Avoiding the Overload
All throughout my college search, almost blindly, I don't ever think I even considered the fact that college might be difficult. As with most Dartmouth students, a rigorous academic course-load is more exciting than it is intimidating, and so I think that I was just eager to jump in and get involved in new things. Of course, I don't think such a consideration would have ever remotely altered my choices, but it is definitely inevitable that everyone will feel a slight bit over-loaded at some point in their Dartmouth career, and so it's something well-worth discussing. Truthfully, for me, the first time it really hit was this fall.
Starting out this term as my fraternity's rush chair, my first three weeks were incredibly busy. Yet, over that span, I was under the impression I had found the proper balance of studying and other commitments. I didn't realize it was affecting my work until one of my professors—who teaches a 100-person lecture, and personally sought me out—sent me an email saying he noticed my homework grades had been falling short and that I should come talk to him in office hours. That week, I think I spent probably an hour-and-a-half going over the homework with him and asking him questions about our quiz that week, which not only was incredibly helpful, but it really made my reflect on my study habits; it seemed as though many of the problems were rooted in the fact that I was pressed for time, and so I had to re-evaluate some things.
At that point, I texted my club hockey coach telling him I had to miss a couple practices, I skipped my fraternity's weekly exec-board meeting, and I booked study rooms for the next few days, getting a jumpstart on work due later in the week. The changes have paid off; not only did it get me into a habit of continuing the good study habits and improve my marks, but I've managed my time well enough that I'm now able to get back and be more involved in my other activities.
Altogether, sometimes managing time here can be difficult, especially with all of the different cool things to do around campus. With that considered, people are always willing to help; with accommodating coaches, encouraging housemates, and even professors who will call you aside from a large lecture and offer their assistance, whereas the workload might be a heavy burden, there are plenty of resources to help maintain a healthy work-life balance.