Colby students and their 2018 JanPlans

January has always represented a time for exploration and adventure for Colby students; the classes offered through the JanPlan program are often more creative and exploratory than traditional semester class offerings. Colby’s JanPlan mission statement outlines this focus on innovation, independence, exploration and creativity, and states that “the fundamental purpose of the January Program is to broaden and extend the learning experience at Colby by offering students distinctive opportunities not ordinarily available during the traditional academic semesters.”

This year, students have the opportunity to take courses like Blacksmithing, Meteorology, and Fundamentals of Screenwriting on campus. The off-campus offerings range from a field study in African evelopment in Uganda with Professor of Government Laura Seay, to the Geology of Bermuda with Professor of Geology Bruce Rueger. Other students are undertaking independent research projects both on and off campus and receiving credit for their work. Some students will take advantage of this time to complete internships, as the competition for internships is often less than during the summer, and companies often offer more unique opportunities.

JanPlan has always been popular; Colby students are only required to complete three Jan Plans during their time here, but 90 percent of students choose to participate all four years. This year is no different, and the new resources available through DavisConnects and other recent initiatives on campus are encouraging more and more students to take unique classes, participate in  student research, and travel the world.

Some members of the Colby community sat down with the Echo to discuss some of their own JanPlan opportunities. Katherine Berry ’20 received funding from the Environmental Studies department to complete a month long internship in Hawaii researching sharks. This is an area that she is passionate about, and represents the exploration of a potential job opportunity. Tommy Chandler ’18, who is majoring in a self-designed architecture major, will be splitting his month between Berlin and Waterville to do research for his independent capstone, with support from his advisors.

The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement announced this year the start of a facilitated internship program in Washington D.C. that will allow 10 students to intern in D.C. and network with fellow students and the wider Colby community of alumni, parents and friends of the College in the city. These internships will be at organizations in the D.C. domestic and international policy community, and all students will be paired with an alumni mentor to help them navigate their internships and launch their own careers in the field. Students will be  required to participate in a capstone experience at the end of the month to maximize their time in D.C.  Emma Howard ’18, who will be participating, said “the program will be great for career building and is a great chance to network, get experience, and try out D.C.”

The Goldfarb Center is also continuing their tradition of hosting a shorter networking trip to Washington D.C. for students over the January break. Funding is also available for up to five internships based in D.C.

Sabrina Rabins ’20, who will be taking Italian I in Genoa, Italy during JanPlan, told the Echo “Colby affords students with amazing opportunities to learn a language fully and be fully emerged in the culture. This upcoming JanPlan I will have to opportunity to learn Italian in Genoa through a Colby program.” Rabins is also a member of the Colby Women’s Squash Team, but because of the flexibility of the three week long program and the later start to JanPlan this year, will be able to attend the program, which ends on Jan. 20

JanPlan is not unique to Colby, but plays a significant role in the  Colby student experience and has a lasting impact on its graduates. Jamie Schwartz ’18 tells the Echo “ JanPlan is one of my favorite things about Colby, and is one of the reasons I chose to come here. Throughout my time here, I’ve been able to do an internship in Philadelphia and take exciting classes on campus in the past, and this year, I am traveling to Israel with Julia Holzman ’18. As a senior, it’s bittersweet for this to be my last JanPlan. While I am sad to be away from campus, I know that my time abroad will help me find a job next year!”