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One of the characteristics that is the most unique to Dartmouth is the D-Plan. Basically, the D-Plan is a quarter system (as opposed to a semester system) of classes that allows Dartmouth students to take off-terms during any of the four quarters/seasons, namely fall, winter, spring, or summer. While this sounds great, once you are faced with an off-term in a season you're not used to, let's say winter instead of the typical summer, it is hard to decide what to fill those ten free weeks with. Here are a few suggestions of things to do over your off-terms. 

  1. Jobs or Internships: One of the biggest benefits of the "weird season" off-term is that lots of jobs that are usually swamped with applications from students at other colleges are now looking for applicants! Take advantage of this and apply for an internship or job in your field of interest. 
  2. Travel: Travelling is one of the more exciting ways to spend an off-term. Ten weeks is a lot of time to explore a new place, whether it be hiking the AT (you can start in our own backyard), backpacking through Europe, or taking a safari in Africa. There may not be another time in your life when you have close to three months to do whatever you want! You can also combine this with suggestion #1 and apply for a job or internship in another overseas.  
  3. Hanover FSP: If you have to take an off-term, but don't want to leave your friends at Dartmouth, the "Hanover FSP" is a great option for you. While there is not an official Foreign Study Program in Hanover, for obvious reasons, you can create your own "FSP" in Hanover by finding a research position or job in town. You won't be taking classes, but you can still live on or off campus without having to miss your bff's! 
  4. Volunteer Work: Volunteer work can be a great way to combine a bunch of these suggestions into one! If you want to travel, you can volunteer overseas. If you don't know what field you want an internship/job in yet, then volunteer for a cause you are passionate about. If you want to do a Hanover FSP, volunteering with a local Upper Valley organization is a great way to spend your time.  
  5. Take up a new hobby or train for a sport: If you end up back at home but can't think of any ways to fill up your time, there are a plethora of things you can learn without being on campus. Try learning how to play an instrument, training for a race or playing a sport with a local club team, or taking up a number of other creative activities like painting, poetry, or videography. You might discover a new passion to cultivate when you get back to campus. 
  6. Visit a friend! One of the perks of college is that you make friends from all over the country and the world! If one of your new friends is also taking an off-term, you can keep FOMO at bay and see a new part of the world all in one visit. 

Don't waste a perfectly good off-term doing nothing! Try any or all of these suggestions and come back to Dartmouth refreshed, with a new perspective and a lot of cool stories to tell.