Over the river and through the woods

I’m someone who appreciates the destination, oftentimes more than the journey. Sometimes the destination is Boston and the journey is a 7-hour flight from Amsterdam. Sometimes the destination is summer and the journey is 10 weeks of 200-pages-of-primary-text-reading-a-week-and-4-tests-and-3-papers. Sometimes the destination is your bed and the journey is a treacherous walk across the windy arctic tundra known as the green (these are not all hypothetical situations).

The journey is not always short and easy — it could take some mental, physical, or emotional training, and it could last for years. There may have been road signs, hitchhikers, potholes, gas stations, bed and breakfasts, sunsets, thunderstorms, etc. At times along the journey, you may have lose sight of your destination, but even in the midst of your frustration, you may have been reassured that the destination is still there and within reach.

My most recent journey was a 3-hour ride on the Dartmouth Coach from the Boston airport. I had just finished my term abroad in Paris, and I was kind of dreading this ride, to be honest. Spending three hours confined on a bus in your smelly airplane clothes with your stale chocolate croissant in your hand, your notebooks in your heavy backpack reminding you of the impending academic doom, and your sentimental playlist on shuffle is not always the most thrilling thing to be doing on a beautiful weekend afternoon. But as soon as I saw Leede Arena on my left and Baker Tower peeking out above the trees, I was relieved — I had finally reached my destination. I had finally come home.

One of the coolest things about starting college is the inevitable fact that you’re going to meet a lot of different people with various backgrounds, interests, and talents — aspects of their lives that have shaped who they are. I’ve met people with perfect ACT scores, national windsurfing champions, cellists-turned-cross-country-skiers, speech and debate stars, dedicated cyclists who have ridden from Alaska to Argentina, and aspiring DJs. And all of this diversity comes together to create a community in which you will find yourself grow and your mind expand. These are going to be your friends, your mentors, your challengers, your supporters, your econ tutors, your crushes, etc. who have spent about 18 years taking journeys different than yours but with the same destination in mind.

For the ’18s who have Dartmouth as their destination in the fall, CONGRATULATIONS! Your pre-college life is coming to an end, and the arguably most exciting 4 years are about to begin. We’re here, waiting for you at the finish line with trays of warm Foco chocolate chip cookies, decked out in flair. Just one final stretch over the river and through the woods — whether by train, by plane, by car, by foot, by bike, by boat, by bus, by wagon, by UFO (we don’t judge) — to your new big green home you go.

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