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I came to Dartmouth from Taos, a small town in New Mexico, not knowing anyone or what to expect. How could an hour-long campus tour possibly prepare me for such a massive transition? I was moving across the country, living away from home for the first time. I was a mess of nervous excitement. How was I supposed to find my way around campus? Was I going to make friends? How could my small-town public school possibly compare to the prestigious prep and boarding schools of some of my peers? But I was excited too — excited to test myself and try new things, to be able to take control of my life for the first time, to choose my classes based on my real interests, to choose my activities, my friends and what I was going to eat for dinner that night.
Music is all around us at Dartmouth. From breakfast in Collis Café to studying in One Wheelock, to working out at the gym and getting Facetime in Baker Lobby, music is the constant backdrop to everyday activities. Not every space is created the same, though, and a song that reminds us of one place might seem totally foreign somewhere else. With the help of some musically astute students, I compiled a campus-wide playlist for you. You’re welcome.
1) What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Why was this the kind of music you listened to?
She said, “Do you wanna go out?
During their freshman winter, Maggie and Maddie decided to start an aerobics dance class for all those who lived in the River cluster (how exciting!). They posted sick signs all around the dorms and even on the Class of 2016 Facebook page. The signs read — “Stressed for finals? Still haven’t achieved that hot spring break bod? DON’T FRET!!!! Come to Maddie and Maggie’s aerobics dance class!!!! 5:00 Judge Basement Study Room. IT’S FREE!”
Scene: FRAT DADDY SAM and ANARCHY SAM sit together in a dorm. They both rushed the same fraternity.
Only two months ago, a new phenomenon began to sweep through the grand theaters of Broadway. And, odds are, it’s not what you would expect. That is unless, of course, you expected men in colonial garb rapping about the life of Alexander Hamilton. If so, you hit the nail on the head.
For spring break 2013 (no regrets!!), Maggie visited Maddie and her family in Texas. Wearing shiny cowboy boots and a blue dress, Maggie blended in with the masses of people who werelined up to watch the day’s events. No one would have guessed that she hails from suburban Massachusetts — until she opened her mouth. “Yee-haw and howdy y’all! Let’s ride in pick up trucks and go down dirt roads…. with cows!” she said to nobody as Maddie and Maggie entered the rodeo.
SCENE: Reed 105. S--T TOGETHER SAM is neatly seated with a notebook and pencil. A KAF beverage steams in his eco-friendly, washable and reusable BPA-free mug. His hair looks clean, and his outfit is on fleek. CALAMITY SAM careens into the room. He is bleary-eyed and attempting to swallow a Novack bagel whole.
What a week. Senior year is here, and boy is it here to stay.
*Binky and his parents, Judith and Richard, stand on the front steps of their home. Binky wears a Dartmouth T-shirt and a frame pack. His parents fight back tears.*
While the transition to college isn’t easy for anyone, some students have a more difficult time adapting than others — some have trouble handling the college workload or spending their first few weeks away from friends and family, while others often struggle with meeting new people or making time for each commitment they take on.
Before walking into The Mirror’s weekly story assignment meeting last week, the so-called “M.R.S. Degree” was a completely unfamiliar concept to me. The meaning wasn’t exactly hard to discern after an introduction to the idea from my editors and a few context clues, but even then I was confused — does such a thing still exist in our seemingly modern and progressive times?
In high school, many of our parents had a basic knowledge of our day-to-day experiences and struggles out of sheer convenience. For many of us it was effortless to come home, eat a snack in the kitchen and mindlessly tell our parents how the biology test went — because we had commiserated about it at 2 a.m. the night before — or talk about our performance in the track meet — because we had just walked into the house in uniform. Before we flew the nest and tried to create lives on our own, it made sense for parents to know about our lives because, simply put, they were there.
To be honest, I thought I had it all figured it out. Being dropped off by my parents in the middle of New Hampshire was definitely nerve-wracking, but every one was in the same boat, right? I had a plan, and it was simple — school, friends, sleep and repeat. That was definitely doable. But I write this from a place of preciously secured wisdom that has been bestowed upon me as a member of the next graduating class. From this vantage point, I see how completely out-of-touch this so-called plan actually was. It did not factor in any kind of living — and by living I mean the sometimes dirty, messy, beautiful, ridiculous life events that occur without warning. At the time, the plan was all I had. I thought college was a neat little formula I could plug myself into and complete within the allotted four years. That first day I was excited about who I was, and I knew exactly where I was going. I saw four years ahead of me, four years and the opportunity to make of them whatever I decided.
SCENE: Collis porch. 9:39 a.m. The first day of classes. Sept. 10, 2012 and Sept. 16, 2015 simultaneously. PRESENT SAM sits reading the Valley News and eating a bomb-ass breakfast sandwich. PROTO SAM enters with a bottle of orange juice and cup of frozen fruit from the smoothie bar. It’s not what he intended to get. His backpack is unzipped.
“Started from the bottom, now we here.
When my parents first dropped me off on the front lawn of the Dartmouth Outing Club House around this time four years ago, my mother’s parting words proved to become a molding life mantra that would follow me throughout my travels and my time here. Before our final goodbye, I’ll never forget, Mama Lopez looked me dead in the eyes and said plainly — “Don’t worry honey. Just be yourself. Breathe. Have fun. It’s all going to be okay.”
I hope you’re well and not having the cliché, pre-senior year “where-is-my-life-going-I-want-to-be-a-student-forever” meltdown. I know you are — it’s O.K.