OU is a bustling campus filled with people and energy during the school year. When the weather starts to warm and the classes wrap up, though, most students leave campus for a few months to return in August.

While I love the hustle and bustle of OU during August through May, there’s something to be said for the serenity that descends upon the Ovals during those few months of summer. Walking across the beautiful campus in the afternoon warmth becomes a peaceful experience, rather than an energizing one. I take in more of the natural beauty that surrounds me and I pay more attention to all the little nooks and crannies that I forget about during the school year, like the little path between Bizzell and Evans or the walkways over by Sarkeys that I always forget about.

But I’m not still here just to stroll across campus and soak up the atmosphere. I am taking a summer course through the OU Honors College, and I definitely recommend looking into summer and intersession classes once you’re on campus. Not only are they a great way to get ahead or catch up, they also provide truly interesting courses in a totally different format. The class I’m in right now is called America Since 1945, and it studies the political and social history of the United States in the period after the Cold War through the Reagan era. The class is taught by Professor Steve Gillon, and so far it has been one of the most enriching courses I’ve experienced at OU (and I’ve never taken a class I didn’t enjoy or appreciate).

First, Professor Gillon has proven to be a professor that is truly invested in the success of his students and is approachable and inspiring. I feel excited to share his class with 18 of my peers and learn from a professor who taught at both Yale and Oxford and is Resident Historian at the History Channel. He’s published numerous books about American history, but beyond that, he really loves the material that we discuss in class, and that inspires all of us. He fosters a classroom environment where we are all actively involved in discussion and debate about the material, and vows never to stand at the front and lecture. I’ve not only learned a lot from him but I have also learned from my classmates, who represent a diverse and intellectually stimulating group of peers. Our classes are always interesting and thought-provoking, and I leave class excited to continue the discussions with my friends and family.

Because of the condensed format, summer courses involve a heavy workload, but with no other courses on my plate, it’s a very manageable load. I actually really value the opportunity to soak in the material for that one class and really focus my attention, instead of spreading out across a variety of topics. I enjoy having the chance to mull over the material and discussions during my downtime instead of always having something else to work on.

And don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to hang out at the OU Pool or take advantage of the awesome entertainment opportunities around Norman and OKC. As a matter of fact, this weekend I’ll be visiting Bricktown and hitting Warren Theater to catch the Avengers.

Give OU a try during the summer, and make up your own mind about your favorite time of year to be on campus. Whichever way you lean, every day is a good day to be a Sooner!

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