Is It Over Already?
Three seniors reflect on leadership positions and passing the torch.
Despite the several inches of snow burying the Green, the icy sidewalks covered in salt and the long-awaited powder on the Skiway, winter term is almost over. Since most campus organizations run on a spring-through-winter year for leadership roles, this means that the end of many seniors’ leadership positions is also near. Amid the chaos of final exams, term papers and a blizzard, three seniors reflected on time spent leading groups they love, as their time at the helmcomes to a close.
Ski Patrol director Vanessa Haggans ’23 said that she feels particularly nostalgic as the club’s busiest term draws to a close. Haggans joined Ski Patrol her freshman year and has become increasingly involved with the club over the years.
“I realized that I love the actual act of patrolling and I love the logistics behind shift scheduling and interacting with community patrollers that work at the Skiway as well, so I slowly realized that I really wanted to get more involved in the organization,” Haggans said.
After hours spent organizing shifts, welcoming the ’26s and coordinating with patrollers throughout the Upper Valley, Haggans said she is both excited and sad to relinquish her duties.
“I’m very excited to… pass the torch along and I think that this next group is fantastic,” she said. “There definitely is a bit of a sadness about just how much of my last year has been spent thinking about patrol and planning for patrol, so it will be a little weird in this transition.”
However, she hopes to remain tangentially involved in Ski Patrol while watching the ’24s step up and fill her old role.
“I love the community,” Haggans added. “Patrol truly is my family on campus. They’re my closest friends [and] the people I want to spend my time with.”
Piper Stacey ’23 also resonated with the sadness of leaving a rewarding leadership position combined with the excitement of welcoming younger leaders. As president of the Dartmouth Outing Club for six months — a longer term than most DOC presidents — Stacey has grown accustomed to the responsibilities of leading such a large organization.
Although there are many things she’ll miss about leading the DOC, Stacey said mentorship takes the cake.
“I think I’m best at putting the right people in the right rooms and empowering them to make the changes they want to see in the club,” Stacey said.
Like Haggans, Stacey plans to stay involved in her club despite passing the presidency to a junior in order to continue making and carrying on the long-lasting relationships she has formed with other DOC members.
Despite the hard work and long hours required from leaders of various campus organizations, deep friendships and a close-knit community make the effort worthwhile. The Dartmouth Aires music director Patrick Howard ’23 said that he feels connected to the a cappella group in a more meaningful way than if he had never been in charge.
“It connects you to the group in a very special and personal way that you can’t really get if you’re not doing that much work for [the Aires],” he explained. “So I guess now that it won’t be my responsibility, I’m a little worried that I’ll miss some of that personal connection with it.”
However, the transition of responsibility next term will also be a welcome break from less enjoyable aspects of the job. From keeping everyone focused during rehearsals to resolving creative differences, Howard said that there are less glamorous parts of the role that he is looking forward to leaving behind. He’s also excited to indulge in the more lighthearted side of the Aires.
“If I’m devoting less time to the organizational side of the Aires, then I’ll be able to spend more time on the social side and the friendship side,” Howard added.
While transitioning out of leadership is at the forefront of these students’ minds, there are also more general aspects of the Dartmouth winter they will miss.
“There is something about the ruggedness of walking to class in a lot of snow or putting on all these layers or trudging around in the cold that feels adventurous in a way that I’ll miss,” Howard said.
The thought of leaving the wintry wonderland of rural New Hampshire behind is bittersweet, but Howard said that this isn’t necessarily bad.
“On the whole, I’m more sad than I am excited, which in a way is a positive thing because I’m happy that I’m leaving this place with a really deep care for it and for the people who I’ve been around,” he said.
Whether the future is exciting, scary or a mix of both, Haggans shared a bit of reassurance that she gleaned from the life of a ’21 friend.
“She’s just as happy right now, two years out of college, as she was during her peak moments during senior year,” Haggans said. “Life doesn’t stop with graduation — there are so many things beyond that.”
In her closing remarks, Stacey reflected on the good and bad of stepping out of leadership at Dartmouth and into the rest of her life.
“I toe the line between stressed and extremely excited about the future. I think a lot of my lasts are going to be very happy ones,” she said. “With that said, I’m a little nervous to go out into the big beautiful world and try to make a community like the one that I’ve made here, elsewhere, in environments that are maybe less outdoor focused. I think it can be scary to start over in any phase of life, but I know it’s coming, and I’m ready.”