Reuniting With Your Alter Ego

by Andrew Sosanya | 1/3/18 2:15am

If coming to Dartmouth has taught me anything, it’s that people can quickly change gears to achieve a goal. For some, it calls for a quick flicker of a light switch, but for others the transformation triggers a personality change — an alter ego. These alter egos serve a beneficiary purpose, and once it’s created, it’s here to stay.

In the new year, Sands is out on a hunt to end her senior year with a rugby championship. As a top rugby player, biology major and aspiring pediatrician, her prowess on the field and in the classroom is supported with the help of an alter ego, channeling the energy she needs to tackle all the goals and obstacles she faces at Dartmouth.

“The moment when I put my mouthguard in and stand in the hallway before I run out to the field, something just clicks,” Sands said.

This alter ego helped her adjust to Dartmouth’s academic rigor after transferring from Norwich University in Vermont, giving her academic confidence to tackle her tough biology classes.

“It has to be this version of you that can do anything,” Sands said about her alter ego. “I’ve taken on certain values such as confidence and self-determination.”

Her teammates know the duality of Sands very well, both the funny, goofy jubilant figure and the serious, steadfast athlete. Those not familiar with her usually only see the latter.

“People tell me that I’m somewhat intimidating,” Sands said. “There is a displacement between what you see and what you actually know.”

Recently coming off a four-course term and an injury, Shawn Ohazuruike ’20 assumes an aggressive persona on and off the track.

When I’m on the track, I have to channel a certain anger to be as competitive as possible,” Ohazuruike said.

There are two different types of personas Ohazuruike channels. The first is an athletic, gritty demeanor used to get over the (literal) hurdles in front of him as fast as possible. The second, a stoic form of resolve used to work toward his objective of someday becoming a doctor.

“They work towards different goals, but’s the end-goal mentality that drives both of them,” Ohazuruike said.

Alternatively, Camilo Toruño ’20 adopts an alter ego to connect with his academic self. Toruño said he puts in upward of 75 hours of work per week, either in professor Lee Lynd’s bioengineering lab, studying for his STEM courses or exploring what piques his interest. However, he wasn’t like this, until he got to Dartmouth.

“I decided that I wanted to be the best student — I felt like I had to change,” Toruño said. “I knew that, at Dartmouth, I had to change to survive.”

Toruño figured that the only way of achieving self-sufficiency was to craft a new studious alter ego in contrast to his high school self.

“I figured if I acted that way, I would put myself around people that did ... [academic] activities, and I would pick up their habits and be able to realize and become the person I wanted to be,” Toruño said.

Toruño feels that his alter ego thrives most when he’s working on bio-solutions in the Lynd Lab at Thayer.

“I’m working toward my goal of sustainability,” Toruño said.

However, Toruno’s academic alter ego doesn’t always guarantee success. He said he struggles with his old concepts of what a good, relaxing time is.

“In high school, when I wanted to have a good time, I wanted to go a party,” Toruño said. “Now, I have to refrain.”

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!