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The most wonderful time of the year: Jan Term

Ah, Jan term, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. It’s an extended holiday break for some, a chance to get out of the country for others. It can provide an opportunity to make extra cash, a chance to enjoy campus without the stress of a full class load, or a chance to focus on athletics.

We get four of them, so it’s likely that you’ll change up how you spend this joyous month from year to year while at McDaniel. The deal is, though, that all McDaniel students take one Jan term, either in the form of an on-campus class or a trip, in order to earn a degree.

Taking a trip is a great way to see other countries and cultures without going away for a whole semester. These classes take many forms, from service trips in Zimbabwe to scuba diving in Nicaragua to tracing the plot of the novel Dracula from England to Romania.

There are even domestic trips, such as one that I took to California during my freshman year to study counterculture and Beat poetry. That trip is definitely among the top things I’ve done in college because I got to spend three weeks on the West Coast at a low cost.

Some friends and me inside a fallen redwood during my Jan term  in California

Some friends and me inside a fallen redwood during my Jan term in California

On campus, things are quiet and calm due to the small number of people on campus. Classes such as “Latinos in Hollywood” and “Natural-Born Cyborgs” allow students do explore topics of interest without the stress of a full course load.

Beyond classes, students also stay on campus for athletics and work. Last Jan term, I worked out with the track team and worked a few hours a day, allowing me to compete in indoor track meets and head into the spring semester with some extra cash in my pocket.

Of course, there’s always the option to spend time at home or plan an individual trip during Jan term. Our break between semesters is a month and a half long, offering a solid chance to kick back and recuperate after a long few months of schoolwork.

Many McDaniel students agree that Jan term is the best part of the year, especially because there’s so many ways to spend it. Whether you’re itching to get out of the country or just don’t want the holiday break to end, Jan term will surely provide some of your most magical college memories.

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