…Those two words, notoriously synonomous with wild fun and winding down in the sun. Bates, however, has put its own academic twist on spring break- called “Short Term“. For those who don’t know, short term is a graduation requirement in which each student is obligated to take two. But, even though it’s mandatory, I’ve met very few students here who didn’t want to stay an extra month for short term enrolled in the classes that piqued their interest. Personally, my experiences with Short Term have been more than stellar- it was the only time when “all-nighters” meant not staying up late for studying, but simply hanging out with friends. I took “Life Course and Aging”, a Sociology course which explores the forces that shape our life stages of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, mid-life, and old age (For example, the majority of us is expected to obtain an education, get a secure job, and marry). Needless to say, it’s definitely changed my mind about determining my own life’s direction! I also enrolled in “Economic Botany”, a biology lab course where we took daily trips to wineries, organic farms, and forests to assess the importance of the use of plants in our material lives.
It’s incredible how Bates academia has found a way to both incorporate fun (just browse through the catalog; you’ll find that most courses have fun names and descriptions, such as “Food, Culture, and Performance“, “For the Love of Dogs”, and yes, even “Red Sox Nation”). What’s even better is that classes are generally held three to four times a week (with longer sessions), but days off are given between meeting times for both students and professors to relax. What’s more? There’s no reason why you should have to stay on campus- traveling abroad to different countries sounds like an ideal vacation to me.
Short Term is certainly a time for play, the rates of socializing and outdoor activities increase exponentially, as there are no final exams to worry about. And since the snow has receded, there’s plenty room and time to play ultimate frisbee, soccer, Capture the Flag, and Humans vs. Zombies- no matter the time of day or night). There’s also barbecues, and since we’re in Maine, fitting for lobster or clam bakes.
If you ever wondered what sets Bates apart, our short term tradition would definitely be one of the many ingredients.