JanPlan is a time for the young, creative minds at Colby to pursue personal interests in an intellectual environment which most college age students do not get to experience. Colby’s website states that JanPlan provides “students opportunities to experiment outside of their major or to tackle a special challenge or focused research within their major”. Many kids go abroad, helping the underprivileged, learning a new language, or just absorbing a culture different from their own. Other students partake in internships at hospitals or schools. An EMT course is even offered on campus. All of these activities are wonderful ways to serve others and do something meaningful for a variety of communities.
I, on the other hand, have not done much of anything for anyone off campus all January. I attended social events such as game night with a dozen people from my dorm, or simply hungout with my friends. And the most important thing that my particular young, creative mind learned was not to trust shampoo bought by friends that stains your hands red… For nearly two weeks I was washing my hair with shampoo spiked with 13 packets of Kool-Aid that made me feel like Lady Macbeth every time I stepped out of the shower.
While I certainly want to study abroad and ideally get a job that directly serves other people, I have no problem with staying on campus and taking part in seemingly self-centered activities. After all, going to school is an inherently self-serving activity. Any and every student is receiving huge amounts of academic and non-academic knowledge, and giving back little in comparison. During JanPlan however, when academics is not so stressful and time consuming, things like game night, midnight sledding, and practical jokes serve an important personal and communal role at Colby. These seemingly small, and some may argue wasted, activities will stay with me and build a social foundation for my future at Colby. All of the memories made at Colby during these non-academic oriented times, by the hundreds of people on campus, are individual threads in the social fabric of the Colby community.
Second semester doesn’t begin until next Wednesday so I will be departing for home (Boston) with a few friends later today. This short break at the end of January is just another awesome result of having JanPlan at Colby. After going on this brief hiatus from The Hill, I am hoping that the academics of second semester won’t inhibit the students here from serving themselves, their peers, and the world at large.