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Winter Study-The Cold Hard Facts, Please

One of the comments posted on “Speak Up!” raises some interesting points about Winter Study. Parent ’12 says:

I have one idea for a topic, which relates to David’s posts and examples for cost cutting. Up front I want to make it clear that I’m not advocating for this.

How much would be saved if the Winter Study Program didn’t exist? I thought of this because I believe the college is attempting to save on utility bills over part of the December break by turning off heat in buildings. Obviously, there’s more to save than utilities, but what would it be?

All good questions, and ones that will surely inspire commentary. But they are also questions that made me realize how little I know about Winter Study.

My son has led me to understand that the primary objective of WSP is to have the opportunity to approach new and exciting subject matter, under the less stressful conditions imposed by a pass/fail grading system. I know he did exactly that his Freshman year and enjoyed it, and that he looks forward to the upcoming WSP. But that isn’t a lot of information.

A preliminary search then led me to Willipedia, which provided (in what I have come to know as the Willi style) a plethora of humorous (and opinionated) particulars. Some highlights:

*”The courses […] may seem silly and frivolous…”
*”You have a lot more free time…”
*”Get outside and play in the snow. If you don’t, you’re pathetic.”
*”…the main purpose of Winter Study is to fall in love.”

All…ahem…interesting comments, but I still didn’t have a clear idea of WSP.

So next, I paid a visit to the Williams website and the 09 WSP course catalog. There I saw classes ranging from “Knitting” to “Opera Workshop”, from “Boxing” to “Work of the Supreme Court”. While all enticing choices, they present such a wild variety as to leave me with even more questions. What exactly is Winter Study? How did it come about? What are it’s main objectives? How do we consider cutting something, unless we have a clear idea of it’s value to the students?

The fact that it’s in the dead of winter, indicates that doing away with it could save a lot of energy costs (as P’12 implies) while providing an extended break to students (and professors) at a time when the cold, gray days of a Berkshires winter might well be weighing on their psyches. Unless of course, there is very real value in taking a class where the emphasis is on the pleasure of learning, rather than achieving a perfect grade.

So, with all this in mind, I’d like to hear from you. What were your most memorable Winter Study experiences? And, is it a program the college should consider cutting? Or is it, in fact, an indispensable part of a Williams education?

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#1 Comment By anon On December 14, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

The point of Winter Study is to give the spring sports teams far more time to practice. Period.

#2 Comment By Ronit On December 14, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

Winter Study was a godsend for me during senior year, because it was the only time I could actually focus on finding a job, and do interviews without being insanely stressed out or unprepared. It is very, very hard to do interviews or grad school applications while taking a full course load (of course if I had my druthers, Williams would have a more flexible calendar that would allow students to take more courses earlier on and taper off in senior year).

I know kids who would be unemployed if it weren’t for winter study, and others who had to drop courses in the fall because they simply could not handle the stress of job search + 4 courses (especially if one of those courses was a thesis). Not dumb kids, either, but extremely smart, hardworking kids who collapsed from nervous breakdowns trying to keep up high academic standards while doing well in interviews. Current seniors, especially, will need all the help they can get.

You could argue that a longer winter break would give seniors the same amount of time to look for a job from home, but it helps to be on campus where you can attend on-campus interviews in a more-or-less prepared state of mind. WSP is the perfect time for scheduling on-campus interviews. Also, for students from far-flung regions, attending interviews in the Boston-New York-DC area (which constitutes the major job market for Williams grads) is much easier during WSP than it would be if they were at home or had to arrange temporary housing in the Northeast over the break. It is also, needless to say, much easier to travel to off-campus interviews during WSP than during regular semesters (this is not, however, to suggest that Williams’s location is anywhere near ideal for job-searching, but it is a lot easier to take a day or two off to go to New York during WSP than during the rest of the year).

Apart from that, Winter Study is useful because it lets students study some things that would not be justifiable to include in the regular curriculum, like Accounting. I will grant that a number of WSP courses are less than academically demanding, and something ought to be done to make them somewhat more serious.

David Kane would probably point out another benefit of winter study (falling in love), but I disagree with this one.

#3 Comment By David On December 14, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

1) In a 1980 study, the College actually considered closing during Winter Study. The cost savings were trivial. You still need to pay everyone. You still need to heat most buildings (faculty go to Paresky, use the gym, go to the library and so on). Now, we would have the added complication of lots of international students, for whom going home more than once a year may not make sense.

2) The best purpose of Winter Study, whether stated or not, is to spend lots of time with your Williams friends when you are not so busy with classes. Lots of good stuff (falling in love related and otherwise) goes on during Winter Study, stuff that students might not find time for during the regular semester. Any attempt to end Winter Study would probably meet with widespread revolt. Other than the JA/entry system, it is one of the central aspects of Williams.

3) I (and many faculty) would not mind seeing an end to no-work WSP classes. There is nothing wrong with a course on Boxing as long as the professor assigns a lot of work and the students do it.

#4 Comment By Jonathan ’05 On December 14, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

Ronit is absolutely right about WSP being a critical time to seek your summer or post-graduation job, but more generally WSP is the critical time to do ALL those things you know you want to do and need that month of needing to be at Williams, but a full-time student only in name. Jobs, yes, but also the far more myriad dreams of my peers came to life in WSP, things like going ice fishing, building a treehouse (still there, in a secret location), and teaching each other our crazy talents in the student-taught classes of Free University are all the things that flourish yearly when you give them the space. They are not adornments to the mission of the college, they are unique triumphs within it.

Rooting through the College Council office, I once stumbled on whitepapers from a debate among faculty in the late 90s, I think, over whether to keep Winter Study. I don’t have this document because I found it only in paper form, but I remember it enough to know that WSP has gone on the chopping block before, or at least the surgeon’s table. Needless to say, they kept it, with what changes I do not know.

I am sure the erosion of class seriousness has been a concern before, but it oughtn’t be a big one. Professors’ own desires to teach nonserious classes drive their supply as much as student demand for them does. And though I sat and listened to a dean personally tell me how improper he thought it was that there was an Automotive Mechanics class, I sat there thinking to myself, “I am taking that.” I slept through half of it. Remarkably, though, I learned enough to have the confidence and knowledge to repair my own aging Pontiac twice now, saving hundreds.

Of course my saving a few hundred bucks doesn’t justify a course, but Winter Study is a classic salad bar: as long as there’s room for bins of tough vegetables and soft fleshy ones, why rule out one kind? The presence of gut WSPs taken by others did not at all weaken my experience. I did not take advantage of my opportunity to do a 99 (independently proposed project) but some friends did, to life-changing profit. Anyone who at all evaluates WSP by its classes is entirely missing the point. The month is about what you choose to do with it; hopefully you choose to accomplish some of those big aspirations you’ve had to put off.

I appreciate the need to rejustify everything these days, and there’s no doubt that there would be facilities savings aplenty. But like the JA system, this is unequaled in other colleges to my knowledge. It is also Good. Its diminishing would indeed be met with revolt, and I’d be clamoring to be in the front line.

#5 Comment By eph ’07 On December 14, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

Winter Study doesn’t have much academic purpose, I think its purposes are expressly non-academic and non-utilitarian (apart from the job search and internship opportunities Ronit mentions). Letting students relax for a little while and spend more time making and nurturing friendships or relationships on campus is a very valuable part of the current Williams experience. It’s definitely one that drew me to Williams over other liberal arts colleges without similar programs, and I bet there were and are plenty of other hard-working, exhausted high school seniors who thought the same. I actually wonder if ending it, while saving money, would hurt Williams in admission because they would lose that draw over similar schools.

#6 Comment By Another ’05 Eph On December 14, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

I took 3 winter study classes at Williams (senior year I was working on my thesis, which counts as a WSP credit). First year I took a class on social justice and mental illness with Laurie Heatherington in Psych and Craig Wilder who at the time was in History and is now at Dartmouth; sophomore year I went to Panama with Al Goethals and 9 other students; and junior year I was in the knitting class.

All three were very valuable. The class on mental illness had two field trips: one to Gould Farm in Monterey, MA, which is a residential community for adults with major mental illness where guests work with clinical staff and volunteers on a working farm (which I believe supplies the College with some local food products). We stayed overnight and worked, had meals, and chatted with guests and staff. The other trip was to a drop-in day program in Pittsfield, where we visited for a day. Dr. Heatherington tried to get us to a state-run inpatient hospital, but ran into too many roadblocks. The gist of the course was that there are a lot of misconceptions about folks with major mental illness and the quality of care and prospects for quality of life vary dramatically depending on what sorts of facilities you have access to. It’s pretty easy to understand that intellectually, but the trips and the discussions we had continue to have an effect on me.

Panama was another outstanding experience, largely by virtue of the fact that Al Goethals (no longer at Williams) had incredible connections in Panama because his grandfather was George Goethals, chief engineer of the Panama Canal. The class was in the leadership studies department and we met with leading figures in government, public policy, economic development, media, and so on. Plus, it’s not a bad deal to spend a New England January in Panama.

Knitting was probably the hardest of the classes I took, insofar as I am reasonably astute and like to read and discuss ideas, but it turns out I have absolutely no aptitude for knitting. The final project was to be a sweater, and I probably ought to have failed the class, since all I managed to eke out was a variegated green knit backless halter top. I think it was the extra credit scarves that saved me. In addition to the actual craft, there were readings and discussion about the history of knitting (it is very old), how it came to be a gendered activity (men used to knit things), and we took a trip to Vermont to see raw wool being combed, spun, and dyed.

It would be hard to argue that every class offers academic rigor on par with that during the year. On the other hand, I’m not sure that’s a requirement, since the purpose of the classes is to either pursue some interest you have more in depth, stretch into another discipline that you have a passing interest in but wouldn’t spend a semester class on, or to take it easy and enjoy your friends and the surroundings.

#7 Comment By frank uible On December 14, 2008 @ 7:29 pm

I believe that Winter Study was a knockoff of Colby College’s well received Jan Plan, the purpose of which was to turn the often perceived vice of experiencing mid-winter in New England into a virtue. It also constitutes a breather for students in an academically rigorous and frequently highly competitive curriculum. Furthermore old geezers who live in town are given opportunities to audit some wonderful courses – this year for this old geezer it is The Great Depression – what could be more timely?

#8 Comment By frank uible On December 14, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

P.S. Colby’s literature claims its Jan Plan was first among all colleges and originated in the 1961-62 academic year.

#9 Comment By sophmom On December 14, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

I just found this bit of history

Introduced at Williams in 1968 as part of a major curricular reform and reaffirmed by the faculty in 1993 after a year-long review, Winter Study has become an especially rewarding part of the academic year at Williams. Both students and faculty appreciate the unique opportunity to explore a new field of interest or engage in focused research for an entire month. The Winter Study Program provides a stimulating change of pace in the academic year by allowing a student to concentrate for one month on a single subject in ways not usually found in a traditional curriculum.

…and the dates jive with Frank’s comment about what might have inspired Winter Study.

Does anyone know of similar study programs in other schools?

Frank, are many of the classes open for auditing?
What a terrific opportunity. And I bet the students enjoy the diversity and perspective that said “old geezer” brings to the classroom. ;-)

#10 Comment By frank uible On December 14, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

All courses at Williams are open to audit by residents of Williamstown – with the approval of the professor. Since 2001 I have audited about 13-15 courses – with 2 or 3 exceptions I have been the sole auditor. Sometimes the professor gives his approval but prohibits or limits discussion by auditors.

#11 Comment By 12342 On December 14, 2008 @ 9:27 pm

In case people forget, ED applicant decisions are tomorrow…

#12 Comment By Larry George On December 15, 2008 @ 12:55 am

Re: #11 – Good luck to all the applicants.

#13 Comment By Aidan On December 15, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

maybe I was a nerd, but I spent my winter studies in lab, and it was no picnic.

#14 Comment By lgeorge On December 15, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

Aidan – I knew people who spent winter studies in studios or deep in the library stacks. No picnic but treasured opportunities to really immerse themselves in something that interested them.

#15 Comment By JeffZ On December 15, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

I came dangerously close to failing a winter study class — Sophomore year I was not yet what you would call independently motivated (some would say nothing much has changed), yet I foolishly took an independent “study” which mainly consisted of me studying my bedspread during the course of daily three hours naps, reading the paper, playing foozball, and watching basketball. As the month began to wane, I started screening calls lest my advisor should check in on me to discover what little I had accomplished all month. Fortunately for me, he learned mid-month that he was denied for tenure, so I was the last thing on his mind, and he passed me without speaking once to me during the entire month. My other winter studies were actually interesting learnings experiences, so I’m happy to report that was a (very nerve-wracking) outlier …

#16 Comment By An 09-er On December 15, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

Winter study encapsulates many of the College’s greatest virtues: close-knit community, invaluable ties to the town, one-on-one interactions with brilliant professors, friendships with a variety of students, learning for learning’s sake, enjoying the beautiful berkshires.

it’s the very fact that it’s a different format for the same williams experiences that makes it valuable. students get to look forward to this sacred time, but it also makes us appreciate what goes on during the “regular” terms that much more.

not to mention the uniquely winter study traditions. I’m a senior and I’ve been on at least one broomball team every year. I’ve also fallen in love, and that winter study perk should NOT be overlooked!

#17 Comment By frank uible On December 15, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

If I were a first year, the very first thing I would want to know is whom I would have to pay so that I would not end up falling in love during Winter Study.

#18 Comment By reader On December 15, 2008 @ 11:42 pm

Oberlin College has winter term. From their website:

The goals of Winter Term are:

1. To provide opportunities for intensive and/or unusual educational activities which might be difficult for students or faculty to fit into their fall and spring schedules.
2. To encourage students to conceptualize and pursue self-directed educational projects, in consultation with the faculty;
3. To provide faculty with increased opportunities for educational experimentation, collaborative work with students, interdisciplinary projects, scholarly and artistic activity and development, and the exploration of areas of expertise not reflected in their usual course offerings;
4. To encourage students to test and apply knowledge in off-campus settings through internships, community service, applied research, or career-related experiences;
5. To promote educationally valuable interactions among students, faculty, members of the administrative and professional staff, and alumni;
6. To provide educational flexibility.

#19 Comment By sophmom On December 16, 2008 @ 12:05 am

Jeff,

Your account had me laughing so hard that I decided to share it with my son. While reading it to him, I quickly realized that I better put special emphasis on your last sentence…just in case he might be pondering the appeal of sleeping his way through WSP.

I thank you all for these wonderful anecdotes. They have given me a much better understanding of Winter Study. For although your accounts are quite varied, the common denominator is that they all appear to be a memorable (and much valued) part, of your Williams experience. And in Frank’s case, continue to be so!

#20 Comment By sophmom On December 16, 2008 @ 12:47 am

reader @18:

Thanks for your post. P ’12 had sent it to me, and I also paid a quick visit to the Middlebury site today where it appears they have a very similar program. I meant to link both, but have been distracted.

#21 Comment By JeffZ On December 16, 2008 @ 6:56 am

yeah Soph Mom, I don’t recommend emulating my approach to academics during Winter Study (or, for that matter, more generally as an undergrad :)).

#22 Comment By Guy Creese ’75 On December 16, 2008 @ 7:13 am

I’m an old fart alum and I’m a fan of Winter Study. I took Winter Study 35 years ago, and I can still remember each class I took–a feat I’m unable to perform for the regular semesters. Ask yourself–what other classes/lessons have stuck with you that long?

Freshman year I took “Development of the Printed Book,” offered by Richard Archer, the Librarian of the Chapin Library. I learned about book printing history, typefaces, and estimating rare book prices. The final exam was describing a “mystery book”: when it was printed, who bound it, the typeface used, etc. Mine was a French edition of Lancelot bound in a beautiful blue leather cover. I remember Mr. Archer warning me as he handed it to me, “Be careful with this–it’s worth more than you’ll pay for tuition in your four years here.” (At the time it was worth $50,000.)

Sophomore year I took “Marine Navigation,” which covered how to use a sextant and was offered by a professor in the Math department. Given that Williamstown is landlocked, you might wonder how we did the work. Simple–we shot the sun by looking at its reflection in a pie pan filled with molasses. I’d been a fan of Nathaniel Bowditch since I was ten, and so I enjoyed finally being able to learn about sextants and chronometers.

Junior year I took an oral history course offered by Prof. Cantelon in the History department. I did mine on Williams during the Baxter and Sawyer administrations, and got to talk to a lot of people at the college about what Williams was like during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Senior year I worked on my Honors thesis–“The Concept of the Gentleman at Williams College: 1929-1939.” Given that it was eventually a 100+ page paper and required a lot of original research, having a month in which to research and write was a godsend.

Probably the most important course I took was a juggling course at the Free University (students teaching other students). I was a Teaching Assistant in Astronomy and I gave the planetarium shows, so I would let myself in to the planetarium during the day (it had the requisite high ceilings) and practice hours at a time. I got quite good at it. My father was appalled–“I’m paying $10,000 a year and you’re learning JUGGLING?”–but I put “Juggling” as a skill on my resume and it was directly responsible for me getting my first job as a life insurance underwriter at John Hancock (not an easy feat, since unemployment was the highest it had been since the Great Depression). I asked the Vice President of Underwriting several years later why he’d hired me, since I knew my chances of being hired (5%) had been less than my chances of being admitted to Williams (18%). “Simple,” he said. “I remember you had ‘Juggling’ on your resume, and I figured anyone who had the balls to put that on their resume had to be a pretty interesting person.”

I also used Winter Study as a time to read and attend college events that I sometimes missed during the regular semester. In short, it was a college-sanctioned time in which to experiment, and I took full advantage of it.

Hence why I’m a fan of Winter Study–I had a good time, I learned a lot of interesting things, and it helped me get my first job.

#23 Comment By Larry George On December 16, 2008 @ 8:09 am

I enjoyed your memories, Guy. I have heard contradictory advice about whether to put things such as juggling on a resume. Nowadays, with computer-scanned and Human Resources Department application screening, it probably doesn’t matter much, but I’ve had a number of people tell me stories like yours.

I haven’t reread the whole thread, but, at the risk of repeating, I’ll add about a few other schools. Middlebury has its mandatory “J Term.” Not all that many other schools have mandatory January terms. Amherst and Smith have optional courses available during January, but they don’t seem to be wildly popular. Both schools seem to allow students to be in residence during part of January even if they aren’t taking a course, and hanging out at college after having a vacation at home (many seem to go back mid-month) seems popular. Some larger schools such as UVa also have optional January terms. It’s my understanding that Brown was recently planning an optional January term but cancelled it for lack of student interest/enrollment.

Although it cuts the Dec.-Jan. vacation down greatly, a January term has the advantage of throwing exams into the Dec. part of the calendar, making the academic calendar divide up better and giving students a true vacation from the books. The model of having exams before Christmas is a fairly recent one.

Having a January term also solves the predicament of where to go for the holidays for international students, particularly those from very distant or remote places. (Of course, they could travel in America, just as many Americans studying in the UK or Europe have traditionally traveled during the breaks, but funds for that may be difficult to come by for many international students.)

I don’t know how athletics are handled at schools that don’t have January terms: I would imagine that in-season winter athletes would be on campus for most of January (I seem to remember Williams playing Amherst last January in a game that was less heavily attended than usual). What spring season athletes do for training, I don’t know: I imagine that they are in residence for much of January at many Division 1 schools and that some Division 3 teams may take training trips.

One phenomenon that seems to have increasing importance at Williams is “Dead Week,” the nearly weeklong period between Winter Study and second semester. I don’t remember that as a special time (or as being so long) when I was at Williams, but now it seems to be a cherished institution, with Outing Club and community service trips and students going to Boston and New York.

#24 Comment By Rich Kelly On December 16, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

I know my son is looking forward to winter study so he can play KAOS.

#25 Comment By Soph Mom On December 16, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

RK:

What exactly is KAOS? I remember seeing it mentioned on Willipedia, but for some reason can’t get the site to come up today.

#26 Comment By lgeorge On December 16, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

Re #26 – The WSO part seems to have been down all day. The regular site (.edu) is working.

#27 Comment By JG On December 16, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

Since I came back on to see what everyone was saying about Morty’s leaving, I suppose I’ll just dive in and comment all over the place, wanted or not.

Re #25 – KAOS is Killing As an Organized Sport…sounds more gruesome than it really is, though there were always students protesting it. You sign up to participate, and everyone is sent the name of their target. You have to shoot them with a rubber dart (or whatever other means of “tagging” is set up). There are rules about witnesses and other such things. If you are “killed” by your assassin, you give them the name of your target. Through the week, the targets die off and only a few people are left. People get paranoid and pretty funny by the end of it.

I enjoyed Winter Study, although it seems you could probably save money on heating costs, food, etc. although would a lot of staff people not get paid for that month? What would happen to their income? That would have to get factored in.

Anyway, here is what I did:

Frosh year: training class for the Rape and Sexual Assualt Network. It was really intense, but really powerful. I became an on-call counselor after the class, and it was one of the most rewarding things I did at Williams.

Soph year: some nonprofits class whose name I don’t remember. It was taught by a woman who was the director or a grants officer at the Tiger Fund. I learned a lot, and I actually used the knowledge when I later worked in nonprofs.

Junior year: American Stained Glass – totally taken for fun and just random interest. We got to visit a shop in North Adams that is world renowned for restoration. We picked windows in the Williamstown area to research and photograph and write papers about. I did a set of Windows in the Episcopal Church and learned a bit of fun Williams history in the process….I was also doing JA interviews.

Senior year: independent study w/ Alex Willingham. My friend and I had done a series of forums and discussions on race relations at Williams all through the fall and Winter Study, so the project was to transcribe the tapes, organize it all thematically, and put it together into book form. At the time (I am sort of embarassed to admit this) we had plans of really publishing it. It is still somewhere in a box….someday I should do something with it. It provides an interesting snapshot of race at Williams. It lead into a further day-long syposium that spring with faculty, students, alums, and even Morty. I think we are likely party to blame for some of his concern about self-segregation after bringing up race every single time we talked with him that year.

#28 Comment By lgeorge On December 16, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

JG – What a range! If Williams does not have a copy of the work you did your senior year, I hope that you will make a copy and give it to the archives.

Was there much call for a peer on-call counselor? I’m afraid I was pretty clueless about rape and sexual assault when I was at Williams (years before you, at the dawn of coeducation and also before there many “out” students at Williams), but I was vaguely aware of it being an issue on some large university campuses where friends went to school. I suspect we at Williams were rather naive and trusting (and the subject would have been taboo, with a huge stigma on victims who talked).

#29 Comment By Parent ’12 On December 16, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

Such wonderful memories of Winter Study. I loved the variety of experiences and the humor.

We all should incorporate Winter Study into our lives. Has anyone done this since leaving Williams?

#30 Comment By sophmom On December 16, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

P ’12:

I think our very own Mr. Uible has taken ample advantage of WSP since graduating Williams. (See comment #10 above.)

#31 Comment By Parent ’12 On December 16, 2008 @ 11:01 pm

SophM- Yes, I was impressed that Williamstown folk could audit classes during the semester, too.

I wondered whether the experience of Winter Study was a first step for Ephs to pursue interests & satisfy curiosity so that they continued this after leaving Williamstown.

#32 Comment By lgeorge On December 16, 2008 @ 11:09 pm

It isn’t just Williamstown people. From time to time alums come from away to take part in a WSP. Sometimes the College even solicits such participation. A non-alum parent would undoubtedly be welcome, too, if the teacher were receptive to auditors and if there was space.
Am I putting ideas in anyone’s head yet?

#33 Comment By sophmom On December 17, 2008 @ 12:01 am

P ’12:

I consider Winter Study an invaluable part of the Williams experience. I was impressed by it when my son first explained it to me, and I continue to be so after reading all these accounts. I think the fact that Frank, a Williams grad of many moons ago, continues to partake of it after all these years, is a testament to what the Williams education instilled in him, as well as proof of that for which it continues to strive.

I have had enough experience teaching, to know that there is too much emphasis on the accomplishment of yet one more notch on the academic belt, and not enough acknowledgement of the joy of learning, for learning’s sake. I believe that Winter Study is based on a recognition of that unfortunate fact.

A school like Williams is filled to the brim with smart, driven students. By the time they arrive there, they have learned all too well, the habits, and acquired the lofty goals, of the super-achievers. Which is a good thing, on the whole, because God knows they will need it there, and once they leave. But in such an atmosphere, it is very easy to lose sight of the pure fun of learning something new, something that might not be figured in to what they have decided they need on a transcript. Something like juggling, or knitting, or boxing, or the art of stained glass windows. Or, maybe it’s as simple as exploring the luxury of having a little extra time, on campus, to ponder job hunting, or to study one’s bedspread, or even, to fall in love. The fact that it’s a time to fill with all the different endeavors lovingly recounted above, is evidence enough of it’s value.

And hopefully, it does have the effect of reminding all of us, of the value of “Winter Study” and what it stands for… regardless of our age, and where we may be.

So, thanks to all of you for the reminder, and may I offer a toast to Winter Study. Long may it live to create such loving memories.

#34 Comment By Cat On December 17, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

I would be cool with winter study if the College didn’t penalize students who get an internship and then have to pay the VAST MAJORITY of the cost of living, etc. on their own. Didn’t I already pay tuition? I have to pay 80% of the cost of an internship toward the construction of my career whereas a student on more financial aid can receive more money towards surfing in Hawaii? The financial aid policies of WS99 is what most frustrates me… It really screws the middle-class at Williams, yet again.