Compared to the summer term, when many of my extracurricular commitments were dormant for the quarter, there’s a frantic energy that arrives with the new faces and exhausting enthusiasm of the freshman class and the crispening air of autumn breezes. Gone are the days of Sophomore Summer when I could walk through the Collis dining hall and order my post-run smoothie without having to wait in line. However, the constant buzz of energized students really does help me stay motivated. Right now, I’m thrilled about all of the extracurriculars I’m involved in. Even though there’s a secret part of me that senses I might be overcommitted, I’m still enthralled with my commitments in a type of pre-midterms honeymoon phase. Currently, my extracurriculars include:
1) working as a UGA. This is essentially an RA position, but Dartmouthspeak insists on its own vernacular, and so I am an Undergradudate Advisor instead. I am partly responsible for the well-being of 35 upperclass residents living in Andres, which is part of the East Wheelock housing cluster. My favorite part is organizing events for my residents—yesterday we had a movie night and tomorrow we’ll be going for a short hike.
2) Students Fighting Hunger. During the summer term I was the organization chair, but luckily I have 3 other co-chairs this term. This organization plans and cooks a community dinner for low-income individuals every Friday evening. My favorite part is when we get to sit down to eat with our regular attendees and chat. It’s a great way to get out of the “Dartmouth bubble” and get to know local residents.
3) Multi-Faith Council. This group meets once every week (over a free dinner) to discuss a different topic related to faith and spirituality. Some of my most meaningful discussions at Dartmouth have taken place here, listening to my Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Atheist friends, among others, talk about their faith journeys and perspectives.
4) DCGHSE (Dartmouth Coalition for Global Health and Social Equity). This group meets once per week to discuss current issues relating to global health. Every week there is a different student presentation on a project or experience on a health-related issue and a subsequent discussion. I’ve learned tons regarding issues of sustainable development, HIV/AIDS, microlending, technology and medicine, and healthcare in general. I love that the group is super interdisciplinary—it’s not all pre-meds, by any means.
5) Project Preservation. This was initially a short-term venture in which I attended weekly training sessions to prepare for a trip to Poland to restore a Jewish cemetery that had been abandoned during the Holocaust. After having an incredible experience there, I am now doing research on the town that we visited, Korczyna, and am trying to piece together a better understanding of the Jewish community in the town preceding the events of the Holocaust.
6) Fostering Hope. This is a new organization that my friend Alice and I are in the process of organizing, in which we plan to work with local foster youth and spread awareness regarding at-risk youth including orphans and vulnerable children both domestically and abroad.
7) LDSSA (Latter-Day Saint Student Association). As a member of my church community, I’m involved in the social organization of my LDS church group. We meet together for church, Institute—an academic bible study program, and once a week for what we call Family Home Evening—mostly an excuse to hang out and chill for a bit. We also have an intramural soccer team this term—yes, we’re the Stormin’ Mormons. And yes, we got slaughtered by the Matholes. No shame. Well, maybe a little….
8) I also babysit once per week for a parent support group at DHMC (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center), which is fantastic because I get to escape the library by watching Disney movies and entertaining kids with finger puppets and crayons.
So after reading through all of this, I realized this kind of sounds like a resume, which was not my intention AT ALL. While you should realize that there will be plenty of Dartmouth kids who will tell you that LinkedIn is the new Facebook, that’s not really my style. The point I’m trying to make is that there are sooo many incredible opportunities to engage with topics and questions you’re interested in outside class—and even though this sounds cliché, I’m confident that if you open yourself up to the incredible opportunities waiting all around you, you’ll learn more at Dartmouth than you ever imagined, both inside and outside the classroom.
More blog entries to come! I promise!