Apr 282015

Four years ago I boarded my first plane ever to Hanover, NH. After a pretty hefty journey I stepped foot on campus and was immediately welcomed by a student yelling, “Come to Dartmouth!” Having previously attended another school’s visitation program, I snarked at the thought of this student’s over enthusiasm as I flaunted the other school’s sweatshirt, backpack and water bottle (yes, I was that kid).

I was set on going to this other school, and was only here because I had already scheduled my visit. As the day continued I was met by the same enthusiastic student over and over again. It became so infectious! As I started visiting more open house events and programs I slowly started growing excited about this school.

Then, the Dimensions show happened. I immediately became in love with Dartmouth and its students. The fact that these students were willing to put together a show for the prospective students was amazing. The next day I spent getting to know the campus and the students. With every passing hour I began to see myself at Dartmouth.

I had to make a hard choice. I fell in love with both schools. Ultimately, a piece of advice was given to me by a ‘14 (s/o to Horacio if you’re reading this!), and it was to focus on myself and what the school made me feel. A large reason as to why I wanted to attend the first school was because of the friends I made there. That’s a very valid reason, but I was also forgetting that the friends I made there were also choosing between other schools and might attend different ones. I saw myself thriving at Dartmouth, and I felt that by the time Dimensions was over.

I’m still friends with the students I met during Dimensions. I now try to tell every student who thinks about Dartmouth to think about themselves thriving at this school. If the can, well……COME TO DARTMOUTH!!



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Apr 272015

Hey all! This is my first blog post and I’m so excited that I get to post from sunny Cape Town, South Africa.imageimage

I am currently here interning at an NGO (non-government organization) that focuses on domestic violence prevention and education. When deciding where to intern, many college students often have to turn down great opportunities because the internship is unpaid. Understanding that unpaid interns have living expenses, Dartmouth does a phenomenal job at providing different sources of funding for different unpaid internships.

I am able to work here in Cape Town due to the generous funding of the Tucker Foundation which awards fellowships to students who are interning at non-profits both abroad and in the states. However, there are many other centers on campus that provide funding for government, policy, marketing, startups, and a variety of other internships. The decision to take or turn down an internship is entirely up to each individual, but fortunately many Dartmouth students can choose to accept some awesome opportunities even if they’re unpaid due to the support of Dartmouth funding!

Learn more about the many different ways Dartmouth supports its unpaid interns here:


Spring Term!

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Apr 222015

It’s now April and spring has finally arrived! 

Don’t get me wrong. I think winter can be beautiful. I’m from Southern California and first time I ever saw snow in real life was when I came to Dartmouth. This past winter was one of the coldest in New Hampshire history, which makes me so much more appreciative of warm weather than I ever have.

Now that the snow has finally melted, kids around campus are sporting shorts and tank tops every day. It’s a wopping 60 degrees today, a temperature that makes most Southern Californians shiver, but most of my classmates are wearing dresses and sandals. It’s funny how relative even temperature can be.

This term, I’m really looking forward to…

The 43rd Annual Dartmouth Powwow over Mother’s Day Weekend
learn more here

Green Key Weekend
and the free concert!
learn more here

Going to the river and taking advantage of the cheap kayak & canoe rentals from the Ledyard Canoe Club

Hanging on the Green

And just enjoying the sun!

Spring is the best term at Dartmouth and I am so excited that it has finally arrived :)

peace & blessinz,
Monica Stretten ’15

Mar 312015


I hope you all videotaped yourselves opening your acceptance letters, I am so mad I didn’t do that. I feel like this is one day you will never forget and it’s one of those stories you will always share with people.

“How did you find out you got in? Where were you? What were you thinking? Who was there?”

For me, I jumped out of a moving car. I was on my way to my violin lesson and I knew my ED decision was going to be released at 4 PM so my parents, sister and I all were in this car on the way to my class waiting in anticipation. We had pre-planned a stop at a local public library to connect to wifi so I could check my decision online before going to my class. We were running late and it was like 4:05 PM. One of my really great friends from school (per our pre-outlined policy) had opened her decision and texted me a “y” meaning she had gotten in. I felt like throwing up. So when I saw the library, I opened the door and jumped out before my parents parked the car and while standing outside, at the entrance of the library, opened the letter and started screaming and crying. I am quite emotional if you haven’t been able to tell already. After that it was lots of hugging and kissing and congratulating.


No but seriously, now that you know you got in, feel free to call us and email us and bug us with ALL the questions you may have because this is a big choice.  Once again, Congratulations on your big acceptance! We look forward to hearing from you all!

Mar 312015


You are now and forever will be a ‘19.

Now that you know where you are going to college, you can relax and enjoy the rest of your senior year while the rest of your friends and classmates continue to stress about their futures. The pressure has been slightly reduced, but be sure to stay on top of your schoolwork and grades. The Admissions Office will still check those at the end of the year!

You might be wondering what you just got yourself into. This is an exciting (and possibly scary) time. Keep reading for some helpful information.

Here is a list of some important things to look out for:


  • Financial aid package
    If you applied for financial aid then you should have received this information along with your acceptance. Look it over!
  • ‘19s Facebook group
    You’ll be invited to join this group by the Admissions Interns. Use this to connect with your future classmates! Ask questions, get to know each other, maybe even coordinate a meet & greet with other ‘19s in your area.


  • Blitz
    The Computing Services office will send you information about setting up your blitz (AKA Dartmouth email account) information. This is how you will communicate with your new friends and professors, as well as learn about events on campus and clubs to join. This is very important to make sure to check your blitz account regularly after you’ve set it up.

  • First-Year Trips (AKA Trips)
    First-Year Trips are put on by the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC). You’ll receive information in the mail about signing up for First-Year Trips! Check out the DOC’s website about Trips here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~doc/firstyeartrips/

  • Computer
    The Computer Store will contact you about purchasing a new computer for college. All Dartmouth students are required to own a computer on campus. You can include the cost of your computer in your financial aid package. If you already own a computer then you do not need to purchase one from Dartmouth. Additionally, you may get a computer elsewhere and bring it with you to college. If you order a computer through the College then you will pick it up when you arrive to campus in September. Checkout the Computer Store merchandise and information here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/comp/store/

  • Room assignment & roommates
    The Office of Residential Life (ORL) will have you fill out a survey about your living habits and preferences. They use this to determine where you will live and who your roommates will be (if you have any). Your room and roommate assignments come out later in the summer.


  • Room & roommate assignments
    Check your blitz this month to find out where you’ll be living and who (if anyone) you’ll be living with!

  • Beginning of Trips for some
    Trips begin at the end of August for Varsity athletes and students from the Northeast.


  • Beginning of Trips for all
    Everyone else will start their First-Year Trips, just before Orientation!

  • Orientation
    Orientation week starts just after Move-In Day. This is how you’ll get acquainted with your new home for the next 4 years, meet your classmates, and answer any questions you may have!

  • Start of classes
    You’ll choose your courses during Orientation week, after you’ve met with your assigned academic advisor. Classes start in mid-September, one week after the beginning of Orientation. Make sure you’ve purchased your notebooks & pens! Many students purchase their books at Wheelock Books (2 W. Wheelock St, Hanover, NH 03755) or online.

So, now you’re a little more prepared for Dartmouth. Just remember: many of the other ‘19s are just as confused as you might be. And don’t be afraid to ask older students questions when you get to campus; they were lost once, too.

P.S. Dartmouth has a unique vocabulary. And we really liked acronyms. Check out the ‘Shmen Guide to learn the lingo before you get to campus: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~shmen/dartmouthlingo.html

 Good luck & congratulations again!

Mar 102015

I’ve briefly talked about the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program in one of my other posts but it’s important to highlight again! I was able to do community service in Batey Libertad, Dominican Republic over spring break during my freshman year through the Tucker Foundation. I only paid $200 to contribute to the overall cost of the program, including airfare, ground transportation, food, and lodging! I would never have been able to afford to travel to the DR otherwise.

Dartmouth students with children from Batey Libertad

Dartmouth students with children from Batey Libertad

One thing I really like overall about the service trips through Dartmouth is their commitment to increasing consciousness and accountability. While no service is perfect, as you often have to find a balance in order to not establish a relationship of dependency, I feel that our group was more prepared to understand the socio-political context and implications of our presence in this part of the world.

In order to participate in an ASB, I had to apply and then be interviewed. Once accepted, we were had to attend a 2-hour seminar each week for the entire term (10 weeks) leading up to our service trip. During these sessions, we discussed articles and books that we had read previously that explained more about the social and political make-up of the Dominican Republic. This was the first time that I had been exposed to more conscious approaches to service, whereas in high school the emphasis was always placed on the simple fact that you go to an underserved area to “help.” The complexity of these situations were never addressed, so I was really grateful to realize the necessity of understanding the complexity of these situations before inserting myself and potentially doing more harm than good. That was the biggest take-away from the trip for me. It was also a fantastic way to learn more about a very different culture and history, as well as to broaden my perspective and scope on global politics.

There are both domestic and international Alternative Spring Break trips focusing on a wide range of social justice issues, so there’s likely a trip for you! A lot of my friends have gone on the Faith in Action in Washington, D.C. and the Urban Indian Experience in Denver, CO trips, for example.  Check out the ASB website to learn more about what other opportunities are available!

Mar 052015

As finals approach at Dartmouth College and my sophomore winter comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to look forward to spring break! Last year, I used my spring break exactly how I wanted to: I slept and caught up with high school friends. Don’t get me wrong, volunteering and traveling during spring break is a great idea, but after such a vigorous academic term, all I wanted to do was sleep last year. And there is no shame in that! It is a great opportunity to recharge and relax so that you can come back for spring term well rested!

This year, I am going to have a much shorter break than usual: about 5 days. But don’t feel sorry for me because on March 21st I will be flying to Morocco for my study abroad! Over my one week break I plan on sleeping, packing, shopping and spending time with my family. One of the greatest things about the Dartmouth Plan (D-Plan) is that you get so many opportunities to travel, whether it be for a study abroad program or for an internship. However, that also means being away from home, so I will definitely be maximizing the cuddle sessions with my sister and catching up with my extended family while I get the chance.

If you have a spring break coming up I suggest you evaluate what you need. Are you bored? Travel. Do you want to explore new areas of interest? Volunteer at an organization or shadow a professional. Are you tired? Then sleep! Whatever you do, make sure that you are indulging yourself and taking advantage of your little vacation!

At this point, I’m going to say my goodbyes temporarily. Between finals, spring break and Morocco, it may be a while before I post on here again. But do not fret, I won’t be able to resist posting my Moroccan selflies! So look out for those! Until then, keep doing well in school and doing yoga to calm your nerves.


Nicole C.

Spring Breakers

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Mar 032015

If you’ve been following this blog you’ve might have noticed how often I say I’m from Los Angeles. I talk about it so much because I’m so proud. However, it can often be difficult to travel between Hanover and Los Angeles. As much as I would love to visit several times throughout the year, it’s such a long journey. Though I’ve pretty much tried to visit home during Spring Break (because who wouldn’t want to visit LA during spring break?!), I’ve tried to take advantage of alternative spring break trips offered by Dartmouth.

My sophomore year I went on a spring break trip to Houston, TX to speak to (mostly) middle and high school students about the importance of college, my experiences as a first generation college student, any obstacles I faced, and to answer any questions they had. It was important for me to be able to offer myself as a resource and share my perspective on higher education.

Since my ultimate goal revolves around working in education and education policy, this was a great trip! I was able to visit Texas and get to talk to students about the importance of education. Awesome!

The best part was being able to volunteer as a tutor during some after school programs. It really allowed me to engage with the students rather than speaking from an presenter point of view. I wanted the students to feel comfortable enough to ask me whatever they had on their minds.

I know people will be posting throughout the week about really cool stuff they’ve done during their spring breaks here at Dartmouth. So stay tuned as we talk about past experiences, as well as future ones with the term nearing its end!

Mar 022015

So I have a handful of beloved professors at Dartmouth. On the list are Vera Palmer and Colin Calloway, both from Native American Studies (NAS). I’ve already talked about my experience with NAS in previous posts so I’m going to try to branch out a little this time.

That leaves me with one of the coolest profs around: Jason Houle.

I took Professor Houle’s Quantitative Analysis of Social Data (SOCY 10) in the Sociology department last term. This was hands down one of my favorite classes at Dartmouth. I’m probably a little biased because I really like math and critical thinking but I truly felt so engaged throughout the entire 10-week course. People are often confused when I tell them how much I enjoyed this course, a true testament to the Professor Houle’s ability to engage the classroom during his lectures.

He wasn’t afraid to lightly poke fun at the students in our class, incorporating various facts about Dartmouth into the class examples of problem-solving. He created problems that required us to calculate the variance in GPA between various fictional Greek letter organizations, utilized campus characters like our College President, and other aspects that made the questions more relatable. Over all it was just plain fun. I don’t think a lot of people say that college statistics is a very fun subject, but Professor Houle definitely made it so.

Honestly, I wish I had taken SOCY 10 with him sooner and could have known how engaging he can be. I would have loved to have taken his Sociology of Mental Health class.

Professor Jason Houle

Mar 022015


This upcoming spring break, I will be traveling with a group of Dartmouth students to Florida as part of the Tucker Foundation’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program. Our specific trip will delve into issues of migrant farm workers.

In addition to Florida, other ASBs go to various locations such as Denver, West Virginia, D.C, and Ohio all with different focuses ranging from environmental issues to faith and action.

I went on the trip last year and learned a lot about what service is and is not. This year I will be going back and leading the trip. Dartmouth offers a lot of educational and service related travel opportunities and the Alternative Spring Break Program is definitely one of the most popular ones. The trips are heavily subsidized so that they are affordable to all people and throughout the winter term, we have been holding weekly educational sessions focused on getting more exposed to the issues we are covering and on team building.


And of course, Florida beaches are also a plus after a cold winter.