Just as the girls begin to tire of Williams, and the faculty of the girls, January and Bennington's Non-Resident term roll around.
This ten-week period that a girl spends doing a job-either paid or voluntary-is probably the most unusual aspect of the college. Work begins right after the Christmas holidays and continues to the beginning of March. After a short vacation the girls flock back for the second semester.
Isolation is one of the primary reasons for having such a term-the closest sizable town is Albany, 45 miles away. Progressive Sarah Lawrence, close to New York, does not have or need such outlet.
This term replaced the six-week winter reading period in 1943. It is supposed to relate study to everyday adult life and 'help the girls grow up." It is extremely popular with the faculty who get a chance to relax on individual research and teach at another college during the winter term.
Sometime in October a girl begins to plan her term. She consults her faculty counselor, Bertha H. Funnell, Director of Non-Resident Term, and classmates. Funnell's office provides about a third of the students with jobs; the rest ferret for themselves.
Flexibility and variety keynote the plan. Usually-but not always-students relate their jobs with scholastic interests. The girls are urged to try a different job each winter, have at least one away from home, and intersperse paid and voluntary work.
This year an unusual number had paying jobs-80 per cent. Earning ranged from $35 to $60 per week.
Four reports are filed on a girl's Non-Resident term-by her counselor, Miss Funnell, her employer, and herself. Employer comments range from effusions of "excellent" to "too candid" and "could improve a spelling."
One counselor report comments, "the job was nearly worthless but the experience was very valuable indeed," and suggested for Ann a job "valuable in itself. Whatever it is, rather than valuable for what it demonstrates of the more foolish aspects of our society..." Another faculty recommendation was "Next year department store away from home. Following year: work with children on an Indian reservation."
One girl who worked as a sales girl reported she learnt "humility", and that shop girls are more than one "who leaves you stranded in a fitting room while you miss your luncheon date."
Job opportunities for next year are posted on the College Bulletin Board One Government ad even offers girls employment as an "Inspector of locomotives $5,490 a year."