This is my second Winter Term on The College of Idaho campus, so I naively figured going into this January that I'd learned all the most important lessons about this accelerated 4-week period. Then I got back the first day and reminded myself of one very important thing: at C of I, if you're not learning something new or experencing new things every day, then you're doing something very wrong. Just because Winter Term is short doesn't mean there's nothing to be gained from it.
So I have always had mixed feelings about winter term here at The College of Idaho. On one end, we concentrate on one class, which is really, really nice, but on the other, we blaze through the term in four weeks. This gets a bit hectic.
Two years ago, I had no idea what an academic conference was. I assumed that professors and researchers just kind of hid in their labs and wrote things that only their obscure peers would read. Two years ago, I didn’t know anything about the active research process across any science, and I couldn’t have imagined that I’d be willing to buy a plane-ticket and drop a massive fee to hang out in a convention center with a bunch of psychologists.
I love Winter Term. Having three-hour classes sounded a little daunting to me, and knocking out credits in just four weeks sounded stressful, but it turns out that it's been everything but stressful. I’m taking two classes: Engineering Analysis and Intro to CAD. They are both on the computer, but that means that I don’t have too much homework outside of class. My first class doesn’t start until the afternoon. But wait, it gets even better: I don’t have any classes at all on Fridays!
It’s day seven for the London group, and today is our last in London for a bit. We’re all headed separate ways for side trips—there are some people Paris-bound, others heading for Bath, and a few for Scotland. I’m in the Paris group, and tomorrow, my three Paris-bound companions and I will be getting up around 5 am to catch the Tube up to St. Pancras station, where we will get on a Eurostar train to France. Two hours later, and we’ll be in the heart of Paris. But even with an early start tomorrow, we’re making the most of our London time.
Only three days into the London trip, and I’m exhausted. London is jam-packed with things to do, places to go, sights to see. At the end of the day, London leaves me visually overwhelmed and with one tired pair of feet. It’s a very good type of tired though, a type that comes with having not wasted a minute of the day.
I do work study in the art gallery, which means it is primarily my duty to man the gallery desk and try really hard to look important, but I've also been given the opportunity to hang a show and to help get ready for an exhibition by preparing the gallery and painting pedestals, as well as other assorted tasks. I was surprised at what goes into hanging peices; I hadn't thought about the need to measure so much to get the art properly distributed at eye level. It's really interesting!
Winter term at The College of Idaho is a wonderful and terrible thing. Wonderful because the classes are fun and the load is light. Terrible because winter is my arch nemesis. So, I cope by indulging in warm cups of goodness, slippers, and fuzzy throw blankets to ward off the coldness that I call "January"...thus far, an effective strategy until I need to walk to class or leave the apartment to forage for food. I have a theory that bears are more evolutionarily advanced than humans because we still have not adapted the ability to hibernate.
Tonight is my last in Caldwell for a few weeks—I’m off to London and Paris starting tomorrow. The suitcase is all packed up; I’ve stocked up on Ziploc bags, band-aids, and granola bars and have spent much of the last night writing out directions to and from different London and Paris metro stations.
I’ve had a lot of conversations about winter with my friends over the last few days. Monday was the first day of the winter session, and as I’m writing this, snow continues to fall. One of the things that I’ve grown to appreciate the most about our campus is how much it reflects the seasons. Granted, I’m from Boise and I’ve dealt with snow since infancy, but I don’t think I’d be able to deal with the perpetual summer that some colleges enjoy. Caldwell (and The College) is firmly bound to the mountainous climate of Idaho.