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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

Tip of the Month: Avoid Overloading Yourself with Units

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As you shop classes and choose what classes to keep or drop, we want to emphasize that the units and number of courses you are enrolled in are often minor factors in your academic experience. What is most important is taking on a course load that fits your needs this quarter. Your unit count does not reflect the other aspects of your life that you may also balance such as your jobs, clubs, hobbies, financial pressures, athletics, mental health, and more. Others may have different responsibilities, so it’s unfair to yourself to compare your course load to theirs!


To figure out if your course schedule is right for you, we suggest looking ahead at the syllabi and seeing the difficulty of major assignments and weekly assignments for that course. In addition, make sure to check if your course schedule allows for enough time for the things you may enjoy doing such as spending time with friends, doing your hobbies, or being involved in clubs. Don’t focus on fitting your life to reach a certain unit count, but instead make sure that your unit count allows you to live your life in addition to academics. 

If you discover that your current course load is too much to manage, consider dropping a class. There is no shame in being honest with yourself and the capacity that you have available. Do not sacrifice your well-being for the sake of taking another course. 

If you have decided to drop a class but don’t know how, we suggest first writing the professor an email to politely explain why you’re dropping their class to stay on good terms with them. Then, you can navigate to Axess, using the same method you enrolled in courses, find your course, click on the Edit button, and then choose Drop. Your Academic Advising Director (AAD) will send you emails notifying you of the drop deadline, which is usually a few weeks into the quarter, meaning you have plenty of time to figure out if you want to stay in that class.

Your academic experience at Stanford isn’t defined quantitatively but qualitatively! Don’t let your unit count impact how you perceive yourself as a student or a person.


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