The environment of Harvard Summer School is quite different from the regular school year. Instead of the 18-21 year olds that made up the majority of undergraduate students in Harvard College, I am experiencing "people of all ages, from around the United States and more than 90 countries, live and learn together as they satisfy their intellectual curiosities, earn college credit, and explore Harvard University."1 This includes both high schoolers and senior citizens. For example, this morning, in Ticknor Lounge:
Girl: Hey, are you on MySpace?
Girl: You're a loser!
Reflecting on his experience of German academic discipline, Ticknor resolved to apply its methods at Harvard. For President John Kirkland he wrote out a comprehensive plan for a full-scale departmental program on the German model, including lectures in the prescribed languages. When he found that the prevailing conditions of instruction at the College stood in his way, he set about promoting an across-the-board reform of the entire academic program. "A great and thorough change must take place in its discipline and instruction" to make sure, he added—with an asperity not likely to endear him to colleagues—that the College would at least "fulfill the purposes of a respectable high school."