So, I’m a day late on this January post… still running on Winter Study time, I guess.  Maybe it’s just me, but Winter Study always seems to be the month that got away.  I start it out with the best intentions, with grand illusions of catching up on my reading list and updating my resume and maybe finally cleaning my room.  With only six hours of class a week, I always expect the free time to be endless.

Then, all of a sudden, it’s February 1st.  Winter Study is over, Dead Week is drawing to a close, and the “Spring” (oh hey, Real FeelTM -10o) Semester is looming ominously on the horizon.  I read 2.5 books this month, a shamefully low number for a certified bookworm like me.  I haven’t updated my resume since last spring, and will probably be scrambling to do that tonight.  I’m not currently in Williamstown, but I’m still pretty sure that my dorm room is a mess.  In other words: where did all the time go?!

Well, I did spend a lot of time at practice.  And a lot of time lying on the couch in my common room, and a lot of time sitting at dinner in Driscoll, and a lot of time doing nothing much at all.  I forget, every year, about how much of Winter Study is really just embracing the nothingness; at the end, I am always left with an unchecked To-Do List but a happy heart.  David always writes on EphBlog about how we (by the way, why the “especially male undergrads” clause?) should use Winter Study to fall in love with a future spouse, but for me, Winter Study has always been more about falling back in love with Williams, without the stress of classes and the endless multi-tasking getting in the way.

This Winter Study was especially important to me, because I was able to fall back in love with my social life.  This past semester was a rough one for me personally, as the vast majority of my friends who are not JAs were studying abroad.  Though I would not change my experiences for anything, I’m not going to pretend that there weren’t nights that I laid awake in my little dorm room missing my friends terribly, and I’m not going to pretend that the Facebook photos of all their globe-trotting exploits didn’t make me positively green with envy.  Sometimes, when I was in the deepest throes of the dreaded phenomenon known as “JA Loneliness”, I just wished that things could go back to the way they were last spring, a time period in my life synonymous with carefree adventures and unpredictable fun.  So, it was an incredible feeling to come back to campus at the beginning of January and find that I suddenly had friends again.  And though it was weird, at first, to integrate these people from my “old life” into the new balance I had created for myself, Winter Study was the perfect time to do it.

You know those dreams you have where you’re in a familiar place but everything is different, and all sorts of random people from different sectors of your life appear simultaneously?  Winter Study is kind of like that.  During Winter Study, it’s not that farfetched that two of my best friends, one from home and one from school, are feeding each other Pad Thai in my dorm room and planning their Star-Wars-themed wedding.  It’s not that implausible that my Frosh are dressed up in suits and ties interrogating my just-returned-from-being-abroad boyfriend about his intentions.  It’s not that unusual that my own entrymates are rolling around on the floor of my common room, the same common room where we spent the majority of our own first Winter Study two years ago.

I know that my life is going to get hard again, just as soon as the new semester gets going.  I know that I’m going to have to strike a new balance between being a JA and being a student and being an athlete and being a friend, and I remember how difficult that was to do the first time around.  But for now, I’m looking back on the month of January with a smile on my face.  For four blissful weeks, I didn’t have to worry about the balancing act… that’s really something I can fall in love with.

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