Dear Dartmouth, Be My Valentine?

One writer professes her love for the College.

by Stephanie Sowa | 2/9/22 2:10am

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Source: The Dartmouth

The whipped cream brushes my lips as I sip my delectable hot chocolate. My eyes absorb the colorful spines in the romance novel section of Still North Books & Bar. As I sink into a plush, lime-colored chair, I know that my greens and grains salad and ABC toast will always be here for me. This cozy, magical bookstore is one of the many things I love about Dartmouth and its surroundings. With love in the air, let us relish in the beauty of Dartmouth College.

At the beginning of fall term, my freshman class embarked upon First-Year Trips. As the shimmering sunlight dappled the hiking path crunching below my boots, I looked upon Moosilauke Lodge in awe. My tripees and I bonded over the banana and sunbutter tortillas and attempted to prank our trip leaders after they had successfully tricked us. Tripees are friends for life, or perhaps more than friends.

The lovely Kaitlin Kolb ’25, Chemistry rockstar and fellow Still North fan, recalled her first-year trip journey. Picture this: a circle of fresh, new faces. Girl and boy meet for the first time. Eye contact is made. They realize they are both “just outside of Boston,” very uncommon here at Dartmouth (insert wink). Despite not being in the same trip group, Kolb met her now-boyfriend during the first day of trips.

“We were sitting next to each other at the bonfire, started talking, and realized how much we had in common,” Kolb said. “I’m really glad trips were able to bring us together and that we’ve been able to spend so much time together here at Dartmouth.”

Kolb expressed excitement about her Valentine’s Day plans with Cam Dailey ’25, the beloved boyfriend, which includes going to Pine and exchanging gifts. She told me about the skating and skiing the two have done together, warming my heart. While she reflects upon her own romantic relationship, Kolb mentions highlights of Dartmouth during this season of love.

“You can walk into Foco alone and you’ll end up sitting with a whole group of people,” Kolb said. “Everyone I’ve met here has been so supportive and it’s amazing.” 

Echoing Kolb’s sentiments, Arnold Fuentes ’23, Ariana Grande superfan and economics powerhouse, discussed how everyone can find something special at Dartmouth, especially on Cupid’s favorite day of the year. 

“Valentine’s Day [at Dartmouth] is also a reason to just have fun with your friends, not just someone you like romantically,” Fuentes said. “I’ve noticed lots of clubs on campus have been doing goody-bags and other treats with fun messages to send to friends or a crush.”

“Valentine’s Day [at Dartmouth] is also a reason to just have fun with your friends, not just someone you like romantically. I’ve noticed lots of clubs on campus have been doing goody-bags and other treats with fun messages to send to friends or a crush.”

One cannot help but think about Dartmouth’s Marriage Pact this time of year. This intriguing program utilizes science and technology to not only create romantic relationships, but also friendships. Its algorithm matches lucky, star-crossed lovers based on their answers to a specific questionnaire. While there may be plenty of horror stories despite 99% matches, I know of a success story here and there. Dartmouth advertises Marriage Pact during fall term: when leaves are falling to the ground, students are falling for each other. 

Flitzing, however, takes place all year round. A renowned Darmouth tradition, the “flitz” is a combination of the word “flirty” and “blitz,” Dartmouth’s old emailing system. One could say that the students are inspired by the rhythmic and soothing rhymes of Dr. Seuss, a Big Green alumnus. Flitzes are sent to fellow students containing immaculate (or attempting to be immaculate) stanzas that should flatter the recipient. 

Chris Zhao ’25, a sparkly and witty friend of mine, shared her flitz story. She recalled thinking that a boy in a few of her classes looked cute from the mask up, but she never had the opportunity to properly interact with him. Wanting to be bold and relish her “hot girl era,” she checked an item off her bucket list by pressing send on that flitz.

“I pulled out my notes app and I was imbued with the power of William Shakespeare: the rhymes and couplets were streaming out of me in a cathartic experience,” Zhao said. “I sent it to him with low expectations, but he surpassed my expectations and flitzed me back.” 

The carefully selected fonts and colorful lettering on both ends resulted in a flitz prompted Foco dinner for Zhao and the recipient of her Wordsworth worthy sentiments. 

While I have yet to send a flitz, my current crush happens to be the Dartmouth Skiway. Growing up in Southern California, I have never had such easy access to skiing. The dark green lodge is full of life the minute my clunky snow boot enters the premises. My friends tease me as I pair a brilliant pickle with the warm fries served upstairs. The fast-moving chair-lift whacks the back of my thighs and I laugh alongside friends, new and old. The feeling of my slick skis sliding down the smooth snow washes all of my troubles away. Where else could I take classes during the week and ski so easily on the weekend?

I’m sure that Dailey, French expert and guitar fanatic, would agree with me. While his feelings for Kolb are strong and he “made the first move,” he has a deep love for the outdoors as well. Here at Dartmouth, there is undeniably an incredible access to natural resources. Whether it’s a challenging hike followed by a sunset swim in the river, or skating on the frozen pond after skiing all morning, the outdoors outstretches a welcoming hand to all individuals.

“This past weekend I went to the skiway after the big storm, so it was super good snow and not too cold,” Dailey said. “I really like being outside and having the opportunity to see kids I go to school with in a more informal setting like skiing on the weekends.

Circling back to trips, my absolutely iconic trip leader Sanjana Goli ’22 and I have become close. We laugh about the differences between Dartmouth and California, and she gives me advice on how to navigate school. Goli reflects upon one of her favorite Dartmouth traditions. Grabbing a friend or two, she completes a Woccom (walk + Occom, you get it). 

“I love going on Woccoms with my friends every single season,” Goli said. “We’ll talk about our days or random things, anything goes on a Woccom.”

There are so many things to love about Dartmouth. Even when the workload is brutal and the slushy snow freezes to the bottom of your boots, the friends you make here and the experiences you embark upon make the struggle worth it. 

“There is a group here for everybody,” Fuentes reflects. “There is always a safe space for any type of person on Dartmouth’s campus.”

Dartmouth College, here is my flitz to you:

I would wake up at 5 a.m. for a Gile sunrike,

Stay in Sanborn as long as you’d like.

Stand on the Green while the bonfire burns,

Practice at the skiway all my sharp turns.

Dance in the sticky basement of a frat,

Pray for a working thermostat.

Just for you dear lone pine,

Dartmouth, will you be my valentine?

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