Claire Park


 Posted by at 10:11 am  No Responses »
Apr 102014

Some people, places, odd bits I’ve found or re-found this term:

1. Campus in the early morning light: I’ve been on this new life plan in which I go to sleep instead of staying up until my eyes burn, and waking up early in the morning to do whatever I need to do. For the past three weeks that’s meant going to the gym around 6:30 AM and getting a small workout in before the start of my day, which has really energized me. This schedule has made me markedly more positive and feel very awake for much more of the day than I usually do. The greatest thing about this routine, though, is that I can walk along the Green when the streets and campus are pretty empty, and there’s this gorgeous orange glow to the whole place. I can order real eggs at Collis (what I consider fake eggs being that pasteurized egg stuff they use for omelets at Collis and Foco) and then do work, sometimes admiring the daily bustle of people getting ready for the day. I love it.

2. Old friends and hopefully new ones: Some oldies have returned from their wonderful off terms doing fabulous things at home or abroad and it’s been SO nice having them back on campus. From an old floormate to my darling LSAers (LSA= language study abroad. LSAers= people who were on my German LSA last summer), to my stand partner in DSO, my life here is so much greater with them than without. Here’s a picture from one of our last Exkursions to the Potsdamer Stadtschloss:

beautiful friends in beautiful place

beautiful friends in a beautiful place

I’ve also been meeting some new people, which has also been really great! I crashed two birthday parties within the last week, meeting friends of friends who are part of different communities on campus. This past Saturday I went contradancing in Montpelier, VT (HIGHLY recommend this activity, like, can we all think about what grinding really accomplishes?) and met some susty folks in the car ride to and back! Susty being short for sustainability, which I didn’t even know because I’m not really one of them, I guess, but I do care about sustainability regardless of whether or not I’m a member of a recognized green group on campus. There are other ways to be environmentally aware, basically through just living your life with that mindset, since we’re all inhabitants on this earth.

3. Places: One Wheelock has continued to be a great place to study in. Look, here’s a mug picture:

IMG_0373I mean, free tea/coffee/hot chocolate/froth after 3 ish? Why would I ever study elsewhere??? Last term a ’17 introduced me to this recently refurbished place in Russell Sage, a dorm which I have been in all of three times in my entire Dartmouth career: IMG_0369There were these funky stove boiler plate sculptures on the walls, along with some obscure mural. It’s a little dark down there, and there was no table when I went, but I’m sure they’ve added more stuff by now. The sofa area was great regardless. ’18s, this place could be just the place for you! Basement of a freshman dorm, how convenient is that?

I also studied in the Hornig Environmental Studies library for the first time. The desk there is HUGE! Been finiding solace at the farm, particularly at the Sugar Shack. I was there late at night last Tuesday with some farm people and sugar crew members, replacing our leaky sap tub. After we finished all our work, we laid down in the snow and looked at the stars. The night sky was so clear and dark, you could see so many of them… It was gorgeous, I really could have fallen asleep there.

4. Good soil: Speaking of farm, lame plant metaphor: I’ve been spreading and digging my roots into opportunities that I think would be rewarding for me in some manner, whether that’s socially, for personal growth, whatever. There’s no guarantee that everything I find will work out for me, but I think it’s good for me to try things out nonetheless! This term I joined America Reads, which is run through the Tucker Foundation here at the school (the Tucker Foundation organizes and offers a lot of social, volunteer, spirituality, etc opportunities). Every Monday I get in a car with three other students (one of the students being also the driver), travel to Samuel Morey Elementary School in Vermont, and read to a new second grader each week. It’s been rewarding so far. I love getting off campus to read with the kids, who have all been really nice to me. I also joined this fairly new Tucker program  called Journey Inwards, Journey Outwards, which is co-led by an old floormate of mine. We had our first discussion last night and I’m already excited for the next meeting. The general theme of the group, to my understanding, is that we turn our inner selves out to the world, make our selves equal. It’s going to be great.

5. Some 18s! It has now been confirmed that one ’18 has read at least one post of mine on this thing, which is extremely flattering. She’s the first ’18 I’ve met, my first Dimensions prospie is coming in tonight, which will make it the fourth time I’ve hosted a prospie at this school! My main aim as a host is to facilitate a prospective’s own experience here, not at all to promote my school. I’ve had a very singular experience here and I don’t aim to misguide by making Dartmouth the Dartmouth that I’ve experienced. I don’t think this school is all good, nor all bad. Again, if you’re here for Dimensions this weekend, the next, or two weekends from now, feel free to contact me: I’d be more than happy to meet up for a chat! Even if you won’t be here, and you have some questions, I can also address any concerns through e-mail. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I promise honest responses, at least! And to encourage people to speak out, here’s the very last bit of “A Litany for Survival” by Audre Lorde my roommate sent out the first day of spring term:

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive​


 Posted by at 5:55 pm  No Responses »
Mar 282014

At 5PM EST yesterday, I was sitting in One Wheelock doing orgo problems as students across the world were receiving word about some of their college acceptances.

The most important relevant of these being Dartmouth. To all the ’18s, congratulations!!! If you haven’t decided yet whether you want to be an ’18 or not, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at: If you’re planning on visiting, I’d be happy to meet up with you for tea/coffee (on me, of course) on campus!

As for what advice I have to give, or anything I have to share about acceptances, just two:

1) Have an amazing senior spring (if you are in high school) and summer before college. Go crazy within reason and be sure to spend time with your people.

2) With orgo weighing heavily on my mind, I’m reminded of what Professor Aprahamian says at least three times a class period (literally), “If you don’t understand this concept, solve problems. If you do understand it, solve problems. Solve problems, solve problems, solve problems”. I’d like to say that wherever you decide to commit, I hope that you will take college as an opportunity to grow and be better prepared to solve problems. That’s what I look forward to from you ’18s. No evil, as one blogger put it, and much much good!

I’ll end with a froofy little picture of my friends and me after decorating our high school graduation caps, and congratulations again!

my friends were clever in decorating their caps backwards...

my friends were clever in decorating their caps backwards for the sake of our paparazzi parents during graduation…


Mar 052014

With just finals/studying for finals/complaining about finals/killing the soul for finals left for this term, I’d like to offer myself a brief reprieve from forming premature wrinkles to focus on something that’s provided me with what I like to think of as my main, my little bit of eternity, my “other”: music!

WOW. SO BEAUTIFUL (the violin).

WOW. SO BEAUTIFUL (the violin).

I held a violin for the first time when I was four years old (okay, more like a tinny wooden box with some holes and wires on it) and haven’t given it up since. Apart from a premature mid-music-life crisis when I was eight, during which I had to decide whether or not I really wanted to continue practicing and playing even when I didn’t want to (the ordeal was quite lengthy but was eventually resolved after a few hours of tears and compromising), playing the violin has been the one constant in my life. The violin in the picture and I are reaching five years of a happy marriage, which we’ve been able to further explore here at Dartmouth with our relationship counselor, Mr. Princiotti, in both private lessons and in the symphony orchestra.

If you play any sort of instrument, whether it be brass, wind, string, percussion, or your voice, Dartmouth offers a free Individual Instruction Program. Translation, free lessons if you just sign up! Here’s the link for more info:

My freshman fall I didn’t enroll for lessons. I did, however, audition for the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and am now very enthusiastically involved in it. Here’s a picture to express my feelings on my musical group affiliation: 469253_10151388436716780_488359831_o

I’m the sigma, be jellin’. We had a great concert this past Saturday, our soloist played an amazing Tchaik (I would LOVE to be that good) and Mussorgsky’s Pictures was fairly awesome as well. You may not believe me, dear reader, but attending DSO concerts, or seeing any sort of performance in general, is really encouraged here. It’s a thing to frequent the Hop for a show on weekends, and/or go out to acapella and dance group shows at some frat on weekdays. I think it’s really inspiring to attend a school where young people, my PEERS and not just the old crogies I always see at classical music concerts, support the arts.

That said, the two other goons you see in the picture above are my best friends who I got to know through DSO, and they successfully convinced me to ask Mr. Princiotti (DSO conductor) if I could take lessons with him starting winter term my freshman year. He agreed, and I’ve been studying with him since! I’ve found Mr. Princiotti to be much more understanding of my busy schedule here at college than all my old violin teachers were of busy-ness in my life, and I’ve really appreciated how relatively relaxing violin lessons here have been. The most stressful aspect of taking lessons, I would say, is performing at a recital appropriately termed, “End-of-Term Recital” because it occurs at the end of term and all violin students are required to perform the piece that they have been learning throughout the term (unless the piece is really difficult, in which case you can ask for an extra term to practice). Despite the fact that these end-of-term recitals are incredibly low key affairs, and the fact that I’ve been performing for years, I still get really nervous about performing. Thankfully this past Monday I played the first movement of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 4 with my friend playing the piano part, so performing was a lot more fun than usual.

I’m sorry that all my photos this time had my mug in them, I’ll try to post more interesting and coherent content next time.

Until then, FINALS!


*if at all curious… song referenced to in title is Amy Winehouse’s “Cherry”.




Exotic Dartmouth

 Posted by at 11:21 pm  No Responses »
Feb 262014

Every once in a while, when the temperature descends to some truly grim level, I will be informed of the fact that, “Super Cool Girl is off this term and she’s living it up in Fabulous Exotic Warm Place. Her Facebook photos make me so jealous of her because while she’s frolicking on Perfectly Sandy Beach, I’m on this winter, freezing my nose hairs in this sub-zero weather.” And yes, envy is a very rational feeling to experience when you have to wear three layers to walk to class every day and some of your friends are wearing -1 layers to la playa!!! Nontheless, there is nothing that I can do to change the fact that I am on this term, in New Hampshire, during a winter featuring a polar vortex. Hearing about the fabulous in extraordinary locations (mostly places with beaches) does not improve my own situation, and I don’t need to expend brainpower to produce ideas that are not beneficial nor productive for me.

So instead of imagining life being better in other places, which may be true but doesn’t matter because I haven’t mastered teleportation yet, I’m enjoying my calming places here in this frigid, challenging place.

My favorite, manmade Dartmouth locale is the Black Family Visual Arts Center. I can’t verbalize how wondrous it is, so here’s picture of it instead:

from the interwebs

As a student who is not taking any arts classes inside this building, I can’t access floors 2 and up, but sometimes the doors are open/kind people who have lots of pity for me open the doors to the upper floors and I can sit along those window/balcony areas you see in the picture (this description probably makes no sense, but the VAC is too modern and cool for me to write about it, so I guess you’ll just have to visit or attend Dartmouth to fully understand, ha). That said, I wouldn’t call the VAC an exclusive place. The first floor is plenty beautiful enough for me, with its large, red couches, snazzy student artwork, and these really great, tentacle-looking lamps that all construct a very evocative and yet peaceful milieu. Plus, artists are marginalized by society, so it’s nice to have a place just for them. Last Sunday, I walked over to the VAC after gorging myself on cheesy eggs at Foco and my butt stayed glued to a little red corner couch from 9 til 10PM. I took a short break at 2 to see Spring Awakening at the Hop. The performance was very well executed by Dartmouth students, accolades and applause to all involved! I thought the costumes and set were particularly marvelous considering what I would imagine are relatively limited resources for costuming and the small stage space.

All in all, I’m in love with the VAC and that’s where I hide when I have either a lot of work, or a small amount of work I would like to use as an excuse to hang out there and enjoy the place.

Coming next: A recap of the DSO concert and the violin recital, or how I managed to eek by in both without totally losing face onstage. Here’s a shameless plug for the DSO concert:

Horizontal Snow

 Posted by at 8:11 pm  No Responses »
Feb 192014

As I was walking out of my sociolinguistics class the other day, thoughts of my group research project for the class nudging gently at my conscience, I noticed that massive snowflakes, which usually fall from above, were now attacking aggressively falling horizontally into my eyes. A clever person would have understood this as an indication that the world was turning against him/her. Instead, I pressed on, refusing to bow down. By the next morning, however, there was at least two feet of snow in the ground and I was indeed bowed down, what with having to trek through the white stuff (fyi not a bad leg workout if it’s on the plushy side), go to work, actually finish problem sets for Bio so that I would be ready for the second midterm, attend the first workday for maple sugaring, cram practice for my violin lesson and have my violin lesson. Oh, and make time for Foco (our buffet-style dining hall) fondue because it was Valentine’s Day and yes, I was going to be there.


best type of store-bought cookies ever. Red-sprinkled for Valentine’s Day, green-sprinkled for St. Patrick’s Day, orange-sprinkled for Thanksgiving…

I had underestimated the snowflakes as weaklings that, “dreamt of being in my world/Don’t forget it, don’t forget it/Respect that, bow down” (Beyoncé, “Bow Down”). I’m no Queen B (Queen C doesn’t even work), but I’m not sure if even she could handle my world. As much as the media revels in portraying this institution otherwise, life here at Dartmouth IS difficult. It’s hard being young and figuring out how to balance your activities perfectly, only to have your schedule change in another 9-10 weeks and have to adjust again, it’s hard being unable to identify your passion, it’s hard to decide what to do in the real world post-college, it’s hard being in young society, and it’s really hard to deal with the fact that you feel bad about yourself because you may be squandering time and resources away trying to “find yourself” and blogging about how hard life is here when you are privileged enough to go to this school and there are people out there who literally have no clean drinking water.

So instead of reconciling any of this, I listened to a lot of Ke$ha and One Direction* these last two weeks (sorry I’m behind!) and did these five things:

1. Winter Carnival: On Friday, I went skating with a friend at Lake Morey, this crazy gorgeous locale a little ways away in Vermont that has 4 miles or so of solid ice to skate on. I was a legitimate horror, but once I started pretending I was vacationing at a ski resort in the Alps, I forgave myself for falling any time there was a small dent in the surface of the ice. Later that night I went to Programming Board’s American Authors concert (Programming Board is the student group that organizes, well, programs for students like discounted trips to New York, massages, and concerts like this one). I am not a groupie of the band specifically, but I find live music exhilarating, and it was a good opportunity to display my teeny-bopperness in beat-bobbing glory. Another one of my friends asked me to fill in an empty spot in her human dogsled team for the annual race on Saturday of Carnival, and I readily agreed. We lost, but it doesn’t matter because my zebra spandex finally made its Dartmouth Flair Debut… and I got to spend time with some people I hardly ever see outside of class or the library.

proposing in flair to my friend atop the winter carnival sculpture

proposing in flair to my friend atop the winter carnival sculpture. she said no, don’t worry.

2. Deutsch Backen: I signed up for a baking workshop with a German baker on a whim. German Club was hosting the event, and seeing as I hadn’t been able to make any of the club events all term, I figured this was a prime opportunity since it meant I would be learning how to bake really good cake and then eat it too. The baker had high expectations for buttering the pan, but it was more hilarious than stressful and the quark cake turned out quite nicely. Yum.

3. Sugaring!!! I’m on maple sugaring crew, meaning I go out once a week to work our little sap forest across from the Organic Farm. Almost everyone showed up for last Friday’s workday, and we had a lot of fun deciding what and how to fix the maple sugar taplines. There was at least two, maybe three, feet of fresh snow that day, so we snowshoed up our hill to the trees, took photos, and looked pretty. Oh wait, here’s a picture of us walking back down to the road after working all afternoon. No, we did work, and apparently our system is half operational again, just on schedule!

Model C, presenting a lean back for America's Next Top Maple Sugaring Model

Model CP, leaning for America’s Next Top Maple Sugaring Model. Check out the pack; I am in love with it.

4. XC Skiing, again! I  have become addicted to spending time outside, gliding on short pieces of synthetic material across super beginner-friendly trails. It was another DOC trip out to Hartlands, here’s a picture as promised long ago:


5. Joshua Bell: Sex icon of the world of solo violinists. He performed last night at the Hop in his customary black button up. I listened to his Fritz Kreisler CD back in ’03, and even after all these years, I still adore him. Very grateful to Dartmouth for making it possible for world-class acts to perform here, though if it were up to me, I’d renovate the practice rooms at the Hop first. Keep your students classy too, you know? Still, Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata was na$ty. You keep doing your thing, Josh <3

Coming up: Home stretch of term, or how grim the library’s Orozco murals are at 1AM in the morning (they’re pretty interesting already)


*linear relationship between the number of plays these two artists get on my Spotify and the extent to which I am struggling with life. If life’s not too bad, Haim and Disclosure are pretty great.

Feb 052014

Modern Reader,

If you’re anything like me, you keep about five applications running on your laptop at the same time (up to seven if I’m trying to do work). Your web browser of choice (Firefox) is also divided into at least five tabs (my personal favorites include Facebook and food blogs).

Modern Reader, I regularly decrease my IQ because I insist on multitasking and consuming massive amounts of information in as little time as possible. Winter term is only nine weeks long; I have one less week to do real work, and therefore one less week to procrastinate.

So, Modern Reader, imma keep my posts short and to the point.* I’m aiming for my magic number to be five, even though it’s probably something else.

Five items of 14W (take note, 18′s, because all your Facebook photo album titles for 15W need to read like this):

1. 14Winterform: Since the weather is below freezing most of the time, I look like the Michelin Man (c) in my puffy parka 28 out of 30 days of the month. And I really stand out these days because I’m pretty sure Dartmouth is getting sponsored by Canada Goose and I look like a stack of blue tires.

2. 14WhereIsEveryone?: I voluntarily and happily came back for a winter on term after taking fall off instead (curiosity aroused? I’ll tell next time, dear reader, next time). About three hours into my arrival on campus, I thought of my friends in warm, exotic locales like Costa Rica and Australia and cried quietly in the serene silence of 14WinterWonderland. But really, winter term is the most popular term to take off, and it’s been a little colder this year without some of my good friends. Most of them will be back for spring term, only for some others to leave in the spring, so I’m counting on seeing all my favorite 16s during sophomore summer!

3. 14WhatAmIDoingWithMyLife: Students are required to declare their majors at the end of their fifth term at Dartmouth. The time is fast approaching, and I’m still not sure if I’m going pre-pharm or humanities. The fly mashing and mating labs for Bio 13 (Genetics; pre-meddies, be ready to push fruit flies into watery morgues) haven’t exactly been… encouraging. There’s a lot of great people to talk to at Dartmouth about life plans though, what with the Undergraduate Deans Office, the DOSCS (Deans Office Student Consultants) who work there, the two pre-health track advisors, professors who had similar problems in their own troubled days, UGAs (undergraduate advisors), and perhaps best and easiest-to-approach-of-all, your own peers (I talk to my parents too, but they don’t live here with me, thank goodness). I’m incredibly fortunate to have had several accomplished, astute, clear-headed, and generally just very caring students take pity on me and befriend me. These people I’m so honored to call my friends have been most encouraging of late, and I can’t thank them enough.

4. 14Werkkk: I think I spent about $50 of DBA (Declining Balance Account; essentially money for food that you charge onto your Dartmouth ID card) at KAF (King Arthur Flour café) in one day last week because it’s located in the libs and my spot in the beautiful Sherman Art Library was too precious to give up. My last midterm was last Friday, but those imps have a quick turnaround: my next one is coming up in another two weeks. Ridiculously overpriced café au lait and kale slaw, here I come.

5. 14WSkatingonthePond: That was a consonant cluster, you don’t pronounce the W. As much as it blows to feel like your face is getting stabbed with pins whenever you walk outside, I’ve been trying to take advantage of all that the cold weather has to offer. Occom Pond has been frozen for a while now, and I finally made it out there last weekend thanks to the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra making it an official social event (clubs and groups here usually have a social component to them, with a corresponding social blitz listserv). Us orkdorks held hands and skated for a bit, it was a little exhilarating (translation: my friends basically dragged me around in circles around the pond because I was terrified). I also went cross-country skiing for the first time ever last Friday! It was a very well subsidized trip with the DOC (Dartmouth Outing Club covered ski & ski boot rentals, I only had to pay $3 for transportation), and I’m so so ready to try it again. I was a total noob, but the course there in Hartlands, VT was truly gorgeous.

Next up: 14WinterCarnivalRecap, or what the scene was like in the library because I have an essay due in a week. Before then, maybe pictures, which I can’t seem to upload right now.