On March 22, 79 Seymour High School seniors trekked westward to Bloomington onto the campus of Indiana University.
This group of seniors is enrolled in English teacher Tim Perry’s Advanced Placement literature and composition class and made this trip to Bloomington to sit in on Professor Nick Williams’ 18th century British and American literature class lecture.
Perry’s group departed from Seymour High School on two buses shortly after school started and arrived at Hodge Hall on the northwestern side of Indiana University’s campus around 10 a.m., which allowed the group to catch the second half of Williams’ lecture.
Earlier in the school year, Williams visited some of Perry’s AP literature and composition classes to elaborate on Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” which is when the pair of educators came up with the idea to exchange and compare syllabi in order to find similarities.
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This is when they saw that while Williams was delving into his gothic literature unit, Perry had just finished teaching “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
This was not the first time Perry noticed an overlap with Williams’ class. Nearly a decade ago, he and Williams noticed they taught the same material at the same time, so Perry brought his British literature students from Brownstown Central High School to IU to sit in on a lecture.
But a unique coincidence occurred when Perry discovered that his cousin was enrolled in Williams’ 18th century British and American literature class the morning of the field trip. These alike circumstances allowed the seniors to realize how small of a world we truly live in and how it pays off to strengthen communal ties in order to learn in return.
This field trip was tremendously beneficial for the seniors, as it embodied so many aspects of their future college experiences.
During their Indiana University experience, the seniors participated in the campus’ monthly tornado drill, laughed at Williams’ unique teaching techniques and dry humor and answered questions that were prompted on materials read by both Williams’ class and Perry’s class.
Williams hoped that “the students saw that college courses are not completely different from high school courses” and that “professors still want to hear feedback from their students instead of lecturing the entire time.”
Although senior Mikayla Fee agreed the field trip allowed her and her classmates to gain access to a better view into a true college atmosphere, she also stated that it was “comforting to know that a college professor is teaching almost the same things as what we learn in high school.”
Fee also said that the sight of all of the college students taking notes and participating in the lecture assured her that her college experience in the classroom setting would not be that far of a stretch from her high school years.
Both Williams and Perry said they hoped this trip to Bloomington would ease the minds of the second semester seniors and help them to realize that although college will take some adjusting, their college courses will not be as scary as they may believe them to be.
Perry also hoped that his students would recognize that their class “is not much different than a 300-level college course at Indiana University.”
Although Perry did want his students to gather that college courses would be similar to their advanced courses in high school, he also hoped that his students would recognize how vital it is to read every reading assigned to them, especially for lectures where a professor would open up the floor for discussion and for questions.
This trip allowed the seniors to examine a college classroom and to compare it with the dynamic that they are accustomed to.
Perry said “he sure hoped” that he would be able to take his AP literature and composition classes next year to visit the IU campus. Perry hoped that this field trip “would give the incoming students something to look forward to.”
Laura Koester is a senior at Seymour High School and a staff member of the student newspaper, The Owl. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.