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It was my second week back from First-Year Trips. I’d moved into my dorm early for the debate team pre-season, but with Orientation Week approaching, my floormates were finally arriving. I’d left my backpack in Robinson Hall earlier that day by mistake, and now it was dark. Still confusing in daylight, campus felt unfamiliar at night. Like many women coming to college, I’d been told not to walk alone, and so one of my new floormates joined me.
During two separate performance reviews, bosses have told me to stop apologizing. And both times, without a hint of irony or intent of rebellion, I instinctively responded, “I am so sorry.”
With a summer of exciting experiences behind us and an autumn of endless possibilities ahead of us, this term is one of new beginnings. The ’23s are navigating being away from home for the first time, the ’22s are exploring a new sense of place on campus, many ’21s are completing their first term in different locations than their friends and the ’20s are appreciating their last “firsts” of Dartmouth. But regardless of what year you are, the sea of new faces, ideas, perspectives and opportunities surrounding us during this time can make anyone feel a little lost.
When I came to Dartmouth, I thought I was ready to do the worst academically. Call it low self-esteem, call it imposter syndrome — a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And, at times, I have been the worst in class. How can I describe what it’s like to look at the range of scores for economics and biology midterms and see yours at the bottom of the range? Especially after you actually tried? Sometimes, there is no direct relationship between the effort you put in and the outcome you get when it comes to academics. I’ve come to accept that here.
There’s a saying at the College that it’s easy to get caught up in the “Dartmouth bubble.” Since Hanover, NH — pop. 11,485 — provides limited forms of entertainment for college students, the attention of the school community turns inward. Not much can lever our attention away from the center. This summer, however, the sacred Dartmouth bubble was popped.
As 2020 and its looming presidential election approach and Democratic debates continue through the fall, the topics of government and politics are becoming more prevalent in conversations on campus, with students striving to solidify their own views on various issues and policies.
While passing through the Baker Library lobby (also known as “blobby”), one is often too focused on greeting friends or assessing the KAF line to notice the glass cases featuring special exhibits. I am certainly guilty of this obliviousness — I seldom, if ever, stop to appreciate the carefully-curated collection of artifacts and historical blurbs right before my eyes.
We often think about migrants in the context of the many different identities that they may or may not hold: as parents and as children, as agricultural workers and as Congresswomen, as individuals with rare diseases and as criminals, as threats and as the threatened. But what about sexuality? Even though it is a crucial aspect of one’s identity, sexuality is something that we don’t typically think consider when we attempt to understand migrants and what constitutes their identity. Eng-Beng Lim, professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, says that we should.
When people find out that I go to Dartmouth, they often ask me, “How do you like it?” Even though I should know how to respond as a rising senior, it’s a question that I still struggle with. In the few seconds it takes for me to conjure up a response, I find it difficult to encapsulate all of my experiences, thoughts and feelings into a coherent response without seeming too enamored — or conversely, disillusioned by a lot of what I’ve experienced on this campus. My answer has evolved from term to term, but providing an honest and critical response to this question may seem inappropriate or perhaps ungrateful to some.
It’s strange to think that for us, it’s over. We’ve felt the heat of the bonfire, witnessed the stars while lying on the grass of the golf course, studied through late nights into the early mornings, walked across the snow-covered Green — and now, we’ve walked across the graduation stage. It’s strange to think that, for you, Dartmouth is just beginning. You still haven’t picked your classes. You haven’t explored the steam tunnels or climbed Baker Tower. You haven’t struggled (and bonded) with friends through problem sets or stood in awe at the campus awash with fall colors. As you embark on this new journey, here are 15 hopes for the newest members of Dartmouth, from the newly departed ones.
As you transition to Dartmouth life, there’s something you need to study up on. No, it’s not prepping for your pre-med classes or trying to learn the alma mater (no one really knows that anyway), but it is much more essential: you gotta learn the lingo.
Welcome, Class of 2023! In case you haven’t yet received Dartmouth paraphernalia with “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” splashed across the cover, it’s time you learned about your new favorite author. Also known as Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel graduated from Dartmouth in 1925 before he went on to write over 60 books. While in Hanover, Geisel worked for the Jack-o-Lantern, Dartmouth’s humor magazine, adopted his famous pen name and even violated prohibition laws. Though Geisel is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in the Dr. Seuss Room in Baker Library, at the Geisel School of Medicine and, of course, in the hundreds of millions of children’s books on shelves around the world. One might even say that Geisel is Dartmouth’s most successful alumnus of all time. So sit back, relax and take notes from the Doctor himself.
Whether it’s your freshman dorm, a bench on the Green or a library study nook, you will soon find a place at Dartmouth that you connect to. But first, you will get lost more times than you can count, even after you ask five upperclassmen for directions. Here’s to minimizing your confusion and providing basic details about the most important campus locations to know! The locations are in approximate order of North to South.
Glittering trays of chicken nuggets, steaming hot waffles fresh off the press and ice cream — so much ice cream — await behind the doors to Foco. At the start of your freshman fall, I’m sure you’ll eat one, two, three or maybe four meals a day in Dartmouth’s only all-you-can-eat dining location.
Freshman orientation: For most, it’s a time of awkward introductions, forced smiles, getting lost and, if you’re lucky, the feeling that you might just have met someone who could be your new best friend. It’s also a time when it seems like your entire life has burst open with the opportunity to become a new person, develop new skills or concentrate on an interest that you haven’t yet had the time or courage to put out there. And so it was for me for a few glorious days of freshman fall — that is, until I was struck down by what I like to call the Freshman Plague.
As a new freshman class arrives to campus every year, students come bearing differing academic visions for their next four years at Dartmouth: some pre-med, some engineering, some humanities, others perhaps more focused on languages or social sciences. However, many — like me — come to Dartmouth their freshman fall knowing next to nothing about what to pursue academically or professionally. This can make choosing one’s first term of classes quite an endeavor.
Once upon a time, some Dartmouth fraternity brothers playing table tennis rested their mugs of beer on the table while they played. A few stray ping pong balls landed in the cups by divine accident, until someone proposed that it was more fun to aim for the mugs of beer themselves.
The painter. The poet. The nerd who owns it. The swimmer. The hiker. The party-all-nighter. The baker. The maker. The family caretaker. The bundle-of-nerves-for-this-term-long-icebreaker. You all have unique experiences that have shaped your identities coming into college. Every Dartmouth student — from those who come from “Just Outside Boston” to those who come from Rwanda — has their own world of memories and skills to share with the Dartmouth community. You are all so different, yet you all ended up here, in middle-of-nowhere New Hampshire, for the most transformative years of your lives.
As sophomore summer draws to a close, so do the days of lounging by the river, perusing the farmer’s market, driving to Ice Cream Fore-U and falling asleep in Astro 1. Sophomore summer is about relaxing, but it’s also about letting students pursue activities they haven’t tried before and subjects they haven’t studied. It’s a time to step out of comfort zones, unhindered by the stress that accompanies the typical Dartmouth term.