lone pine
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lab

This term, I am taking BIOL 12: Cell Structure and Function as well as CHEM 6: General Chemistry II, and both classes have a laboratory component. Having a lab means needing to complete a 4- to 5-hour lab session each week, pre-lab calculations and preparation before the lab session, and data analysis following the lab. So, "doubling up" means completing 8 hours of lab on top of the additional work outside of class. 

In short, I'd say it's doable. Don't be fooled though: doable doesn't equate to easy or undemanding. My weekends are packed with work; I have to rewatch lectures and reorganize notes constantly, and attend a handful of review sessions every week. But, in a way, I enjoy this challenge. Chemistry and biology have been my favorite subjects in high school, so these classes were definitely something I wanted to take coming to Dartmouth—although I didn't expect to take them both simultaneously. They require different types of work ethic and studying habits. For chemistry, you are forced to be immersed in problem-solving, constantly attacking new sets of problems that have huge mathematical aspects to them. For biology, you need to think conceptually: how one function relates to another, how different things are interconnected. Essentially, I'm developing different types of skills at once through this experience. 

Now, why did I do this?

For me, winter term was a bit dreadful, as I personally felt like the classes I took were not as enjoyable. All three of my classes' difficulty was lower than expected, making me feel a bit bored throughout the term. So, entering spring term, I knew I wanted to take on a challenge, similar to my fall term; however, at the same time, I wanted to only take the classes that truly interest me. Also, being pre-med influenced my decision as well. I want to be a "straight through" applicant. This means that I will have to apply in the spring of my junior year, completing all prerequisite courses prior to the application period. Since I knew I wanted to take some terms off junior year to study for the MCAT, I decided to be a bit more stressed my freshman year—better in the long run! Lastly, I want to be a biology major. Becoming a biology major at Dartmouth demands quite a bit of courses, which mostly have a prerequisite of BIOL 12. Therefore, by taking it now, I'm opening up myself to a wider range of upper level courses in the future! 

I certainly know this type of a challenge is not for everybody, but if you are interested in attempting it, I say you should go for it!

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