infuse the campus with a population that is normally absent, namely, the larger Portland citizen. Continuing throughout the quarter is the Summer Lecture Series, offering perspectives that range from the very close at home to the much larger international academic community. The PIP Fest brings internationally and locally acclaimed artists and performers right to our door. The Saturday market continues throughout the summer in the PSU Park Blocks and is a refreshing respite from uninspiring teriyaki and the definitively non-organic snacks from the cafeteria. The actual summer school classes, while not often taught by full-time faculty, are usually facilitated by enthusiastic, non-jaded graduate students and specially selected or featured faculty.

So, Summer Session has begun and as the temperature rises I bid that so to will your intellectual curiosity and passion for the “summer session debate” and, besides, love it or hate, here we are for another summer.