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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.
Dear Mary Liza of September 2012,
Let us take you back in time. Halloween 2012. French dorm. Maggie frantically tapes streamers to her body to complete the most perfect Halloween costume ever — a piñata. Like, what’s more fun than a piñata? NOTHING! Maddie scours her room for an impromptu sailor hat to complete her sexy sailor costume, but she can’t find anything other than her trusty cowboy hat. It starts to rain and Maggie’s streamers get soggy and start to cling to her body. Rainbow colors seeps onto her white T-shirt. A tragedy is in the works.
Welcome to Dartmouth, ’19’s! I hope that you all had wonderful summers full of anticipation and excitement for the whirlwind that your freshman year will be. After battling the elements and surviving the initial awkwardness of your trip, you’re well-equipped to tackle the start of your freshman year. As optimistic and gaffed as you feel, however, it’s probable that during your freshman year, like everyone else, you will make mistakes. Below is a list of common freshman fall blunders to help you better navigate the murky waters of your first term here:
In the first weeks of fall term, some students stick out like a sore thumb. They also stick together. Of course, many incoming students are well aware of their status as the freshest faces on campus and the de facto “worst class ever,” but regardless of how hard they try to blend in, freshmen just have a certain look in their eye that shouts “Hi I’m a ’19. Please be my friend.” Just in case they don’t know why they are still standing out, we have compiled a list of 19 ways to spot a freshman.
Perhaps it’s a bit of a morbid exercise, but I often find myself wondering — if today were my last day on earth, how would people describe me when I’m gone? A few words come to mind, but I’m not quite sure one of them would be “sentimental.” You have, however, caught me in one of my more reflective moods. As I sit typing this, spending my 21st birthday on a Greyhound bus to visit a high school friend, I can’t help but remember where I was three years ago. I turned 18 on one of my first days back from Trips, only the second or third day I had ever spent in Hanover. I’m not going to lie and say that each and every one of you freshmen are about to have the time of your lives this coming week, but rest assured, Orientation will be an unforgettable experience if nothing else.
Arts: A Year in Review
Coming from sunny Arizona to frigid cold of New Hampshire was more than a little intimidating as I prepared for my first term at Dartmouth. I’m a proud NARP (check out ‘A Blitz by Any Other Name’ in this issue for a translation), and I didn’t know what a Thermarest was until I read it on my freshmen trip packing list. Since then, I’ve gained a countless amount of fun adventure stories, random Dartmouth trivia, warm wool socks and even a Thermarest of my own.
Congratulations! Getting here can’t have been easy — from the college applications process to sticking out senior spring to literally winding your way through the woods on your drive to Dartmouth, it’s been a long road. Now that your freshman fall is around the corner, it’s time to get pumped for all the wonder ful experiences ahead: new people, countless oppor tunities and an amazing academic experience are all near on the horizon.
Home to President Phil Hanlon’s sprawling estate and most of Greek Life on campus, Webster Avenue (frat row) becomes a rather magical place freshman year, home to endless possibility for fulfilling your certified College life of no parents, no rules, #sociallife.
WADDUP ’19s. It is crazy to think that a newfreshmen class will soon inherit the Dartmouth campus. I remember this trying time of having nothing to do but repeatedly stalk my roommate on Facebook, ponder a physical trip to Bed Bath and Beyond for the dorm essentials and occasionally flipping through the pages of our summer reading assignment. And I remember thinking a lot about food. What kinds of meals am I going to miss most when I am no longer at home? What snacks and/or baked goods — but let’s be honest, any treats I would receive from my mother would be store-bought — would I want my family to send me in my first few care packages? But more importantly, what the heck am I going to do about the food at Dartmouth??!!!!
So it’s freshman fall, and you can’t go into Greek houses yet, but you’ve already completed all of your designated academic rigor time for the day. Whatever will you do? Netflix is sort of a played-out trope at this point, and you’ve exhausted your dorm party social calendar for the weekend. That means it’s time to get out and about and enjoy your true calling in Hanover: walking.