J-Term Hibernation

J-Term Hibernation

Ice Forest

One of the perks of attending Columbia College Chicago is a little thing called J-Term. During J-Term accelerated classes are offered in certain departments (mostly undergrad) allowing the ambitious to get some extra credits in before the semester begins, or, if you’re like many students who opt out, giving students a longer winter break to recover, recoup, and prepare for a new term. Plus, it happens during the more brutal part of Chicago winters, which is always a plus on those days when you just can’t imagine dragging yourself downtown for class.

Thankfully, J-Term also gives instructors, including Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) like myself, more time to prepare for the next term. With all the chaos of the holidays and the traveling that comes with them, it would be challenging to fit in all of the prep work I wanted to accomplish for the next term—trying out supplemental readings and films as well as planning assignments and course progression. It also gives some much needed time to catch up on writing projects that may have slipped away during the term due to other, more pressing deadlines.

Not nice, Chicago!

On the flipside, J-Term can contribute to a symptom of Chicago winter unease: cabin fever. If you work from home or have an on-campus job that doesn’t start back up until the spring semester, it’s easy to stay cooped up inside, especially when the temperatures are in the single digits (or below zero!). How do you avoid gnawing off your arm in the midst of a brutal winter month without class?

  1. Read all the books your professors recommended during lectures last term but you didn’t get a chance to pick up during the semester.
  1. Sort though the ever-growing pile of paper that accumulated in your binder from the last term, deciding what to keep/file and what to toss in the trash.
  1. Netflix marathons! Lose track of your favorite show during the term? Catch up and don’t leave your couch for days! Just kidding, sort of.
  1. Cook. Who has time to prepare fancy meals during the semester? Indulge in the luxury of time and make some delicious home-cooked meals.
  1. If you’re brave enough to weather the elements and leave your apartment, hit the gym! If you’re like me, those good intentions during the last semester may have fallen slightly to the wayside…get back on it!
  1. Deep-clean your apartment. You’ve got enough time on your hands if you can get out from under that blanket. Brrrr.
  1. Sleep in past 6 am. You’ve earned it.
  1. Write (duh!)

Preparing to Brave -15

What are your tips for making it through the coldest parts of winter?