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Ninety percent of Dartmouth students begin their four years bundled with a group of their soon-to-be classmates, camping in the woods, hiking amidst pleasant conversations, trying their hand at canoeing or making pizza at the Organic Farm. During Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips, students engage in their first interactions and form their first relationships of their time at Dartmouth.
A little over a year ago, I entered Dartmouth’s not-yet-freezing campus a bright-eyed and bushy tailed NARP (Non-Athletic Regular Person). I soon noticed the omnipresence of varsity gear at Dartmouth: black backpacks with telltale stitched green player numbers, Peak Performance shirts and Dartmouth green attire that punctuate the wardrobe of 913 students this year.
Jaime Eeg ’18 is no stranger to the term “crazy horse girl.” It’s the name that people sling at her when she talks about horses — the ones on the horse farm she was raised on, and her very own that she keeps at a barn nearby. Eeg was riding before she could even walk. As she grew up on the backs of horses, she noticed that her fellow riders were always girls, and while the boys would respect her for being able to handle a 1,500-pound animal, the interest would stop there. “Crazy horse boy” was never much of a thing.
Leadership is a broad term, but it’s something that many people strive toward. Often times, the type of leadership that people gravitate toward is the kind that comes with a title, and we are often misled to think that the only significant leaders are those who head an organization or have a formal title to their name. In reality, leadership encompasses much more than that. Leadership requires personality, the ability to interact with others, compassion and the motivation to serve. It is something that can help a person grow.
Native American Studies pamphlets from the program’s first decade.
Evolution. It’s the reason why we’re here. It’s why we stand on two legs, why most of us get our wisdom teeth taken out, why we have five fingers to clasp our morning coffee. Evolution, in both the scientific and the lay sense, permeates every aspect of our lives, from modern medicine to forensics (DNA testing) to computer science (algorithms that compete against each other).
So you come into freshman year, and you think, “New Dartmouth, new me.” You stroll down the intersecting paths of the Green that are disorganized and rocky, unlike the future you have planned for yourself over the next four years. This plan happens to include a full-time commitment to the triathlon team, auditioning for the Sing Dynasty, weekly Dartmouth Outing Club trips and, of course, a four-course term.
Before new students arrive on campus each fall, they are emailed a link to fill out the housing preference survey. This survey, which often comes as a relief to students whose friends at other schools got their housing information weeks prior, allows students to describe their housing and roommate preferences. Students can rank different styles of rooms, opt into living on a substance-free floor and even describe their potential roommates’ ideal levels of cleanliness, but there is another important choice they can make: they can choose to apply to a Living Learning Community.
Dartmouth is home to a thriving ecosystem with a variety of flora and fauna that fill its environment, ranging from friendly canines to historic pines. Among this biodiversity, there is one animal of chief interest to the modern zoologist: the Dartmouth student. The Dartmouth student is a peculiar species with a distinct four-part metamorphosis. While the full life cycle of the Dartmouth student can take a variable amount of time, each stage comes with its own specialized skills and behaviors, marking the slow transition of a Dartmouth student into an adult alumnus.
Ryan Calsbeek is a professor in the department of biological sciences. He specializes in natural selection and studies evolution in reptiles and amphibians. Professor Calsbeek is teaching Biology 27, “Animal Behavior,” this fall.
From the outside, academic departments may seem like established, unshakable institutions. It is easy to take them for granted, to view them as givens. But behind the clear-cut acronyms, they are constantly evolving.
Your freshman year at Dartmouth has a special kind of glow. There will be moments in which it feels like the best time of your life — when you make friends with people from all across the country, when you experience the magic of four distinct seasons, when you uncover opportunities for learning whose existence you never fathomed. Dizzy with thoughts of friends from places like Taiwan and North Dakota, jewel-colored leaves and classes on everything from human-centered design to catastrophe and human survival and the ethics of reproduction, you will at times lose your breath to wonder.
“Hi. How are you?” “Hey. I’m great — what about yourself?” “Great!”