Tag Archives: J-Term

2011 So Far…

Well, it looks like we’ve slacked off a little bit on updating this blog. I hope all you eager MiddKids to be didn’t miss us too much. Since no one has updated you since way back in the year 2010, I thought I’d chip in my two cents on what life at Middlebury has been like during the year 2011.

As Becky explained earlier, January is time for J-Term (alternately known as play-term or yay-term), a month-long semesters in which students can take one class, an internship, or take some time off for a little time to themselves. This past January, I chose the third option and decided not to enroll in a J-Term class. I’ve gotta say, this isn’t a typical decision, as most folks choose to take a cool and interesting class over January like “Vermont Government and Politics” taught by Midd alum and former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas or “Photographing Frost” which brought kids up to Robert Frost’s favorite mountain hideouts to take photos. Some of my friends even designed their own independent study and produced a haunting short movie. But back to me — I didn’t do any of that.

Instead, with all my free time, I had excess opportunities to go on crazy adventures. First, I was in charge of The Hunt, Middlebury’s very intense, campus-wide scavenger hunt. Seriously, click on that link and see some of the clues we sent kids on fulfilling…and see how creative they were in fulfilling the tasks. Super creative, super fun, and super ridiculous. At the end of J-Term, sadly it was time to see the super senior febs graduate. You’ve got to watch the graduation speech given by Will Bellaimey ‘10.5. It is truly a gem.

Most importantly, however, I spent a ton of time at the Snow Bowl. Seriously, there is nothing better than showing up at the Bowl on a sunny winter day and hitting the powder on the backside of the mountain. Seriously, it is the best thing ever.

So, there you have it. Middlebury January in a nutshell. I can only hope spring semester is half as good.

Anticipating J-term

Christmas was an amazing time this year.  I spent tons of time with my family talking, eating, laughing, watching movies, and just hanging out.  With less than a week before we return for J-term the anticipation is in the air.  My Midd friends and I have already begun planning what we are going to do over what we call Yay-term.  Not only is J-term a time where you only take one class for the month of January, but it is also a time to explore, to use the extra time to do things you’ve never done before and have fun.

I didn’t go abroad and after this J-term will have taken four J-term classes.  All of them were courses I was interested in from art classes to writing classes. Click here –>J-term Courses This year I am working on my Independent Project preparing for my show in the spring.  I get to come and go as I please to my studio aka I will be there the majority of the time doing what I love most, art.  But when my artistic juices stop flowing or I’m beyond frustrated with my work (all part of the process) I know that I can take the day off and watch all three of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (already marked in my suites calendar).  I also will be filming the Men’s Basketball team’s home games, gotta get my bball fix.  Can’t wait for Pepin Gym to be packed with cheering, screaming, Midd students while Midd wins…of course.

As a suite we have declared Thursdays as game night, Fridays as dance party night, Saturdays as movie night where we are going to take out a projector from the library and screen a movie on our huge white walls.  I’m beyond psyched!! Atwater dining hall is opening up every Monday to host dinner for the first 200 people that respond to an email, the first dinner is Greek themed.  There are tons of workshops being offered with a wide range of topics/subjects/activities.  There is pottery, all types of cooking, learning basics f Hindi, knitting, dancing, log rolling, learning how to DJ, and SO much more click here –> J-term Workshops (Just sounded like an info-mmercial there oops) Plus, usual student organizations host parties, panels, and other activities.  For example, the Martin Luther King Jr. week always promises exciting speakers, panels, read-ins. etc.  This year Dr. Antwi Akom,Professor of Urban Sociology and Africana Studies at San Francisco State University, is coming to give the keynote address MLK Jr. Celebration.  More on Dr. Akom

All of that might have seemed overwhelming, but for me it is just so exciting.  There is no way I’m going to try and do all of that, it is actually impossible, but my plan is , go crazy with my friends especially my suite mates, to have plain ole good fun, and work on my art  during my last Yay-term at Middlebury.  This time next year I am sure I’ll be dreaming about J-term and how amazing it was and all the memories.

Happy New Year to everyone and for all you Midd Students Yay-term here we come!!! 🙂

Reasons the Looming Winter is No Cause for Alarm

People in New England never seem to get bored of talking about the weather.  Although cold temperatures are a yearly guarantee, I’m always asked how I can deal with Vermont winters, coming from sunny San Diego.  But truthfully, I think having been denied snow for so many years makes me more excited than most for the first snowfall…

3 Reasons the winter is something to embrace, and not to fear.

1.  J-Term

J-Term is a glorious time at Middlebury College.  Usually about the time that fall midterm exams are getting underway, there are murmurings of “I can’t wait until J-Term… it’ll be so nice when J-Term is here…”  When we all return to campus after winter break in January, we’re looking forward to a month of one intensified class.  Students can choose to take courses ranging from Chinese Painting, to Middlebury Entrepreneurs, to the ever-grueling Organic Chemistry.  Classes meet with greater frequency and for more hours per week than during the fall and spring semesters, but this is a time to really dive into a subject, focus your energy, and be creative.  I’ve been looking forward to my Introduction to Painting class for a few weeks now, and can’t wait to take my first-ever art class!  Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 1-4pm, so there is plenty of time for skiing, making snowmen, and taking a Wine Varietals workshop.

Student and visiting instructors also put on workshops that students can choose from—yoga, “Cooking to Seduce,” Intro to Guitar, Tap Dancing and more.  J-Term is a time to hone new skills, experiment with new hobbies, and enjoy Middlebury’s diversity.  We also have the pleasure of hosting many visiting professors during January as well.  Other students choose to do an off-campus internship or volunteer work for the month.  Whatever the case, J-Term is a time to experience Middlebury life like never before!

2.  The Snowbowl

The Middlebury College Snowbowl is a great place to spend a few hours getting outside during those frosty months.  A student life pass is an affordable $150 for the entire ski season, and the ACTR shuttle passes by Adirondack Circle every hour to take you the quick 25 minutes up to the mountain.  We have a new tri-chair lift to get you up the hill and a student-run ski patrol if you take a bad turn on your way down Kelly or Lang.

My favorite Snowbowl routine is to head up to the mountain, take a few runs with friends, stop for a hot chocolate and head back out if it’s a nice day.  If it’s an especially icy day, I’ll grab the book I’ve inevitably brought with me and read a few chapters while admiring the snowscape outside the lodge’s windows.  It’s fun to watch all the little kids walk awkwardly in their ski boots and be impressed by that kid who sits next to you in history—who knew he was a nationally competitive ski racer??

3.  Winter Carnival

Winter Carnival is a long-standing Middlebury tradition.  Reasons to love it: we have a day free from classes.  The ski team hosts their home races.  The winter sports teams have some victories at home, and the students guarantee an active (and vocal) fan section.  We have a great concert or two.  There’s a bonfire AND fireworks.  Ice sculptures!!  The Carnival ball is always a blast, thanks to our MCAB Traditions board.

So have no fear!! Yes, sub-zero temperatures and icy sidewalks are coming soon, but so is J-Term…

I’m so thankful for Winter Workshops

Thanksgiving is around the corner! Every student got a special “present”–Winter Term Workshop Catalog!

Just a reminder, the academic calendar of Middlebury is “4-1-4”. Four months of fall semester (September-December), One month Winter Term (or J-term, in January) and four months of spring semester (February to May).

J-term is a fun time on campus. You may think “Really? Isn’t it always snowing in January? What can we do?” Oh well, Middlebury has all kinds of students who can make the snowing semester fun enough. Besides the non-traditional fun classes during J-term, there are also all kinds of student-led non-credit workshops.

This year there are over 100 winter workshops. Here are just a few examples: Acoustic Guitar, Art of Cosplay, Black and White Photography, Basket Weaving, Fencing, Hindi 101, Mahjong, Swing Dance, Ceramics, Wine tasting (21 or older)…

You may find a full list of this year’s winter workshops here:


Are the student instructors eligible to teach such a class? Can I actually learn something? The answer is “absolutely”. Middlebury students have talents that way beyond imagination. For example, the two instructors of “Fencing” workshop, Nicholas Tkach ’11 and Clark Hatheway ‘13, are fencing club’s captains and both fully certified Sith lords. The instructor of “Ballroom dancing”, Mark Turpin’11, comes from Germany and he’s an award-winning ballroom dancer. The instructor of “Beer Brewing” workshop (proof of age required), Carson Cornbrooks’11, has brewed beer for over a decade and is an expert on all kinds of beers. During “normal” academic time Mark is my German TA and Carson is one of my class project partners. Image that you go to class and hang out with an skilled dancer and a beer expert… How cool it is!

Have talent? Want to be a leader? Want to make some friends and earn some money? Just apply to be a winter workshop leader.

Want to try something but never had a chance? Want to learn from your peer? Want to hang out with friends and learn something? Just register for winter workshop. Simple enough!

That’s why Middlebury is trying hard to find the most diverse and interesting group of students every year for our campus. I am so thankful for being here!

Kan”Ye” Term

11/01/10 – 11/07/10. HUGE week.

Not only is candy the cheapest because Halloween was Sunday, but this week Middlebury college students choose our J-Term classes. J-Term? don’t you mean Kan”Ye” Term? HOW DID YOU GUESS? Here at Middlebury College we are on what we call a 4-1-4 system: 4 classes in the fall, one class during January and 4 classes in the spring. That means during J-Term you take one class for 4 weeks and you get one credit, completing a semester of class in 1/4 the time. “That sounds really terrible” you might think, well you would be so wrong.

During January I will have class from 10:30am-12:30am Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for a total of 8 hours a week, or almost exactly 4.8% of the 168 total hours I have to spend every 7 days. That means I will have an impossibly large amount of time to do whatever I want, which I’ll probably divide evenly between Wii tennis and ski racing. If you are a skier, want to learn how to ski or just like to brag, you’ll be so amped to know that Middlebury has its own mountain—the Middlebury College Snow Bowl—to which a free shuttle runs every 30 minutes, every day during January.  I only ask that you refrain from wearing your helmet and ski boots in the dining hall because it looks terrible and you get the floor all watery.

So when your friends at other college are pretending that they are really excited to have an extra month off during January to live with their parents and wish that they were back at college eating ice cream for breakfast, you’ll be hanging out here where its like summer camp, only it’s in the winter.

Oh, by the way don’t try to call J-Term, Kan”Ye” Term because no one will understand you.