“Summertime and the livin’ is easy.”

That lyric from DuBose Heyward’s famous novel Porgy (made more famous by George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess) hardly describes the activity on campus at the College of Charleston these days. Though the longer, warmer days of summer have arrived, there’s still plenty of intellectual activity taking place across campus.

According to Michael Phillips, who directs the College’s Maymester program and its summer sessions, roughly 3,000 students are enrolled in courses this summer. He says these courses are attractive to students for a number of reasons.

“Students know that they can get ahead academically by taking courses during the summer,” Phillips explains. “The other advantage is that they can truly focus on a subject that they may not have time for during the fall or spring semesters when they’re taking a full load.”

Phillips says that some subjects such as mathematics or foreign language acquisition can be challenging, and a proven strategy for success is to take those courses during the summer when students can dedicate more time to each subject.

He’s also keen to convey that the Maymester and summer session offerings span a very broad spectrum, ranging from study abroad classes to online courses (173 courses are offered online this summer) to student-faculty research projects. The courses you’ll find available at the College’s main campus this summer are impressively diverse, ranging from Introduction to African-American Studies to Media Arts at Spoleto to Robotics to Studies in Russian Film to Real Estate Lending in a New Era of Uncertainty to Pollution Dynamics in Urban Watersheds of Coastal Charleston, just to name a few.

Given the rich offerings available this time of year, The College Today took a look at the summer session catalog and identified four courses that would compel our editors to stick around Charleston for the summer.

Here’s our top four picks:

Turtles on campus.

Aquatic Turtle Conservation and Biology 

Taught by environmental and sustainability studies professor Ashley Lavender, this field study course will focus on the key biological concepts related to the survival of aquatic turtle species in the context of human-driven change. A particular emphasis will be on species occurring in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Students will explore the effects of human activities, such as commercial fishing, habitat modification and the introduction of invasive species, on these turtles. They’ll also consider ecological, economic and social approaches to mitigating that impact.

Traditional Design and Preservation in Charleston      

This course, which was offered during Maymester, is among the requirements for a minor in Southern Studies. Professor Ralph Muldrow, from the College’s Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program, offers students a hands-on approach for acquainting themselves with Charleston’s unique architectural style and the history of this city’s enduring inclination toward preservation.

Stand up paddleboarding class.

Photoessays and Literary Expression 

Designed for students in the SPECTRA program, this course will enable enrollees to craft essays and photographs that tell the stories of their lives. The curriculum includes reading a cross section of essays, poetry, songs and short fiction about pictures, as well as learning the basic skills of photography, including exposure, composition and aperture. Students will be encouraged to develop a creative kaleidoscope of pictures that includes family, friends, memorials and local Charleston attractions, as well as their favorite things.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding 

This two-credit course, taught by the Department of Health and Human Performance, offers a unique way for students to experience the natural environment of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Class sessions take place either on Trophy Lakes, Folly River, Folly Beach, Shem Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway adjacent the Isle of Palms, depending on weather. You’ll not only learn how to become proficient on a stand-up paddleboard, you’ll also learn about the region’s tricky tidal currents and some of its more prominent marine species.

For additional information about courses offered this summer, visit summer.cofc.edu.