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J-Term gets a bad rap, and it shouldn’t

<p>Winter break is great for some and far too long for others.</p>

Winter break is great for some and far too long for others.

Oxford's quiet streets get quieter after Dec. 17. Chipotle is missing its infamously long line, and Kofenya has open booths. A winter break in Oxford is odd, yes, but it isn’t so bad. 

Miami University’s “J-term” this year was a three-and-a-half week term pushing the spring semester to Jan. 29. This means a long winter break for Miami students: six weeks in total. The break can sound daunting, but it’s extra time for students to work, travel, study or simply relax after a grueling fall semester.

At the end of my junior year, I finally had a rough idea of how I wanted to use my majors post-graduation. Yet at that point, I didn’t have time to get an internship to place me on the path I wanted. But at that precarious moment, I realized I had six whole weeks off for winter break — time that allowed me to find an internship and work part-time to get the experience I was lacking. 

I like to think that I have a high level of self control (when my doctor told me to stop sucking my thumb at 5 years old, I never did it again). Taking the initiative to seek out winter term opportunities can be difficult. I had to search in early October to have a job lined up for our winter term. 

Miami also only seems to push two options to occupy the winter term: taking a class or studying abroad. The average student likely can’t do either without scholarships or a passport — especially if you’re out of state.

But this year, I received an email from my data analytics adviser with a solution: micro-internships. The department organized several three-to-four-week internships with local companies and organizations, specifically designed for the winter term. Brilliant! 

Although I already had my internship, I was excited to see the department taking the initiative to provide professional development opportunities to students with nothing to do over the grueling six weeks. 

Our winter term is a privilege, and it’s a huge benefit of attending Miami, but the university should aim to offer more opportunities, services and advice for students during this unique, extra term. 

More departments should organize micro-internships for students, Miami should consider sending out a flyer with advice and ideas for students to spend their time and how to best focus on mental wellness. 

I was in my house, alone, for five whole weeks, which was nice and peaceful, but sometimes quite boring. So why don’t more students stay over break? I mean, how fun would it be to gallivant around Oxford without classes, and few responsibilities? Sorry Oxford residents, I know how valuable time without the student body on campus can be.

An extended winter break is also built-in wellness time for students to recover between semesters. 

Not only did I work part-time, I had the time to read, consistently exercise, get back into old hobbies and have the longest ‘Sunday reset’ ever, without the stress of school or holidays surrounding me. 

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I suggest spending a January in Oxford at least once and using it to your advantage. Take up that hobby you’ve been talking about for years, sleep in and find a resume-building job or a fun one. 

Trust me, J-term isn’t that bad when you know how to use it. 

Ava Kalina is a senior from northern Virginia double majoring in diplomacy & global politics as well as data analytics while pursuing her certificate in geographic information sciences. She has been an opinion and GreenHawks columnist for two years at The Student.