Opinion: First year without J-term is a positive adjustment


Illustration by Rachel Schuldt

This is the first school year I have had at Lindenwood without doing J-term, and I honestly think it is for the better.

For anyone who is not familiar, Lindenwood used to have a six-week winter break with an option of coming back three weeks early to take one class. Participating in this term was free as long as you were registered in both fall and spring semesters.

J-term is no longer offered, though. Multiple valid reasons were given for getting rid of the option.

The cost of having all of those students back on campus and professors to teach the classes at no extra charge I’m sure was very expensive for the university.

Also, participation from students was down, not leaving the school a whole lot of reason to continue it.

Getting rid of the option did come with a drop in credit requirements to 120 from 128 as well. This seems like a fair compromise for giving students fewer terms to complete these credits.

The participation decline could easily be related to the classes offered. The last term I did I wanted to take a gen-ed class, but there were few to pick from.

Most of them were cross-culturals, which I already had covered, so I ended up taking a fine arts class even though I had hoped to take one over a regular, full semester.

Mostly electives were offered, but if the gen-ed you needed wasn’t offered, a lot of students wouldn’t want to come back early for an elective.

At the end of the day, however, it was not working great on either end.

I get that some students are sad to no longer have the J-term experience that offered them extra time on campus to bond with friends. I miss some of the elective options that were exclusive to J-term. I also miss the chance to get a class out of the way, or three more weeks of vacation.

At the same time, I don’t think enough students were benefiting to justify the financial cost to the university. I’m also not convinced that the crammed learning of an entire semester’s material into three weeks is the best learning style for students to actually retain the information.

There are fewer credit hours required to graduate, and we still get four weeks of vacation.

I think the first year without J-term is an adjustment, but in a positive way.