My Jan-Term Experience

For many of you who may not be aware, or who may not attend University of La Verne, our school is on a semester-based schedule, but we do have something we like to call "Jan-Term." Jan-Term is essentially our quick, four-week long equivalent to a winter session. During this shortened semester, students at La Verne have the choice to either take a six-week long winter vacation (since our fall semester ends the second week of December and our spring semester does not officially start until the first week of February) or they can take a two-week bring and use the remaining four weeks to take a class or two "for free" during the month of January. We like to say that the class is "free" because it is essentially included in our tuition for the spring semester, so there is no actual added cost to take this class, as long as you are at, or below, 5 units. Students at La Verne typically love this option because they have complete freedom to either have an entire month of school to "treat yo self" or take a class or two and get ahead on units, or take a class that they either would prefer to take without having to spend a whole semester in, or just for fun.

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For the three years I have attended La Verne, I have taken a Jan-Term class each year. They all differ in terms of trying to fulfill certain requirements and/or just getting them over with, or just for fun. My first year, I took a "Music History Appreciation" class, which was super fun and we were able to get into our own "bands" and learn to play the recorder, while also learning the very roots of music and just how much it has changed and developed and become where it stands today.

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My second year, I decided to finally step up and learn to play the guitar by taking "Guitar Workshop," since it was a skill I had been wanting to learn for quite some time and never dedicated time to, so that class definitely kick-started my motivation to do so! I was able to learn simple notes and scales that have allowed for me to know enough of the basics to challenge myself to learn actual songs. We even had the opportunity to learn some songs that I have grown up listening to and even enjoy hearing to this day.

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Then, this past and most recent Jan-Term, I decided to take "Anthropology: Equity and Diversity in Schools." I intially took this class as a means of trying to quickly finish my Education minor by taking an education elective class that is approved by my advisor, since that was the last requirement I needed to fulfill to complete my minor classes. But, as it turned out, this class became so much more to me than just a requirement. As strange as it sounds, this one class, in the duration of four weeks, reminded me just why and how much I enjoy school and learning. This course constantly kept me on my toes and it was a great refersher to be able to discuss subjects and concepts that I typically do not get the opportunity to in my major (English), since I finished my GE requirements a year ago and have been taking nothing but English classes for the entirety of this 2018-2019 school year.

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In this one Anthropology class, I felt I was able to step into the shoes of an anthropologist, a biologist, an observer, a philosopher, and a writer all through the assignments and overall structure of the class, which I completely enjoyed. Since we focused a lot on the topic of the American education system and its many flaws, we had the opportunity to visit a local, Charter, low-income elementary school to observe and implement our beliefs/philosophies that we had studied during class. Aside from that assignment, we also were instructed to interview two people who we knew attended low-income schools in order to receive their perspectives on their experiences and education. With all the analysis we were able to gather, implemented those two assignments (along with research), we had to write on a paper based on what we observed/experienced and how we believe that may play a part in impacting our education system. Let me tell you, when I say I have never been more excited to actually work on a project in my life, I mean it. As dorky as it sounds, I do hold education very closely to my heart and it hurts me to say that we live in a society where our education system is inequal, biased, unfair, and it has the power to ensure failure for a particular type of student, which is why I was 100% stoked to be able to not only take this class, but also learn and experience many of the things that I was able to because of my professor, so at the end of the day I'm glad that she helped to assist in opening my eyes to the many ways our education system as a whole can improve because the possibilities are endless.

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