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J-term not productive time for first-years

O’hea is a first-year law, politics and society and journalism double major and can be reached at olivia.ohea@drake.edu

Drake’s new J-term program is an exciting opportunity for students and faculty-alike — unless you’re a first-year student that is. Running from Jan. 7-25, students can travel or take an extra class with topics ranging from Robot Programming and Control Theory to Leadership at Sea (yes, in the Bahamas!) to Theories of Myths and Archetypes: Harry Potter and the Golden Fleece. I don’t even need to read the course descriptions to know that I want to take them all, but as a first-year, I’ll be forced to stay at home while all the sophomore, juniors and seniors get to cruise around the Caribbean, read Harry Potter and program robots. If there was ever a time I’ve felt like the ragtag, excluded younger sibling, this is it.

Winter break is long. Six weeks long to be exact. That’s 42 days — not that I’m counting. In high school, this would’ve made me the happiest student in the world — six weeks to hang out with my friends? Awesome, I’ll take it. Now, however, all my friends live in different states and a few in different countries. I love my family, but if fall break was any indication, six weeks will be way too much family time with way too little best friend time. I can’t talk to my parents about wanting to go back either — one time on the phone, I accidentally called Stalnaker my “home,” and I think my mother cried for a week straight.

So what’s a poor first-year to do when the university discards her? I can only watch so many seasons of “30 Rock.” I have no desire to take a part time job at the local mall — if I can’t handle my parents for six weeks straight, I certainly can’t handle cranky, post-Christmas consumers who need to exchange virtually every gift they received. My plan is to sleep, eat and potentially write my memoirs — the story of a poor little first-year left all alone in Rockton, Ill. It will be a six-week-long pity party, and all the first-years are invited.


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