Vox Clamantis: Dartmouth Changes You

by Maura Pennington | 9/29/14 6:01am

Letter to the editor:

I did not have a typical Dartmouth experience. For one, I was an extracurricular interloper. I had temporary involvements in Aquinas House, Casual Thursday, Cabin and Trail, and — though I never rushed — my picture can be found in the 2006 composite of Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority members. I led a Dartmouth Outing Club first-year trip in organic farming. I was a Russian drill instructor for two terms. I also missed my senior year because I was struggling with early episodes of bipolar disorder. I resented that the College made it so impossible for me to find a firm footing.

Yet I had no solidified sense of my identity at that point. How could I have expected to fit in? It doesn’t bother me that current students are trying to fix what needs fixing in Hanover. Nothing should remain exactly the same. But I hope you will consider this lesson I gratefully learned when I returned to graduate a year behind and ended up taking six of the best classes of my life: You don’t change Dartmouth. Dartmouth changes you.

Maura Pennington ’08


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