Dartbeat Asks: Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman

By Annette Denekas, The Dartmouth Staff | 9/23/15 3:55am

’19s, we know that plunging so suddenly into everything that is Dartmouth can be overwhelming. Hopefully you’re loving life as you rush from Collis’ stir-fry line to a spikeball game on the Green, to club tennis practice, to the Tower Room, to dinner at FoCo, and then finally back to your dorm where you “do homework” by chatting with your floormates until 4 a.m. To help you navigate your way through the craziness of freshman year, Dartbeat checked with some ’18s — who most recently took the daunting everything-Dartmouth plunge — about things they wish they knew last year as freshman. Keep these tips in mind as you start to make Dartmouth home.
“I wish I knew that it’s okay to not go out three times a week, every week. I wouldn’t have missed anything, and I definitely could’ve used the extra sleep. I also regret not applying to a DOC winter break trip!”
—Dru Falco ’18

“I wish I knew that it’s possible to shop classes, as well as plan out ahead of time which courses you are going to take, since some are only offered in certain terms. It also would have been cool to know that on Tuesdays you can get the Hop to make you a General Tso’s queso.”
—Jake Rost ’18

“I wish I knew that you can put sunny-side-up eggs on your Collis stir-fry, that the Hillel kitchen has free cookie dough at all times and that the Top of the Hop exists. I also should have started dancing when I was 10 to prep for Sheba life.”
—Eliza Ezrapour ’18

“I wish I had known to attend office hours, especially from the start of the term when I didn't necessarily have a lot of questions about the class. The benefit from having a professor know you personally is so that later in the term when you are struggling in their class, they care about your success and give you the extra help you need in office hours. Although I attended office hours last year, I only attended late in the term when many students were seeking help. I found that the students who had been meeting with the professor all year — and had already gotten to know him or her — had a much higher chance of getting help from the professor and understanding the material.”
—Abigail Baldwin ’18

“I wish I had gone to the Farmer’s Market more and taken greater advantage of the (relatively) warm weather at the start of school. I also wish I’d pursued more outdoor activities like hiking, walking around Occom and stargazing, especially at the Observatory!”
—Carolyn Strauch ’18

“As a freshman, I wish I knew more about the resources we have as students at Dartmouth. I was vaguely aware of some of the amenities, but I feel like I didn't really take advantage of the tutoring program, TA office hours and my faculty deans as much as I should have.”
—Will Shafer ’18

“I wish I had known that it’s okay not to feel on top of everything all the time. I know it often seems like all our peers at Dartmouth are doing really well and are having no problem balancing course loads with activities and social life, but that’s not always the case and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Also, I wish I knew how wonderful going to office hours can be and how being comfortable with a professor can make a class more engaging.”
—Francesca Governali ’18

“I wish I knew as a freshman that I would be playing so much pong. I would have practiced.”
—Justin Gualtieri ’18

“I wish I knew that the gym is your friend. Wheelock Books sucks. Amazon is much better for textbooks. And to that point: order your textbooks on time. Office hours are also good, even if you don't think you're struggling in the class. Terms are so short, and you often don't know you're struggling until the end.”
— Aaron Cheese ’18

Annette Denekas, The Dartmouth Staff