My Experience Taking a 2-Course Term
If you've read my blogs in the past, you'll likely know I've taken a few 4-course terms. Since the standard at Dartmouth is a 3-course term, 4-course terms can be strenuous; however, they help you to get distributive requirements out of the way and fulfill requirements for your major faster. This summer, I am taking a 2-course term, which has many of its own benefits. In this post, I want to share some of my favorite parts about taking a lighter course load!
At Dartmouth, students have the option to take one two-course term and graduate on track (every four-course term you take allows you to take an additional two-course term). This summer, I took two courses with the intention of focusing more on developing my filmmaking and video production skills. Having the free time—that would have been spent on a third class—has been really helpful in allowing me to explore new interests. A month ago, I had never shot anything with a camera or used any editing software; now, I am working on multiple projects and have become confident with Adobe Premiere and After Effects. The two-course term has really helped me develop those skills that I would have had less time to develop otherwise.
In addition, taking two classes allows me to focus on my classes more intensely. I am taking "Gender in the Modern Middle East" and "Filmmaking & Visual Anthropology," which are two topics that really interest me. Being able to dedicate more time on the readings, course content, and class projects has been rewarding and has helped me learn more in these classes.
Taking a two-course term has also allowed me to spend time working on campus this summer! As a TA for an introductory anthropology course, I have to commit significant time to attending lectures, holding office hours, checking over assignments, and meeting with the professor. If I was taking a standard 3-course term, it would be more challenging to juggle all of those responsibilities. In addition, I was able to be involved in the Dartmouth Bound program, and I have been able to put more time towards being a Student Alumni Mentor for Dartmouth's study-away programs—helping prepare students for their terms abroad. Being able to invest more time in these jobs has been so rewarding!
I've also had more time to hang out with friends, enjoy the summer weather, and in general, just slow down a bit. Dartmouth's 10-week terms can feel fast-paced at times, so taking the foot off of the gas from time to time is refreshing.