Should Jan Term be adjusted to support working college students?
By Riley Mulcahy
The vision behind Saint Mary’s Jan Term is noble, and having students take interesting courses outside of their major helps students create a more diverse experience at the college. However, one must question whether it makes sense for the college to mandate that every student participate during Jan Term, having one class, two or three hours a day?
In theory, students are supposed to take one class during Jan Term, and the homework load is not supposed to be as much as taking four courses in the fall and spring semesters. Classes include The History of K-Pop, Understanding Human Rights, or the Science of Beer. These classes give a certain depth, that I personally appreciate, other than your significant classes.
However, Jan Term becomes complicated when students have to fulfill multiple requirements to graduate, which means that there is a likelihood that a student will take a quarter unit class or another Jan Term. This entails more scheduling stress, with possibly four hours of instruction and double the amount of coursework just to keep up with the load.
As a student who works part-time, the structure of Jan Term is not overly problematic for me. I have to schedule work meetings in between classes and make sure that I am on top of my work, but I know that many students are not as lucky. I have a remote job, and if I needed to, I could ask for some time off work without there being a problem; however, students with off-campus jobs are inconvenienced. The disconnect between working students and Jan Term is that the format makes it difficult to have a stable work schedule. However, the educational value of Jan Term makes the inconvenience more understandable. Still, there must be a common ground in how SMC makes Jan Term more accessible, one example being allowing more online or hybrid classes to take place.
Melanie Moyer '22,