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As I've discussed in my previous Q&A post on D-Plan-specificsDartmouth runs on a quarter system as opposed to the more traditional semester system. In this post specifically, I'd like to discuss how the quarter system affects Dartmouth's break schedules and what I'm doing over my first official break (winterim)!


Winterim is Dartmouth's version of winter break—it covers both Christmas and Thanksgiving, around 6 weeks in length. Coming in as a first-year, I didn't really know what to expect from a 6-week winter break. I felt like that was an odd amount of time to be spending away from Dartmouth in the middle of the school year, but as I'm on break right now I've actually found it really comforting. Most of my friends at other universities get a Thanksgiving break and then go back to school, finish their classes and then proceed to their own version of Christmas break; however, through the quarter system, because "on" terms are only around 10 weeks long, our breaks aren't as standard. 

My winterim schedule

After finishing week six or so of my first fall term, I knew I wanted to be home for winterim—some students go on vacation, some find small internships in nearby cities, and some do mixes of both. Pretty early on, I felt my time was going to be best spent recharging, visiting friends, and preparing for the start of winter term in January.

Although I'm taking time to relax and hang out with friends and family during the break, 6 weeks is still a substantial chunk of time. So, in order to both feel and be productive, I've been keeping up on a few school-related activities throughout my time being home.

One thing I'm really trying to emphasize over the break is keeping up with Dartmouth's pace of learning; the ten-week term moves really quickly so I'm utilizing my free time to learn new material before returning to campus. One way I've been doing that is by taking daily trips to my local library (the cover picture of this post) to start early on some of my coursework for winter term. I'm mainly focusing my effort on learning Python for CS 1, Dartmouth's introductory computer science course.

My first program

I've also been practicing guitar for MUS 9.01 and reading for Writing 5—check out my winter term courses here if you haven't!

On top of keeping up with school, I'm also blogging over the break as my part-time job. There aren't many opportunities in my hometown to work part-time with the holidays and all, so blogging has been the perfect option.

Final thoughts

Going back to my initial point, before the break, early on as a first-year, I thought winterim was going to be an extremely awkward and unsatisfying time in between terms; however, I've actually found it to be quite beneficial. Instead of an odd quirk, I now view it as a special highlight of some of the unique opportunities the quarter system is able to provide.

See you next week!

Your friend, 


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