Managing a 4-Course Term
If you know some things about Dartmouth, you probably already know that the school is on a quarter system where students typically take 3 courses per term. However, this term I decided to challenge myself and take 4 courses during the winter. The winter seems to be a bit quieter here, so it's a great time to load up and add an additional course for whatever reason.
The reasons for adding a 4th course are numerous; some students do it to work towards a double major more efficiently, and others do it in order to open the possibility of a 2-course term in the future. Other reasons are fulfilling distributive requirements, wanting to take courses with specific professors or academic curiosity. In my case, there were so many courses I was interested in this term that it was difficult to decide which one to omit; therefore, I decided to select 4!
I have written another blog post talking about the courses I'm taking this term, so if you want a bit more details on them go check it out! I'm taking Intro to Middle Eastern Studies, Arabic 2, Writing 5, and Arab Feminism. As I wrap up my 3rd week on campus and move on to midterm week, I feel fulfilled by my work and have found the workload to be manageable. While classes like Arab Feminism and Intro to Middle Eastern Studies have lengthy readings on occasion, it isn't an issue as long as I manage my time effectively. Arabic is lots of work, but since it is sustained over a 5-day period throughout the week it isn't a problem. Writing 5 has a manageable workload, and I only find myself nervous about crunching time when there's an essay due, which is about once every 3 weeks.
However, there is also a lot of strategy when planning a 4-course term. For instance, if I was taking a physics and computer science class, it would be unwise to add 2 more. There are multiple reasons behind this; for one, I am awful at physics and computer science! It is important to play to your strengths when scheduling, as everybody has certain subjects they are better and worse at. Moreover, most people don't recommend taking more than 1 STEM-heavy course at a time at Dartmouth; these courses often include labs, which extend their time commitment significantly. Moreover, if problem sets aren't your thing then taking too many of these courses at once can be a nightmare.
I'm eager to continue my term and am glad that I've chosen the courses that I did. I feel that I'm learning a large amount of material, and this helps me stay motivated. However, in the spring term, I will definitely ease the workload a little bit and stick to a 3-course term; I'm excited to write about that term when the time comes!