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So what's the deal with January term?

spiritinthenightspiritinthenight Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
edited July 2011 in Smith College
Do most people do it? What exactly are your options besides classes and travel? And my mom would like to know whether you pay extra to stay for j-term or if it's included in tuition/housing. Thanks!
Post edited by spiritinthenight on

Replies to: So what's the deal with January term?

  • McPucks1357McPucks1357 Registered User Posts: 388 Member
    The costs of J-term are included in tuition and housing. I personally love J-term; it's a chance to enjoy smith without the stress of classes if you so choose. I haven't taken any J-term classes, but have been around playing hockey, hanging out with friends, and generally enjoying Camp Smith. Last year I even went to a conference in California to present my research all expenses paid.

    Plenty of people do take classes during J-term. Some classes last a week, some the whole time. There are really various time commitments, so you can spend as much or little time as you want in class. There are even non-credit classes taught by students and members of the community such as cooking classes, billiards, and coffee roasting.

    The first week tends to be pretty quiet, with not many people around. The second week it picks up a little. By the third week I would say that 2/3 - 3/4 of students are back on campus. The last Wednesday of J-term there are always tons of smithies at Divas, the local night club.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Registered User Posts: 3,038 Senior Member
    You do not pay extra to stay over J-Term, nor are you required to be there. Some people just take a five week vacation and stay at home until spring semester starts. I did that once, and then I quickly decided that two weeks at home with my parents full time was more than enough for a winter break, and I went back to school for J Term after that.

    You can do whatever you want. You can take classes, but you don't have to. There are some for-credit classes offered, but most J Term classes are not for credit. They're cooking classes and art classes and other things like that. You can volunteer to teach a class even, if you have a skill that you think would make it worthwhile. I knew a student who taught a tae kwon do class during j term, for example. If you choose not to take a class, you can just chill out on campus with your friends. It doesn't cost extra and it's fun to be on campus without the stress of classes or papers. You can watch movies, go sledding, read books, sleep in, redecorate your dorm room, just do whatever. It's a great time to re-charge your batteries before diving into the next semester.

    i don't know how many people do it, but all of my friends did and we always had a blast. It was one of our favorite parts of the year.
  • spiritinthenightspiritinthenight Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    Wow that all sounds great. Thanks to both of you! So what do/did you think about the course offerings over j-term? Worthwhile? Are the student-led classes reviewed by the school or something before they're offered to make sure they're legit?
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Registered User Posts: 3,038 Senior Member
    You have to apply to teach a J-term class, so yes, they're reviewed somewhat. I never took classes during J-term, I just either worked or chilled, or some combination thereof. I had friends that took some cooking classes and one that took an opera appreciation class which included a trip to New York to see an Opera at the Met at the end of the class (I think there was a small fee for that class, to help cover transportation and tickets). They seemed to enjoy them, but I just was never interested enough in a course to let it disrupt my busy schedule of sleeping late, reading, planning bar outings, going for tramps in the woods, and picking out movies for movie night.
  • McPucks1357McPucks1357 Registered User Posts: 388 Member
    I also haven't taken a class, but friends of mine have enjoyed the IDP 150, 151, 152 series (AutoCAD, solid works, rapid prototyping). One of my friends took a geology class which involved scuba diving in the Bahamas for the three weeks. There are many 1 week book based courses, which can be hit or miss. The specific classes offered really vary year to year, so it's hard to say what will be offered this year except for the standards. The list comes out late in the fall, pretty shortly before registration.
  • overwhelmedmaoverwhelmedma Registered User Posts: 431 Member
    My daughter was there while taking an EMT course at another college and signed up for a short southern cooking class on campus which turned out to be fantastic and from which we have all still benefited:)
  • CarolynBCarolynB Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    My daughter in January of her first year took an Intro to Archives class for credit for two weeks. After some general introduction about various aspects of archival work, they wound up visiting different archives in the area. My daughter as a STRIDE student had been working in the Sophia Smith Archives and so was somewhat familiar with some of the course material, but the course cemented her decision to declare a Concentration in Archives (in other words, a multi-discipinary minor).
  • MomwaitingfornewMomwaitingfornew Registered User Posts: 5,821 Senior Member
    My daughter skipped J-term her first year, although she used it to go back a few days early. She took a course (or maybe two) her second year and loved the experience, but decided that she really could have used more of a break before starting a heavy-course-load spring semester. The next two J-terms she went back to Smith on the first or second day of J-Term and spent the time hanging out with friends, going to the movies, shopping in town -- enjoying Smith without the work.
  • susgeeksusgeek Registered User Posts: 1,603 Senior Member
    ^^overwhelmedma, do they regularly offer cooking classes?

    D and I were just talking about this - she would LOVE to take a class like that.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Registered User Posts: 3,038 Senior Member
    I think every year I was there they offered cooking classes, though they don't always offer the same ones. One of my friends took a Singaporean cooking class that she really enjoyed, and she always had lots of leftovers to share at dinner.
  • spiritinthenightspiritinthenight Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    If you aren't taking a class or doing anything specific/scheduled, do you need to let Smith know ahead of time when you'll be going back, or can you just play it by ear and go back whenever you're ready?
  • phanaticphanatic Registered User Posts: 849 Member
    ^You can just go back whenever you want without letting them know.
  • roseperpetualroseperpetual Registered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
    So I could theoretically take a two-week winter break at home and then take a week-long class or two during J-term? Both the for-credit and not-for-credit classes offered sound interesting.
  • phanaticphanatic Registered User Posts: 849 Member
    You absolutely could do that, roseperpetual.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Registered User Posts: 3,038 Senior Member
    In fact, the two week winter break part you have to do. Everyone has to leave campus for the period between the end of exams and New Year's, that's official "Winter Break" and campus is closed. But you could totally extend that to say a three week break at home and then come back for two weeks of J-term. However you want to slice it is completely up to you.

    I think even if you aren't going to do the whole of J-term (though, really, staying for all of J-term is awesome), it's a really good idea to plan to arrive at least a week before spring semester starts. It gives you time to unpack, get settled, get your school supplies and books in order, sort out your schedule, etc. My first year, when I stayed home for all of J-Term, I came back the day before spring semester started and that was not fun at all.
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