Like many other students on campus, I spent the first week of the quarter shopping a lot — and I don’t mean shopping in the sense of going to the mall and buying clothes. This is a much more stressful kind of shopping — the shopping of classes.
I had settled on four five-unit classes, all of which I really enjoyed and was excited about. However, with 20 units, involvement in four student groups, as well as the pressure of having to apply for summer internships, I quickly found myself getting overwhelmed rushing from one place to another, barely having time to get my homework done — even though it was only syllabus week — and squeezing in time with friends as opposed to dwelling in it. If there was one class I wasn’t too enthusiastic about, I would’ve dropped it without a moment’s hesitation, but none of these classes seemed worthy enough to drop. So should I do it? Should I push myself to take all these awesome classes on top of pursuing all of these other awesome extracurricular opportunities? I asked myself these questions while deciding whether or not I should drop a class.
Is it required for your major? It’s a simple question, but it helped me to determine whether it was imperative for me to take this class or whether I was taking it out of mere intellectual curiosity. For me, the class I was considering dropping was not required for my major or minor, which led me to the second question.
Could you take it another quarter? Classes are often offered for multiple quarters in the school year. Even if it weren’t, I could take the class the following year, so was it absolutely crucial that I took this class now, when I had a packed schedule already?
Do you have time for yourself? For me, the answer to this question was no during the first week of school. Any time I wasn’t spending in class, at a meeting or having a meal was being spent doing homework or working. No matter how counterproductive it may sound, the time to nap, the time to watch YouTube videos, the time to read for fun — the overall time to rest is as essential to the quality of my life as my education is. It took me a busy, packed week of no rest to realize this.
Is this one class worth the sacrifice of your time? If the class I was considering dropping was one I absolutely didn’t want to miss no matter the stakes, I would be happy to sacrifice free time for it. However, I figure there are too many amazing classes and too little time at Stanford for you to be spending your time taking a class you’re not absolutely stoked about. Unless it’s required for your major, of course.
Do you have that itch of wanting to drop it but feeling like you shouldn’t? As I did the entirety of Week 1, sometimes you know deep down that this is too much, that you’d be pushing yourself too far if you stayed in the class. If you know you want to drop a class but are just putting it off, looking for a sign to tell you that dropping it is the right thing to do, this is your sign: Just drop it.
Contact Angie Lee at angielee ‘at’ stanford.edu.