August Term: Looking Forward (and Back)

malory thelen

When I watched May Term drawing to a close, I couldn’t help but think of my humble beginnings during my August Term.  Seeing the big ‘T’ being planted with vibrant red flowers, watching students play midnight volleyball in Back Circle, and only having to attend one class a day really reminds me of how instrumental those three weeks were in jumpstarting my college career.

August Term is very unique in that only first-year students will be on campus (along with RAs, August Term Scholars, and a scarce other few upperclassmen).  This means that they have three whole weeks to bond with their class and to make Transylvania their own – my class took the liberty of renaming Front and Back Lobby to “Flobby” and “Blobby,” respectively (for some unknown reason, those names did not stick once the upperclassmen returned).

In addition to exciting orientation activities, the thrill of decorating your dorm room, and the possibility of meeting hundreds of new friends, August Term is also greatly focused on preparing students academically for college coursework.  Every student attends class daily (Monday – Friday); this class is worth one credit and graded on a pass-fail basis.  The class’s purpose is to improve students’ critical reading skills through dynamic discussions, written reflections, and even class field trips!  Because we read The Professor and the Madman, our class visited and toured Eastern State Hospital to attain a clearer image of the history of mental institutions.

As co-curricular programming, Transy also hosts several engaging speakers.  Last year, the author of one of the books we read, Come and Go, Molly Snow, visited campus and spoke about her writing, her career, and her inspirations.  Also, we hosted Nikky Finney, the 2011 National Book Award winner, for our first-year induction ceremony.  These speakers encouraged the audience to pursue our passions, and they truly ignited my determination to learn for the sheer love of knowledge.

August Term is an exciting time to anticipate: last year, I stood atop the Natural Bridge at Red River Gorge, I explored Lexington’s restaurants, Farmer’s Market, and historic beauty, and I learned what it means to be a pioneer.  For these reasons and for the growing potential of this program, I cannot wait for the Transylvania Class of 2017 to embark on their own August Term journey.