J-term: In Five Words

Throughout January, as students, staff and faculty adjust to the change in pace of J-term, the editorial staff of Middlebury Magazine will make its way around the campus to discover just what goes on during this month.

It’s the end of the first week of J-term, that wonderfully unusual academic blip between fall and spring semesters at Middlebury. It’s a month that’s seems to be filled with a range of experiences for many students—from the science majors who are tucking in for a month of intense lab work to the students who catch the Snow Bowl Shuttle every afternoon to the adventurous interns who have left the campus altogether for places like New York, London, Guatemala and Nepal. Asked to whittle down their J-term experience to just five words, here’s what students had to say:

“A breath of fresh air.”

“No different than the usual.”

“Lazy.” (when prompted by his friends for only giving one word, he reluctantly added, “Lazy lazy lazy lazy.”)

“The most fun time ever.”

“The best time to train.” (this from an energetic Nordic skier)

“When Bev Co sells out.”

“Hard work for Architecture students.”

“No windows in the lab.”

“First Time in New York (city…)”

“Eyes glued to a microscope.”

“Headed up to the Bowl.”

“More time to eat lunch.”

“More time to sleep in.”

“When my roommate goes away.”

“Time to hang with friends.”

“A rejuvenation of the mind.”

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  1. This faculty member loves it.

  2. This former faculty member hates it and always has.

  3. Cool bit, but on the main website it says “we asked students to whittle their experiences down to five words or less.” Five words or FEWER. It may sound picky, but prospective students and their families are going to see this and Midd is better than a simple grammatical mistake on the front page.

  4. Orgo, can you handle it?

  5. A question: Imagine you are a Middlebury senior (and, let’s say, not a science major) applying for a job. Your prospective employer goes to the Middlebury web site to learn more about the college education on your resume. How would you feel about this article being the first thing that he or she finds?

  6. @Rachel–thanks for the catch. We’ve corrected.

  7. Professor Graham–I would be glad for a potential employer to see this article. To be honest, there isn’t a whole lot in the quotes above that would make sense to someone who is not familiar with J-Term and has not experienced it. If an interviewer with no previous knowledge of Middlebury stumbled upon this article, I am sure it would be a fantastic conversation piece with which to begin an interview. I would not want to work for an employer who would judge Middlebury as anything other than a fantastic institution on the basis of a short piece about a period of time each year that only accounts for one-ninth of each Middlebury student’s education.

    If you are trying to say

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    J-term does not contribute meaningfully to a Middlebury student’s education, I think you are missing what it is all about. There is no question I learned a great deal both about the subject matter of my classes as well as about myself during each of my four J-Terms at Middlebury. I can say, without hesitation, that the same is true for each of my friends. Sometimes it is necessary to give students extra time to be creative outside of the classroom and to pursue interests for which there is no letter grade given at some arbitrary checkpoint during the learning process.

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  8. Michael–Isn’t the point of an article like this to explain what Winter Term is about to people who haven’t experienced it? Given your experience with Winter Term, wouldn’t you want to see it described in terms of the kinds of experiences you and your friends had, rather than as a time for laziness, drinking, sleeping in, and skiing?

Comment Policy

We hope to create a lively discussion on MiddMag.com and invite you to add your voice. Please keep comments civil and relevant to the news item at hand. MiddMag.com may remove comments that do not follow these guidelines.

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