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The Dartmouth
April 24, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Shapes of Spring

Addison Verot ’25 talks to students about what the transition into springtime means to them, while reflecting on how she has changed in tandem with the seasons.

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On a campus located in the middle of the woods, nature plays an integral role in many Dartmouth students’ lifestyles. During this past winter term, however, while many were enjoying skiing and ice skating, I could not say the same. After another long Hanover winter, I’ve recently realized I’m not as pessimistic as I thought — I’ve just been sun deprived. Like a plant by your bedroom window that straightens when you raise the blinds, I too feel as though I am now standing a little taller this spring. I feel ready to return to the Collis patio for meals, to hike again in a t-shirt and to pretend that I’m not allergic to grass so that I can study on the Green — followed by a trip after to CVS for anti-itch cream. Spring at Dartmouth brings a renewal of energy and spirit, and I know I’m not alone in my appreciation for all the many facets of spring. 

“Just opening up the windows in the morning and letting all the natural light come in has made the start to my days better,” Emily Wangenheim ’25 said. “I even wore a skirt today, and who knows, maybe I'll try on some flip flops this week.” 

Others, like Annie Politi ’23, notice a difference not only in their mental well-being, but how they view themselves entirely.

“I think, oftentimes, when people are going through a hard spell, they wish they could present their actual selves to the world, at least for me.” Politi said. “And in the spring, with the physical removal of layers, I feel like I’m removing the layers that had been obscuring me from other people.”

Along with these mental benefits, Wangenheim also pointed out how the presence of students outside can help inject energy into campus. 

“The campus often feels very small … [so] when everyone is outside, it makes the campus feel a little bigger,” Wangenheim added. “It makes me happy to walk outside and see people enjoying themselves. It's just infectious.”

While I am admittedly swept up in the excitement of the weather and what that means for the days ahead, I am simultaneously taking note of what I have lost with the change of seasons.

While spring serves as a time of rebirth, it is also a time of death for all that transpires during colder months. The taste of crisp air, the relief of warm drinks on cold days, movies watched under piles of fur and down, my sudden inclination to bake, the coziness of warm comfort food and lit candles on dark days. I will lose the one-on-one time with myself and the echo chambers of introspections, good and bad. As the cyclical nature of the seasons reassure us that what we let go of is sure to come again, I can’t help but to heed how this winter compared to last. I feel compelled to compare this spring to last, and note that the ideas, emotions and phases I had once explored, for better or for worse, that did not, and perhaps will not, return again. 

Politi remarked that she thinks of Spring as “a liminal space” and “a transition between destinations.”

“Whether you’re a senior without a job lined up, or even a senior with a job, there is a lot of anticipation surrounding this time. Even the things we’re 100% sure of in our future … don’t exist yet … [they] could change with the flip of a coin,” Politi said. “And so I have found that spring, especially this year, really feels like a space between places.”

Madison Spivak ’24 echoed Politi’s emphasis on spring as a time of change. 

“A lot of undergraduate associations, like my acapella group or sorority, have a transition of execs in the spring,” Spivak said. “I think most of us feel ready to take on those responsibilities, and the seniors definitely seem to feel burnt out and excited to relax a little bit, and I think that contributes to the spring feeling like a time of transition on campus.” 

Wangenheim also noted this prevalent sense of anticipation for the coming months, especially with sophomore summer coming up for her and the Class of 2025.  

“It’s interesting because usually there’s the transition to summer vacation,” Emily said. “But there’s sophomore summer this year, so it kind of feels like this fun little build up that’s just going to keep getting better.” 

When I reflect on last spring I think of the anticipation I felt for my upcoming softball season and the summer I would spend in California. I took note of what I thought would be my last term unaffiliated, the last time I’d sleep in my freshman dorm room, my last freshman class and my last few days playing pong at the bottom of the totem pole of class years. Now, I look forward to seeing friends that will return this summer and playing shows with my band. I am painstakingly aware that this is the last term I will live with the freshman year roommate, the last time I’ll eat on the Collis patio with my senior friends and my last spring of modest anxieties that concern class schedules and portfolios and not yet internship hunting. 

For me, spring represents a time of year when I try to practice my comfortability with in-betweens, with uncertainty and with “becoming” instead of “being.” It is difficult not to long for what is lost or worry about the future, and at a school that labels each week of the term in numbered order, it can feel impossible to take the term day-by-day. Yet, while I have no words of profound wisdom to combat this feeling of unrest, I suppose I write to explore and accept that like the spring, my thoughts, feelings and days also occupy a liminal space. While they have bloomed, it feels as though they have not quite blossomed. And although it may feel as though these aspects of life cannot not exist outside of a state of resoluteness, they do — and we do. 


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