Wednesday, January 5, 2011

J-Term Survival Guide

You know, I always complain about how much I have to do during the semester, and then it gets done and I'm left like this. Grades were posted last week, which is really the last shreds of fall semester done with, and now it's just a few weeks until spring semester starts up!

There are lots of cool things during J-Term going on around campus, like an EMT class and rehearsals for a spring theater production. Of course, I'm not there to experience them. Instead, I've got some tips for surviving a J-Term away from 'home' at Mac:

1. G-Chat. Built right into the Macalester College mail system, you can use it to keep in touch with all your friends in one handy place! Statuses make it easy to tell your friends where you are and what you're up to. Other forms of electronic communication such as Skype, Facebook, and cell phones can also serve this purpose.

2. Reconnect with your old self. Find some of your old friends and meet up to catch up on your lives, or just explore where you're from! It's amazing the sorts of things you forget about when you're gone. I'm a big fan of going back to the museum I used to work at and catching up with the volunteers, and during nicer weather going to the beach and having bonfires. The latter isn't a feasible option in Northern Wisconsin in January, it turns out, but it's great to sort of fall back into your old routine for a while.
(Side note: A friend of mine from Macalester who would be mortified to know that I'm putting this story on here called me in a panic at 1 am a few weeks back because he couldn't remember how to find a certain store in his city. Having never even set foot in that state, I was clearly the best choice for that job. He called back the next day to tell me that his brother gently reminded him that it was next to his old workplace.)

3. Discover something new. Take up a new hobby, or get hooked on a new television show - or re-hooked on an old favorite! In a winter break past, I fell in love with Arrested Development and am currently plowing through The West Wing at an almost embarrassing pace. I've also discovered that I'm very good at absolutely destroying my brother at Mario Kart, and that there's a wooded path not far from my house that is perfect for walking my dog.

4. Brag - or complain - about the weather. This is almost a no-brainer. You go to school in Minnesota, and you'll be getting pretty used to the culture by the time your first winter break rolls around. You also, as a Mac student, will have friends from all over the world. What better way to merge these two facts into one glorious activity than to brag (or complain) about the weather to your friends in different temperate zones? A typical conversation:
Friend: Ha, it's 72 here today.
Me: It's ten below here.
Friend: Well, that's just too bad.