Many institutions of higher education offer a shorter term of classes in the middle of the year, between semesters or at the end of the school year. On average they range from two to four weeks and allow students to be able finish a course on a shortened timeline.
Taylor offers this shortened term in January before the start of the spring semester.
Every choice for January Interterm (J-term) gives an ample amount of space to grow and learn. Students may choose to stay on campus, study abroad or go home, while a few also choose to fit in an internship or research opportunity.
Each Taylor student has a different perspective and experience with J-term, and enjoying this time is less dependent upon which option you choose, and more dependent on if you are intentional about thinking about how you will make the most out of the month.
At the Echo Editorial Board, we believe that students should carefully weigh their J-term options and choose an approach that will work best for them individually.
According to records supplied by Steve Dayton, Taylor’s institutional research analyst, in January 2020, 1,500 students who were eligible to return registered for on-campus classes — that is 84% of the student body.
Dayton said, “In January 2020, 328 of the 1,500 students participated in off-campus programs. That would be typical.”
Of these 328, 77 students were involved with Lighthouse trips; the rest were with a trip related to their specific major.
Each on-campus experience for those students that choose to remain at Taylor is different. Some find the month difficult because of the course load and the cold weather, but others think it is the best month on campus due to the reduced class schedule.
Having the same class with the same people each day allows relationships with the people around you to grow. The cold weather restricts many activities, so people get creative on campus and create long lasting memories.
Junior Sophie Snyder was on campus for J-term both her freshman and sophomore years. She took Health Psychology and Biblical Literature 2.
She said, “I enjoyed being on campus and only taking one class because it allowed time for a lot of other things and the ability to be intentional with the smaller group of people who stayed.”
Despite finding winter a challenging time, Snyder found it to be fun and was able to stay active and entertained. She would recommend staying on campus at least once or twice.
Another way to spend J-term is off campus. Junior Jackson Ridge was a freshman when he had the chance to study abroad in Greece and Italy.
Ridge would recommend taking at least one J-term to travel abroad.
He said, “It gets you outside of the Taylor bubble and makes you ask hard questions. There is so much of God's creation and people that you know nothing about … It also just gives you a chance to see our faith through the eyes of a different culture which was one of the most eye opening experiences.”
It has allowed him to make new friends, learn more about himself and grow closer to God.
Spending time immersed in a different culture gives you experience to come back to Taylor and see it in a new light. You will spend a month with people from different dorms around campus and create new friendships with the people on your trip.
Senior Linnea Solak has stayed home for two J-terms in 2019 and 2020. She completed an internship for one of them, and took an online class for the other.
Solak said she would recommend taking an online Foundational Core Class.
“It was nice to be able to zone in on just one class,” she said, “I could really put all my effort into one place instead of trying to juggle everything all at once.”
The online class at home gave Solak a relaxing time to enjoy a course that wasn’t mixed in with her other major classes.
Taking an online class provides an outlet where you can work at your own pace and get a class off your schedule for the fall or spring semester.
Each J-term option has its perk. If you stay on campus, free credits are offered and the only fee is room and board. Staying home and not participating in J-term will save money, and traveling gives you a space to learn in a different environment.
There are many study abroad options to choose from, each offering a unique chance to experience the world in a new way. On a trip to Greece and Italy you get to experience following the footsteps of where Paul walked, A trip to the Education department will let you teach in a new culture, a trip to Egypt will take you to see the pyramids and every trip will allow you to meet people who are different from you.
Whether working with refugees in Greece, or walking to BIO 100 in the snow, J-term can be a formative month in your time at Taylor. Take advantage of the opportunities offered within your years at Taylor and find what works best for you.