by Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley ’05
It’s 6 a.m. While most of campus is still sound asleep, Anna Dorman ’14 is sitting in her bedroom with a big cup of coffee. And her planner.
You’ll find her here just about every morning, thinking about her day and plotting her next 24 hours with meticulous organization. “Every year, I go into The College Store and buy the biggest planner they have,” she says. “I lost it once and it was the most stressful two hours of my life.”
No matter what she has going on that day– whether it’s a test, organizing a debate tournament, volunteering with Big Brothers, Big Sisters or all three and more–Dorman doesn’t sweat it. “My time is structured,” she says. “There isn’t a lot of room for spontaneity, but I never feel rushed or pressured. I have my priorities, and I follow through with them.”
The daughter of Dr. Jan McGonagle ’87 and Dean Dorman ’87, she is double major (economics and international relations) and double minor (environmental studies and Middle Eastern studies), with a variety of academic interests. She typically takes five courses each semester.
“I love the small classes and the interdisciplinary focus of my studies. My professors are funny, passionate and above all smart and supportive,” says Dorman, who also holds down jobs as a writer in the Office of Communications, a civic leader in the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, and a note taker for the Center for Teaching and Learning.
Between classes, lectures and lunch, Dorman is often carrying her iPhone. “I do a lot of dangerous walking and e-mailing,” she jokes, checking her notifications as she talks. “It’s probably not safe, but I’m pretty proficient at this point.”
After 5 p.m., you can find Dorman at club meetings, attending President’s Forum lectures, leading the Colleges’ national championship debate team through three weekly practices, laughing with friends at an Americans for Informed Democracy meeting, or defending her ideas before William Smith Congress. “I’m literally never not doing something,” says Dorman, who is also a Trustee Scholar.
Tuesday evenings she leads a debate program for students at the Geneva Middle School. On Wednesday nights, she volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club. And she has class president meetings at least once a week. “I also try to help plan or organize one or two special events each week, like the HWS Votes election party,” she says. “There’s always something going on.”
After an evening of organizing and leading, she starts in on her homework around 9 p.m. “I have my secret study spots,” she says. “But I can tell you that the back corner on the third floor of the library and the Blackwell Room are two of the best places for productivity on campus.”
You might think the weekend would bring respite from the fast-paced schedule, but no. Dorman travels to debate tournaments at other colleges and universities most weekends, and during those rare Saturdays when she finds herself on campus, volunteering in the community is her number one priority.
“Lately, I have been all about HWS Responds and Hurricane Sandy relief, but my favorite organization is the Boys and Girls Club,” says Dorman.
On Sunday nights, you can find her right back in her dorm room, communing with her planner and a giant, wall-sized calendar, going through her upcoming week with a fine-tipped pen, setting her priorities and making to-do lists.
“At HWS, I’ve had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else–from studying abroad in Amman, Jordan, to attending both the Public Leadership Education Network Conference and the Clinton Global Initiative University,” she says. “If I’m not organized, I might miss something spectacular, and I want to take advantage of everything the Colleges have to offer.”