Cherry Trees
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How much work does it take to graduate at Dartmouth? The short answer is a lot. Long answer? Well, on average, students take three classes a term. "Only three?!" I hear you say. Yes, dear friend, but Dartmouth runs on ten-week terms. Classes go by at lightning speed! And the worst thing you can do is fall behind. With so much going on between personal, academic, and social life, it can be quite hard to get back on track. I make it a point to never miss class, even if it is now online and recorded. Re-watching a lecture just isn't the same. For one, you can't ask questions; moreover, it is very hard to keep your attention on the lecture when there is no participation on your part. I think it is valid to say students are also allowed to take 2 classes if they face extenuating circumstances, or 4 classes if they are very, very brave, and well-organized. I have personally done a 4-class term, and it took some sacrifices. However, I got to take a class I really wanted to, so I think it was worth it!

And how much does each class take? That varies greatly. Some classes are paper-based: these tend to be very laid back on some weeks, where one can expect a few hours of readings for each class. On other weeks, however, when papers are due, the workload can be quite heavy. That's why it is important to keep a schedule going: starting assignments early is key. Don't get yourself in a position where an all-nighter is the only option! Always talk to your professors if you run into trouble. They are very understanding, and only want to see you succeed.

Other classes might be midterm and final based. In that case, keeping a daily study routine has been my life-saver. Cramming is a terrible option, especially with only ten weeks. I reserve at least two hours a day to review and do homework for each of my classes, so around six hours a day. This varies from term to term though, so it's important to plan out your hours early in the term.

Overall, the takeaway is: schedule, schedule, schedule. And don't be shy if you need to ask for help! Dartmouth students help each other, and faculty helps Dartmouth students. The academics are tough, but they are very rewarding!

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