Tips 101: How I Manage a Four-Course Term
In my last blog post, I shared the three courses I'm taking for this term: BIOL 13, ANTH 50.21, and ENVS 2. There was a course that had my attention for a few weeks, ANTH 50.22: Sovereignty, Race, and Rights, that I could not enroll in on-time for the add/drop period. Because the class was taught by my ANTH 50.21 class professor, it was easy to communicate my circumstances. Fortunately, I was able to join the class during the sixth week of the term, which meant that I'm now on a four-course term! Keep in mind that there is a petition process with the Registrar, where you can still manage to get into the classes you want after the add/drop period—you need a good reason to do so, however!
So, I wanted to share with everyone how I manage my time with a four-course load.
- Attend all class lectures
Currently, I have a 10 (10:10 AM - 11:15 AM), 11 (11:30 - 12:35), 10A (10:10 AM - 12:00 PM), and 2A (2:25 PM - 4:15 PM). It might seem tempting to skip lectures and rewatch them in your free time, but the lectures will quickly pile up and lead to even more stress and tiredness. The best way to keep up with the content of all your classes is to attend all lectures.
- Balance of class difficulty
At Dartmouth, we have coined the term "layup," which describes classes that comparatively require little work. It is vital to find a balance in your schedule between the non-layups and layups. For example, let's classify my course load. BIOL 13 is a definite non-layup—we have a flipped classroom system where we have to watch 30-minute videos and take notes prior to coming to each class, weekly four-hour lab session, three individual and one group midterms, and a final. It is very intensive. On the other hand, ANTH 50.21 and ANTH 50.22 put an emphasis on projects and essays, without strict deadlines; while the classes are reading-intensive, the discussions are very interesting, which make them manageable. Lastly, there is ENVS 2 in between: bi-weekly quizzes, readings, and online midterm and final exams. There is a clear hierarchy in difficulty in my schedule, but there are more classes at the bottom!
- Other responsibilities
We as students don't only take classes—we have extracurricular activities like clubs, internships, research, and more. It's important to consider these factors prior to making a decision to take four courses. For the summer term, most clubs and organizations are shut down, which meant that the only activity outside of class was research for me. This freed up significant amounts of time, allowing me to take four courses. However, if it was the fall term, when I have these extracurriculars to worry about, I wouldn't have been able to take four.