Mountains, Dartmouth, Simon Ellis
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How do Dartmouth students manage their time?

A: Simon headshot

Last week I got a question from a prospective '24 who, after talking with me for a while, got a little overwhelmed with hearing about all of the extracurriculars I spoke about in addition to my seemingly impossible academic schedule. It's true: Dartmouth is an Ivy League school and the education I receive is extremely rigorous, but is so much more than what is entailed in my major/and or extracurriculars. And as far as clubs and sports go, it is so much more than just going to a practice or sitting in a meeting! This week I want to elaborate on some of my activities and involvements to show that some activities and studies are so much more than they seem, and that being involved doesn't always mean being busy.

Firstly, to be sure, being a double major is hard! If you haven't seen my other posts, I am a Government and Philosophy double major. I often have a lot of readings/spend most of my time doing "homework" by reading and trying to draw conclusions from classical philosophical essays, guest speakers, movies, and sometimes even from just going to office hours and finding a new subject to research for a class. This term I am taking a culminating experience in the Government department which entails making professional campaign videos for fictional candidates played by classmates! Last spring, I took a class where our homework was to wander in the woods for a few hours every week and record observations in a field journal, which just goes to show that the academic workload can vary greatly. While it is a lot of work and I would say I spend at least a few hours a day studying, I also have so much time to fill with whatever I want.

Extracurricular-wise, you can do whatever you want at Dartmouth! You don't have to join any clubs, but we have everything from a surf team to a coffee club and everything in-between. What I have really enjoyed is filling my time not only with extracurriculars I enjoy but also with new activities I didn't do in high school to try and grow and experience new things. Just last year I decided to start writing op-eds for our school newspaper, The Dartmouth, and it has turned into one of my favorite activities. It doesn't feel like just another commitment or something I need to do to look busy; it's something I am genuinely passionate about and enjoy spending time on. The same goes for the intramural soccer team I am on, which takes up a few hours every week but is also a way to get outside and stay active. You really do have 24 hours a day (minus sleep!) to decide what to do here, and having that freedom can give you the chance to thrive. 

The main point I want to share is that you might feel overwhelmed at first or a little scared when you hear about everything that Dartmouth students "do", but that's because for maybe the first time in your life, all your time is yours! That sort of freedom isn't just unique to Dartmouth, but I think the ability to do whatever you want and not feel pressured to do certain sports or take certain classes is definitely an amazing feeling.

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