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Looking back now, I have very few regrets from my first year of college. After all, freshman year is meant to be a time of trial and error. From randomly choosing a dance partner for the “Salty Dog Rag” (a First-Year Trips tradition) to painstakingly selecting courses for the fall, Dartmouth freshmen are presented with a multitude of choices right off the bat that often define their first term.
I spent the summer before Dartmouth in a constant state of buoyancy. I was finally done with high school, which meant I was finally free to do whatever I wanted in college. The possibilities felt endless. I told myself, as Carey Mulligan did in “An Education”: “I’m going to read what I want and listen to what I want, and I’m going to look at paintings and watch French films and I’m going to talk to people who know lots about lots.” Early on, I set my heart on economics and comparative literature double-majors and a minor in music with the kind of confidence of someone who knew nothing. The D-Plan, with all its touted flexibility, seemed like the perfect vehicle for my academic plans. And as someone who wanted as much range in her studies as possible, I thought the combination I had chosen was perfect.
When I first stepped off the Dartmouth Coach in early September to begin my freshman year at Dartmouth, I thought that I was dreaming. It was the kind of afternoon that those of us familiar with northern New England’s erratic climate hope to experience once or twice a season. With golden sunshine reflecting off of the rooftops, brightly colored autumn leaves and a bright blue sky set against the silhouette of Baker-Berry Library, Dartmouth’s beauty enchanted me the second I laid eyes on campus. Heaven, I thought, could not be more wonderful than my beautiful new school.
Welcome to Dartmouth — a place of self-discovery, creativity and humility. Perhaps it was the very subtlety of students and professors’ intelligence that drew you to the school — it certainly was at the top of my pros and cons list a year ago. The College is composed of devoted intellectuals who prefer to walk the walk over talking the talk. But while humility is a uniting thread throughout Dartmouth — professors and students rarely share their accomplishments— I encourage you to be bold, brave and confident as you take on freshman year.
Two hundred and fifty years is a long time. For two and a half centuries, every class at Dartmouth has left its mark on the College — it’s hard to imagine that one class can stand out. But after seeing the Class of 2019’s commitment to making Dartmouth more inclusive and safe for all students, we know they are leaving the College a better place than it was four years ago. As rising juniors, we are grateful to have learned from the ’19s, and we are excited to keep improving Dartmouth in their legacy.
Most of my favorite evenings have ended the same way, talking to friends. These days, that’s sitting in the kitchen at the Sustainable Living Center, where waffles are usually present. But freshman year, that was right outside of my room on the first floor of Berry Hall in the McLaughlin cluster. A few of my newest college friends and I, sitting on the carpeted floor, backs up against the wall.
“I could’ve done better.” For a long time, that thought has been nestled comfortably into my headspace, surfacing with frustrating regularity. It’s what I told myself after every high school debate tournament in which I couldn’t conquer my anxieties, after every column I’ve written for The Dartmouth that didn’t convey the eloquence I wish I had, after every exam, every race, every interview. Recently, it’s a conclusion to which I’ve returned repeatedly when reflecting on my Dartmouth experience.
The first time I stepped into the Tower Room, I audibly gasped. It was during a late-night tour of Dartmouth, part of the Dimensions program, and I attracted some strange looks from my fellow tour-goers. But I couldn’t help myself. The hardwood floors and tables, the shelves full of dusty old books, the cozy nooks and alcoves, the vaulted ceilings, the warm glow of the lamps and the chandeliers — all of these things flooded into my vision, enamoring me and exciting me and overwhelming me. It was the kind of storied, iconic library that I’d only ever dreamed about, a real-life Hogwarts conjured up before my eyes. I couldn’t believe that this was a real place that mere mortals could casually enter.
The first set of Hood Museum senior interns in the newly-renovated museum have set a precedent for inclusion and innovation within the space. Besides the two Native American Art interns, who collaborated on creating an entire gallery, the six members of the Class of 2019 and one member of the Class of 2020 who participated in the internship program each put together their own exhibit or “Space for Dialogue” within an individual specialty.
For the fourth year in a row, The Dartmouth conducted a survey recording the opinions and experiences of Dartmouth’s graduating class. Since arriving at Dartmouth in 2015, the Class of 2019 has experienced the aftershocks of changes at the College, in the nation, and across the globe — all while traversing their academic work and arranging their post-graduation lives. The following four sections canvas the Class of 2019’s views on campus issues, student life, national politics and their futures ahead.
Women’s rugby is among Dartmouth’s most successful, yet newest, varsity sports. The team played its first varsity game — and earned its first victory — in the fall of 2015 against the University of Pennsylvania. Since then, the team has won three Ivy League titles in four seasons. This past season, the Big Green defeated Harvard University to become National Intercollegiate Rugby Association national champion. The team’s excellence, however, began long before it earned its varsity status.
Forty-eight percent of the admitted Class of 2023 will receive need-based scholarships from Dartmouth. Through the senior class gift, the Class of 2019 is attempting to support the Class of 2023. Seniors can choose to make a gift of any amount but are encouraged to donate $20.19 to honor their class. The senior class gift is an annual tradition of raising financial aid funds through the Dartmouth College Fund to support the incoming class at the College.
Coming to Dartmouth, I had always known it was a school lauded for its political accessibility, as countless prominent figures across the political spectrum — both New Hampshire-specific and also on the national scale — often come to Hanover specifically just to engage one-on-one with the Dartmouth student body.
Since the Class of 2019 first arrived on campus nearly four years ago, Hanover has seen a vast array of changes, including several major construction projects, renovations, closures of long-standing businesses and subsequent efforts to revitalize the downtown retail scene.
Green Key weekend is a hectic time of year for members of the Programming Board. During the Friday of the Gold Coast Mainstage concert, if students are not drowned by the music and the crowd, one might catch a glimpse of PB members dashing down the Tuck Drive or hopping between Streeter Hall and Fahey Hall. Someone is always on-call that Friday, according to Programming Board executive director Carlos Tifa ’19.
Green Key is one of the most anticipated weekend of the year — the Programming Board’s concert featuring national headliners, the Frat Row block party and free food from local restaurants can feel like a much-needed reprieve from the monotony and isolation of attending college in the woods.
The 13th annual celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride — “Different Strides, One Pride” — strove to unite disparate identities within the queer campus community. Perceived by many members as fragmented, the LGBTQIA+ campus community banded together at events like Queer Prom, Transform and Lavender Graduation. The Pride programming committee also coordinated with the administration to showcase a rainbow flag in front of Collis and project rainbow lights onto Dartmouth Hall. From April 19 to May 3, students of diverse identities witnessed this display of unity — an unfamiliar sight to previous graduating classes at the College.
My experience with anxiety and depression is like the cinders that drift slowly down through the dark after a fireworks display. Where there had been light, noise, excitement and people, there is darkness, silence, sadness and loneliness. I felt it the worst during my senior fall.
Trump jokes are low-hanging fruit. They’ve been made before — they’re overdone, easy, trite and, after two years of constant digs at the President and everyone in his circle, they just aren’t funny anymore.