The Art of Balancing
The quarter system is certainly intense. As a Dartmouth student, you take three classes over a 10-week period – 9 weeks of classes and 1 week of final exams. Most classes will either meet on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for one-hour long periods or on Tuesdays and Thursdays for two-hour long periods. Professors also have the opportunity to hold additional classes during their designated hour-long "x-period" which is scheduled one day a week when that class is not held.
In the Fall, I had all three of my classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, meaning that, unless I had an x-hour scheduled for Tuesday or Thursday, I only had class three days a week. In the Winter, I took two classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays as well as a two-hour long class from 10am to 12pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The amount of work assigned for outside of class has varied from extensive readings to problem-sets – I would say that I'm typically assigned an hour of work for each class. I love to do my work on the third floor of Baker Berry, which is a quiet but social floor of the library. Sometimes my teammates organize a study room, or my friends seize a table for a day, claiming it with our backpacks and using it as a place to check in with each other throughout the day. I love grabbing a caprese sandwich from Novak Café (they are crispy and delicious) and a chocolate milk with two shots of espresso (my favorite coffee order, other than a maple latte) from King Arthur Flour, both of which don't require leaving the cozy confines of the library. The views from the third and fourth floors of Baker Berry are breathtaking – there is nothing quite like watching the sun set over the rolling hills of New Hampshire.
To say balancing classes with varsity rowing and dance troupe is easy would be a lie. But it is so, so worth it. Dartmouth students are heavily involved on campus, and they have fun doing it! There is a "work hard, play hard" mentality. It is so inspiring to watch your friends thrive both in the chemistry lab and on their improv team, or to see them kill it as an oboist at a Dartmouth Wind Ensemble performance and then see them sprint by between classes for a quick run with their triathlon team.
As a prospective student, I wanted nothing more than to shadow a Dartmouth student and watch a day in the life on the campus. How did students balance the intensity of school work with the seemingly endless extracurriculars that people engage in? Where is the balance between work and play? I thought it might be fun to share what a typical Wednesday looked like for me on campus this winter term. Keep in mind that each Dartmouth story is different – and within that lies the beauty of this incredibly diverse campus.
- 7:30am Weightlifting with the women's rowing team.
- 8:45am Breakfast sandwiches and smoothies at Collis café with my friends.
- 9:30am Studying in Sanborn library.
- 11:30am Writing 5: The Supreme Court, a seminar-based class of 16 students that fulfilled my freshman year writing requirement. My professor, Julie Kalish, taught me an exceptional amount about both constitutional law and comprehensive essay writing.
- 12:50pm Public Policy 5: Introduction to Public Policy. This class of 50 was mostly composed of freshman. We had an incredible number of guest speakers – including a former senator and Dartmouth graduate -- come in and discuss with us the nuances of policy development.
- 1:50pm Grab a sandwich and Starbucks iced coffee at Novak café.
- 2:15pm Earth Sciences 15: Climate Change Past, Present, and Future LAB period. During this 2.5-hour lab (for the class that met on Tuesdays and Thursdays), we analyzed sediment cores from a local pond in order to come to conclusions regarding climate change in the upper valley.
- 4:30pm Rowing practice. During winter training, we erged at least once every day – it was brutal, but we always found ways to spice up the workout by blasting big bootie mixes and dressing up for themed workouts!
- 6:00pm Sugarplum dance practice. We ran technique, stretched, learned choreography, and prepared for our next performance. It's always so fun to let loose and dance with the incredible group of girls in Sugarplum.
- 8:15pm Dinner with my dance group at the Hopkins Center. I absolutely adore the chicken tender quesadilla that they serve at the Court Yard Café and usually top it off with a side of sweet potato fries.
- 9:00pm Studying on the third floor of Baker Berry library.
- 11:30pm Bed. By this time, I usually fall fast asleep, but not after checking in with my best friend, Kealia, who lived right next door to me! It always felt like I was coming home after a big day.