15 August 2013

"Alternative Summer Break" Series: Nova Students and their Summers (Nikola Danev, Class of 2016)

If you were to describe your summer break with three words, what would those three words be? How so?

If I were to describe my summer experience in three words, those words would be: challenging, transforming and wonderful. I chose the word challenging because I felt like the learning environment at TASS [Telluride Association Sophmore Seminar, Indiana University, Bloomington] made me want to explore my possibilities and reach farther and deeper into any and every subject. This summer was transforming because I learned and understood a lot about society, about tolerance and understanding, and most importantly, about myself. It was wonderful because I got to share all of this with 17 other amazing people and have a tremendous amount of fun while doing so.

Could you speak with some degree of detail about the learning part of the experience? Could you speak with some degree of detail about the socializing aspect?

My TASS program [six-week college level course on Race Films in a ‘Post-Race’ America? Film Studies and Critical Spectatorship]  covered themes of race, gender, class, sexuality and ethnicity and how they are portrayed in the media. We watched lots of movies and engaged in in-depth discussions of what we saw and what it meant. I’ve gained the knowledge to recognize and understand the ways in which our views of reality are shaped by film and media in general. The people that I shared this six-week experience with are some of the most knowledgeable and capable people that I’ve had the pleasure to meet. We had a lot of social activities, including bowling, theater, basketball, swimming and poetry workshops. Officially or unofficially, we were together all the time and got to know each other on a very personal level.

On the whole, how meaningful did you find it all? How has it impacted you personally? Would you recommend it to another student/interested party?

I found this program to be one of the most meaningful experiences in my life thus far. It made we realize how big and wide open the world is, and that there are no limits to what a person can do if only they dare to challenge themselves. I would definitely recommend TASS to anyone that wants to question and explore people, society and themselves, and to anyone that is prepared to be shaken to their core!

More info on TASS Programs:

http://www.tellurideassociation.org/programs/high_school_students/tass/tass_general_info.html