Sunday, June 25, 2006

On Framing II: A Semester Onaway

While in college several of my good friends decided at various points that their academic passions would be well served by taking a semester to recenter through a variety of pursuits, generally requiring taking leave from the universities they attended. in the moment and years since i have given some thought to how to best describe those periods.

A Few Solutions Which Don't Work

  • Semester On
    • This is unclear. For someone who isn't attuned to the progressive pedagogy encouraging taking time to recenter, a semester on sounds like a a description of a standard academic semester where a student is enrolled in classes and making standard progress towards a degree.
  • Semester Off
    • Taking a "semester off" carries several negative associations. It seems to imply slackerdom. If you say i am taking a semester off people may think you need a break from school because it is too hard, overwhelming, or underwhelming. They are unlikely to assume that you have elected to learn in a different context from a different set of experiences in the world because it is the best and most important way for you to be growing in that semester.
  • Semester Away
    • This implies studying abroad.
Any ideas on a solution which does work. Jess Beckerman suggested using "a semester on-away" which seems less ambiguous but perhaps more awkward than the solutions i dismissed. That seems to be a front runner, but i bet we can come up with other good choices.

4 Comments:

At 6/25/2006 , Blogger bpteutsch said...

As long as one uses the term "semester", it implies you are in an academic structure. Perhaps that is part of the problem. Taking a break to explore the world or pursue a project might be a better describer.

 
At 6/25/2006 , Blogger Chorus of Apes said...

I think the best bet is to talk about what you were doing. If it was sitting on the couch, that may be hard to justify, but if you were activly engaged in a project or endevor, just explain that.

 
At 6/25/2006 , Anonymous rebecca m said...

I never found a good term, so I generally provided context, i.e I was taking time b/c of X, and in order to volunteer at Z.

It was also a semester "off" from what was originally meant to be a full year of study abroad, which made terminology more complicated.

some of my friends favored "dropout", but that only works as schtick.

 
At 6/26/2006 , Anonymous Elana K. said...

When I took my "semester on-away". I just said I was taking a Sabbatical to explore other academic purists that seemed to work.

 

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