It is time for a change of pace. The fall semester has come to a close, and for many students this provides a relatively brief break before beginning the January Term. J-term brings a range of possibilities for students—possibilities quite unlike those in a traditional semester.
For first-year students, this will be their first experience with January Term and the wonderful educational opportunities it provides. Students will be enrolled one of the 29 courses offered and immerse themselves in that one subject. They’ll get to know a faculty member in a different way, and the experience can propel students toward a possible major or minor. The pacing and structure of a J-term course is quite different from a traditional semester. Students may need to adjust their study habits and consider how to keep up with work over the three weeks. It will be different than taking three or four courses at one time over 14 weeks. I am envious of the opportunity students will have to dive into a first-year seminar.
For many returning students, J-term brings an opportunity to study in a different setting. This January, more than 270 Luther students will study across the world and explore subjects from different vantage points. For many students, this experience will be a highlight of their Luther career. The Luther website will follow some of these far-flung students through J-term blogs (blogs from last year are available as well). As they capture their journey, I hope our students will reflect upon what they are learning about the world and themselves. And when they return, I hope they will ask: How have I changed? What do I understand differently? What do I wish to further explore? It’s essential that they think about all of these questions and more.
Students who are not studying off-campus can use the January Term 2 option for independent study, research with a faculty member, clinical experiences, and internships and other experiential experiences. For many students, a January Term internship can lead to a summer internship and a deeper experience in which they can explore a career field of interest to them. Luther alumni frequently provide internship opportunities during January Term, with the Career Center assisting students in securing those and other opportunities. Given how critical internships and other experiential experiences are, students can also begin planning for January 2020!
Surprises can emerge from any J-term experience. For students who choose to immerse themselves deeply, J-term can offer a fundamental, life-changing time. Luther has developed a website highlighting the many features of this special term; I encourage you to explore it.