Message From the Director

By Carl P. Thum, Ph.D., Director, Academic Skills Center

Dear First-Years

Successful students, as well as successful people in the world of work, share two key characteristics:

  1. They have clear, concrete, measurable personal goals
  2. They manage their time, using a specific system or strategy

In high school, those two characteristics are externally motivated and managed. In college, those characteristics must come from within, intrinsically.

So the task for first-year students is to, as quickly as possible, move from external motivators (peer group, parents, teachers/guidance counselors) to internal motivators (why are you here; what do you want to get out of your Dartmouth education/experience?)

Time management, a critically important skill to develop, requires paying attention to your available time (everyone gets 24 hours) and using it to achieve your goals. Since you can't really manage time (it's an entity), you are managing tasks – your behaviors and use of time to achieve your goals.


  1. Write out your goals, post them on your wall, review and revise them every day/week.
  2. Use a calendar (paper or app) to record when your time is taken up by structured activities (classes, meals, meetings) and when (and where) you are going to put in time for each of your three courses.

And set up an individual meeting with either Carl Thum, PhD, or Karen Afre by calling 603-646-2014.