J-term is in full swing at Luther. It is strange to be on campus, as I was abroad the past two J-terms. My sophomore year, I studied Religion and Politics in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. The course focused primarily on how religion can create boundaries, and through this lens we examined the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and issues surrounding water (primarily the Jordan River). This is probably the best experience I've ever had - the course was AMAZING, the people I traveled with all became quick and lasting friends, and the Old City of Jerusalem is the coolest place I've ever been, hands down. My junior year I studied Religion and Politics again, this time in the Netherlands, England, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium. The course focused on Western responses to the Muslim "other" - it was a really fascinating time to be studying how our culture at large responds to Islam, as the Charlie Hebdo attacks occurred the first day we were in Europe. This course has helped me to better understand Islamophobia, although I definitely still have a lot to learn.
This J-term is totally different, as I'm on campus, living alone in my apartment. While most students take one four-credit class, I'm taking two one-credit classes and a two-credit class. That plus working is keeping me super busy!
The most fun course I'm taking this term is Swimming. I swam a lot when I was younger, but really haven't been in a pool for the past 10 years or so. I am not at all good, but I really enjoy being in the water. It's a good workout, and I feel like I've improved already!
I'm also working on my senior project, a year long collaboration between a lot of departments on campus. This week I'll be starting to do a lot of work on it -- two alumni are leading events, and we are filming a mini-documentary on one of the Movement Fundamentals alumna (with a rather impressive budget, and she's getting her hair and make-up done.. I'm going to try my best to have my hair dry as I'm coming from swimming!)
I'm also working in the Laboratory for the Investigation of Mind, Body, & Spirit for my last two credits. One of the schools I applied to for Occupational Therapy required an additional two credits of Developmental Psych, so I'm doing some reading on the aging process and also delivering surveys at local nursing homes about trauma and forgiveness. Additionally, I'm working on a project on mindfulness that has some pretty amazing results.
Although I'm staying pretty busy, J-term is more relaxed than the regular school year. I've been able to spend more nights with friends, go away to visit graduated friends for a weekend, watch tv (!), and I even managed to take a two hour nap this afternoon. J-term is a great change of pace from my normal hectic college schedule!