If you’ve been sitting around this summer with an unstimulated mind, mourning the loss of summer reading assignments to keep your brain busy, we’ve got good news!!
UNC offers the Carolina Summer Reading Program to all incoming first-year and transfer students. The University selects a book for students to read prior to arriving on campus, and holds small-group discussion sessions led by faculty and staff on the day before classes start. The aim is to give students a taste of the “academic climate and community at UNC.”
This year, the summer reading book is Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World that Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships by Mitch Prinstein. The discussion session will be on Monday, August 20.
To be completely honest, I did not do the summer reading my first year. Neither did most of my friends. It is not actually required, and there is no penalty for not completing the reading or attending the discussion session. But UNC does strongly recommend that everyone participate, and plenty of people do! A couple of now-seniors shared their experiences with summer reading with us:
“The summer reading my year was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It was a harrowing tale of Stevenson’s work as a lawyer for inmates facing death row. The book brought me a perspective I hadn’t held before on the death penalty, and the group dorm discussion in my first week helped me meet new people, something I was nervous about when I arrived at UNC. My junior year, I was inspired to take Frank Baumgartner’s class on the death penalty as a result of the reading.”
— Rachel Jones, Journalism and English
“I was under the impression that the summer reading was something that everyone did, so logically, I obliged. I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t participate in any further discussions about its content so my only growth occurred from the story itself. Personally, I would recommend it if you’re interested in the book.”
— Billy Treacy, Chemistry and Math
So, should you do the summer reading? That's totally up to you! I can't speak on the experience because I chose not to participate, but you never know — maybe I missed out. You might end up finding your new favorite book, meeting your new favorite professor or learning an invaluable lesson. Or if nothing else, you'll have something to do while you lounge away your last weeks of summer.
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