X-term: A diverting and educational transition into summer
“Cooking because of "JEESE WE NEED TO COOK," exclaimed first-year Tommy Zewert. Culinary, diving, Rude-Goldenberg, canoe building… X-term is a new system that was vividly in mind before Covid-19 and was finally established this year for students to explore other areas of studies. It provides students a place to relax, leaving the heavy workload, tests, and constant stress while teaching essential life skills.
It is also a place for teachers to demonstrate their talents and passions outside of their regularly taught courses: “I think X-term is a valuable experience regarding that we get to learn other talents from our teachers that we don't quite get to know during the school year,” says sophomore Wonjin Eum. With a packed schedule, X-term allows teachers to better connect with students outside of the 70-minute class periods. Students can be introduced to their teacher’s unique passions and establish communications outside of academic-related topics.
Students demonstrate a sense of fulfillment when talking about the course they chose and their expectations for them. For instance, sophomore Alyssa Sun remarks, “I'm in the Modern Transcendentalist [course]. I'm satisfied as it allows me to both learn more through classroom discussions and explore practically in a two-day camping trip." X-term provides the perfect combination of learning and exercising, an experience that will become a core high school memory for years to come.
Vivian Kou, a rising senior at Stevenson who only gets one last time to experience X-term, speaks about her mixed feelings towards X-term: “I am currently in the Plein art painting course. I am not really satisfied with my placement because it's not my first choice.” Nevertheless, Vivian embraces the change: “But I am also looking forward to it because some of my friends are also going, which makes it more interesting. Through this course, I hope to pick up some of my painting skills since I used to learn some painting when I was younger.”
To many others like Vivian, X-term allows students to explore childhood passions that have slowly faded away. Picking up on these lost passions with friends
and looking at them with a more mature perspective helps create a different, yet unique experience.
However, students continued to give disadvantages regarding this new schedule: “I think the disadvantages include pushing back the start of summer break and moving the finals forward a week after most AP tests, which is very frustrating,” Kou complained. For some sophomores and juniors who are taking on the challenge of multiple AP courses, the clash between APs and finals can be a struggle when reviewing can be time-consuming for both types of exams.
For boarders, Sun adds, “I do think it's rather rushing the move out of the dorms. I'd rather not have to have classes (and final projects on that day) and then immediately have to finish packing and move out.”
Fast forwarding to next year’s X-term, students already reflected on some suggestions on the process of X-term as Sun says, “I think there should be a form for X-term suggestions; I don't think there was one this year, or I forgot. I would ask for more STEM-humanities intersecting courses, like exploring politics and data science combined, perhaps.” Though mostly compiled through the teacher’s interest, considering students’ opinions and willingness to participate in certain areas of studies is also important. Sun continues,
“I think that along with the support of faculties, students should be able to generate their own courses because students are more familiar with their preferences and provide more motives for students to participate in X-term.”