So, at the beginning of January I made a post outlining what J-term is and gave my first impressions of my class. Now, after having taken the class and experiencing my first J-term at Luther, I’d like to talk about it a little more in depth. Before I dive in, here’s a little warning: if you haven’t read my post from January 8th, I would recommend doing so before reading this one.
The class ended up being just as awesome as I hoped. Everyday we had really fun, interesting, and sometimes included confrontational discussions about the Beatles, Christianity, drugs, meditation, philosophy, and all sorts of interesting topics. The enthusiasm in the class was what made the discussions interesting because most of the class actually wanted to discuss the topics. People loved building on other people’s thoughts as well as disagreeing with other people’s thoughts. These disagreements would usually result in our professor, Todd, joyfully declaring a “fight” between the disagreeing parties and having them verbally joust about the issue at hand.
The workload in the class was very manageable (though this doesn’t seem to be true for all J-term classes and never felt like busy-work. The assigned reading was relevant and almost always interesting. It felt almost dream-like to actually have a class where the central topic was the Beatles and where listening to Beatles songs was seen as studying. I looked forward to class pretty much everyday, and was actually quite disappointed when Todd had to cancel class one day.
Todd made the class so much better in so many ways. He guided discussion very well and wanted to hear every student’s opinion, while still offering his own knowledge and opinions on subjects. He had high expectations for our participation and homework responses, but gave great feedback and was also very understanding of individual circumstances. For example, he allowed me to take the second half of the final during my lunch break so that I could make it to Minneapolis in time for a concert! However, by far the coolest thing that he allowed us to do was to come to his house for a night of desserts and Beatles music. A very good portion of the class showed up on Tuesday night and we had so much fun. The food was great, and we spent an hour or so sitting around the piano with guitars and such singing and playing Beatles songs. It was a really spectacular night and was an opportunity that is unique to small schools like Luther.
This class was brilliant. Not only did I love the subject, the readings and discussions challenged views that I held about eastern religion, psychedelic drugs, and several other ideas about religion. While I’m excited to start spring semester, I (and every fellow class member I’ve spoken too) will miss this class and remember it very fondly. I encourage any future Luther students to take a J-term that interests them, not just one that relates to their major.