Sunday, January 26, 2014

What J-term is like

For the last two years, I've spent the month of January at home, not doing much of consequence. Interterm at Taylor, or J-term, as it is commonly called, was purported to be strange, some mythological hybrid of class and vacation, homework and movie-watching. Being home seemed like a better option than squishing around my financial aid to figure out how to pay a month's room and board, so J-term remained a mystery to me.

But no more. This year, stars and scholarships aligned, and I got to take a speculative fiction writing course taught by Jeff Gerke. The class itself was excellent. It and a couple of Writing Excuses episodes have gotten me really thinking about applying myself to writing as a craft with a work mindset. But college isn't just about the classes -- it's about the experience! So, what was my first J-term like?

One thing I'd been told was that J-term was supposed to be much more relaxed. You typically only take one class, so schedules aren't crazy, a lot of time the homework's not too bad, and the rest of the time you get to hole up and watch movies.

 I'm taking two classes and I have two and a half on-campus jobs. Also, things got off to a bumpy start because snowstorm.
I took this a few days ago after a lot of the snow melted, it snowed more, and then everything got plowed nicely again. But there is no escaping the wind.
Things were weird for a while because a significant number of students couldn't make it to campus on time, classes couldn't start, but they had a bunch of students living in dorms that needed to be fed. So what did Taylor do? It organized a fleet of campus policemen and other employees to drive students to the dining commons. It was very interesting, and I'm glad my school cares so much.

Eventually, things settled into what must be semi-normal operations. I woke up for 8 a.m. classes. I adjusted to homework. I reverted to being social with people to whom I'm not related. (It's amazing how quickly I relapse when given the opportunity.) Classes and life moved on.

Things were different because some people were home and some new people moved in. At times, I had a ton of work to do and other times I could relax. I had two game nights with friends. I built a snowman. I've watched several movies with my roommate. I wrote 35 pages of fiction and attended a great theater workshop.

I'm glad J-term has room for things like board games, snowmen, and movies. At the same time, the work has been a good mental preparation for the coming semester. Now I have a week left to convalesce, write, and work on theater stuff.

Overall experience, positive. Even including the snowstorm. (The cold never bothered me, anyway.)

And I'm already excited for a new semester.

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