Chamseddine: Time for Everything

by Reem Chamseddine | 8/21/15 6:11pm

I remember stepping off the Dartmouth Coach in the fall of 2013, my freshman fall, and being overwhelmed by everything I could do that very same afternoon — and in the next four years.

On the Coach ride over, I had made instant friends with my seatmate, and we decided to get gelato. Before arriving on campus, I had actively participated on the Class of 2017 Facebook group and had plans to get lunch with my roommate, watch a movie with my trippie and attend several orientation events — all upon my arrival on campus. I remember how happy the idea of becoming a Dartmouth student made me, and I remembering wanting to do everything Dartmouth has to offer once I arrived.

The message I am trying to convey is that there are way too many opportunities that you will want to take advantage of while you are here.

This message applies to your classes. Whether you are coming in with a decided major or whether you are hoping to explore the liberal arts, there will be many courses that sound absolutely fascinating. From “Secrecy and Lying in Politics” and “Dostoevsky and the Problem of Evil” to global health classes, community-based classes and the design-thinking engineering course, you will find that there are more cool courses than you could fit over your undergraduate career. Yes, you can triple major in economics, chemistry and music, but you will likely want to take more classes outside these fields if you take a quick look at the Dartmouth College catalogue.

This message applies to your extracurricular involvements as well. Mock Trial, Ultimate Frisbee, Super Smash Bros and 300 other clubs are open for you to join. You can become an a cappella star, play club tennis, compete in parliamentary debate tournaments, do research with a professor and volunteer at a mobile clinic in Peru, but unlike what you may have done during high school, I imagine, you will not be able to join every student organization you are interested in.

Most importantly, this message applies to your social life. Dartmouth is filled with students that are, at once, diverse and similar. You will find that Dartmouth students come from all walks of life, from all over the United States and around the world. Some of your classmates will be training for the Olympics, others may have published a book during high school. Some will be first-generation college students, and others will be children of Dartmouth alumni. Yet, the student body is similar. You will be surrounded by thousands of young adults who, like you, are hard working, ambitious and excited about Dartmouth. You will live in the residential halls together, go on hikes together, spend nights studying in the library together. You will meet some of your best friends here. You will make hundreds of acquaintances and friends. You will be invited to go to parties and birthdays and camping trips and ski runs and river jumps, but you will not have time for all these things, and you will not have time to strike friendships with your entire class.

Again, the range of classes, clubs, people and resources here will amaze you. But don’t let it overwhelm you. There is no time to do it all, and this is a good thing! However you wish to pursue your time here at Dartmouth, you will be making choices. You will chose your classes, your friends and how you spend your free time. By doing so, you will have a more meaningful Dartmouth experience. You will truly understand your field of study, make life-long friendships and contribute significantly to campus organizations that you care about.

The idea of being a Dartmouth student makes me very happy still, and that’s because I am deeply invested in my classes, my friends and my extra-curriculars. You will not have time for everything at Dartmouth, but you will have time for what matters most to you.