May Term, Play Term

Lesley Goodaker

It’s that time of year again! Spring has (finally) sprung, finals are near, and the end of the regular semester has come. In between rigorous study sessions and time spent enjoying the sunshine, whispers of May term can be heard throughout campus. But, what exactly is May term? Only the greatest thing ever (next to August term of course)!

Transylvania’s academic calendar operates on a 4-4-1 schedule. This means that from September to December and January to mid-April, students are enrolled in four courses of their choosing. As for the 1, well, that’s the best part. May term is a four week period beginning at the end of April and running to the middle of May when students concentrate on one class Monday through Friday, generally for two hours a day.  While this might sound pretty daunting, I assure you it’s quite the opposite.

Photo by Joseph Rey Au

Many May Term classes take advantage of the great spring weather and hold classes outdoors on Transy’s gorgeous campus.

A lot May term courses are team-taught by professors of differing disciplines which makes for a great opportunity to get to know professors outside of your area of study who you might otherwise never meet. However, one of the most notable things about  May term classes is that many take place on campus for only a week or so at the beginning of the term, and then move to destinations in the U.S. and all over the world. Course offerings change from year to year, but recent travel courses have included trips across the Western United States, New York City, Peru, Ireland, and Cost Rica. For many students, semester-long study abroad may not be feasible. In this way, May term is a great way to get a “mini-study abroad” experience that is relatively affordable and just as enriching.

May Term - study abroad

Where will you travel during May Term?

For students opting to enroll on a course taught at Transylvania, the options are just as vast (with many being Special Topics courses). This May term, I am taking a co-taught Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication course called Writing for Non-Profits. This is especially exciting because our class will be working with a community non-profit partner from the Lexington area to write grants. This is not only a course which counts towards my major but also will provide me with great practical experience which I can put on my resume.

Another great things about being on campus during May term is the social time. During the regular semester, Transy students are pretty booked with classes, internships, sports, and other co-curriculars. During May term, with only one class to focus on, students tend to have a lot more leisure time to hang out with friends or get off campus; however, regardless of whether you’re on campus for May term or off, you’re guaranteed to have the time of your life!