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Social Capital
Winter Blues...Overcome!
Ask any boarding school student, alum, or teacher about the most challenging time of year and the answer you will most likely receive will entail the words: Winter Term.

Long hours of academic and athletic commitments, combined with short hours of daylight where classes begin before the sun rises and afternoon activities end well after the sun sets are commonplace. Time is spent scurrying between buildings when the New Hampshire weather is unforgiving and a hectic class schedule can appear overwhelming, even to the most organized student.

While many may look at the Winter Term as a period they must simply 'get through', we believe it provides significant opportunity for students and faculty to persevere through challenges, and to further develop the relationships that sustain us. This recent article featuring a 2007 alum and the impact of relationships at Proctor was highlighted in the most recent Chuck's Corner post.

Relationships evolve in every academic, art, athletic, and residential program at Proctor, however, there are few places where more trusting, honest, and influential relationships develop than Proctor's Learning Skills Department.

As our students work to navigate the challenges associated with the Winter Term, the relationships they have with their teachers become more important than ever. Lori Patriacca '01, a learning specialist in Proctor's Learning Skills program, notes, "Winter can be a challenge as we face short days, a varied scheduled, the inevitable sicknesses that spread around campus, and students see more challenging material in many classes."

Patriacca adds, "While a large number of our students struggle in learning skills struggle how to structure their free time in order to accomplish their goals, everything we do in Learning Skills ties back into the overall health of the student. We seek to give each student the basic tools they need to build a strong foundation to handle new, challenging situations, both in the classroom and out."

The following video was highlighted on Proctor's main webpage this weekend and further emphasizes the unique role Learning Specialists play in our students' lives.

At this point in the year, students and learning specialists know each other well and, therefore, each student's curriculum in Learning Skills has been tailored to their needs at that given time. Patriacca explains further, "By this point in the year, the learning skills classroom has developed into a very dynamic setting as we work to address the goals put forth in the initial or interim reports for each student, while simultaneously responding to more immediate needs."

This balance of working toward achieving long-term skill development with short-term 'emergencies', whether related to academics, or not, obviously depends on the day and the student, but it is the program's overall goal to eventually help students manage their commitments responsibly. This process of developing independent, self-advocates takes time, but it is with great pride we see students graduate from Proctor with a deep understanding of their own learning style.

There may be moments when the Winter Term seems daunting for students, but when those moments arise, it is with confidence each student can turn to those around him or her for support.
The winter months can prove very challenging as students face increasingly difficult material in their classes and are unable to spend as much time enjoying the outdoors.
The challenges associated with the Winter Term at a boarding school also provide an opportunity to further develop relationships with faculty.
No department develops deeper relationships with its students than Proctors Learning Skills Department!
It is through these relationships that students gain the self-advocacy and study skills to tackle the biggest challenges that lie before them...especially during the Winter Term!