Cortland Weatherley-White

Apr 132014
 

After a 13-week period of indoor training, the men and women of Dartmouth Rowing are finally beginning their racing seasons.  This weekend, I travelled with the lightweight squad down to Cambridge, where we would face off with perennial powerhouse Harvard and perennial under-achiever MIT.

Harvard's historic Newell Boathouse. (taken from www.gocrimson.com)

Harvard’s historic Newell Boathouse. (taken from www.gocrimson.com)

The results were as expected.  My boat (the 3V 8+, for those of you who understand such code), beat MIT’s crew handedly, and fell to Harvard’s crew even more handedly.  The race, which took place over a stretch of the Charles River known as “the Basin”, saw relatively kind conditions and flawless logistics.  No delays, no disqualifications, and (thankfully) no last-minute injuries.

The experience of racing at Harvard, however, was unlike any other.

We launched out of Harvard’s historic Newell Boathouse, which, as I should have mentioned before, could be considered a shrine to great rowers, past and present.

Pictures of national-champion crews, flyers from international competition, and acknowledgements of individual achievements cover the aging, wooden walls.  The face of legendary coach Harry Parker looks down from framed portraits on almost every wall.  The few empty spaces tempt the current rowers, as if to encourage them to fill the space with their own historic achievements.

I could have stayed and looked around for hours, but I had business to take care of.  As a Dartmouth rower, it was my goal to try to beat these guys.

The greatest Harvard rowers look down on this training room from three walls, providing motivation for its current inhabitants.

The greatest Harvard rowers look down on this training room from three walls, providing motivation for its current users.

We rigged, rowed, and stowed the boats.  We weighed in on an ancient scale, and went to dinner at the local Cheesecake Factory.  All was going smoothly.

We returned to Newell Boathouse the following morning at 8 AM sharp, dressed and ready to race.  The atmosphere had changed; whereas before I was a guest, an observer, and an admirer of Harvard’s successes, I had now become its antagonist.  The air was charged with all the fire of competition.  It was time to take down the giant.

But despite our bravest efforts, the Harvard Goliaths proved why their very name has become synonymous with success (results available here: http://www.row2k.com/results/resultspage.cfm?UID=6619084&cat=1#.U0rUuV5UHF8).  They swept us in each event, handing the Dartmouth crews our second disappointing loss of the season.

We will not compete against Harvard again until Eastern Sprints, on May 18th.  Until then, I can go back to admiring all that the members of Newell Boathouse have achieved.  I can also guiltlessly encourage anyone who gets the chance to visit this boathouse to do so.  It’s like a functional museum, a factory of Olympic-caliber athletes, and it is certainly worth your time.

Many thanks to Harvard for hosting us so kindly and comfortably, and to MIT and Harvard for making the racing possible.

 

Mar 272014
 

Before I welcome you officially, I invite you to consider the dauntingly impressive achievement you have just made.  Getting into college is notoriously difficult; so much so that books, magazines, even movies have delved into the mysterious methodology behind admissions decisions.  Now that you’re on the other side of that river, take a moment to reflect.

Think about your friends, family, and anyone else who may have supported you during the application process.

Think about the multitudes of high-achieving, high-aspiring students who may not have been offered admission.

Think about your own hard work, the many hours spent studying, practicing, training, and generally not sleeping.

And now…

Congratulations for being accepted! I can’t wait to see all your faces around campus during Dimensions.

From all of us in Hanover, WELCOME HOME ’18s!

 

Post Scriptum: A Note for the Waitlisters

If, like me last year,  you found yourself placed on Dartmouth’s waitlist, I wish you good luck.  The waitlist is an unhappy place, tantalizing its members with the perpetual possibility of acceptance, but constantly reminding them of the likelihood of ultimate rejection.  Keep working hard, prove your love of Dartmouth, and you may eventually be offered admission.  Stay patient, don’t get frustrated, and remember that no admission letter will ever matter more than your personality and character.

Mar 022014
 

I feel loose.  I feel relaxed.  I feel focused.  I feel calm.  I feel…. really, really warm?

A whole twenty-four hours later, it seems I can still feel the effects of of my most recent “warm” yoga session at Hanover’s own Mighty Yoga.  I have done only a handful of 60-minute sessions, but each one has been relaxing, refreshing, and completely worth it.

It begins with the set-up.  Each member of the class gets a mat, a block, a strap, and a cozy, if not overly spacious, forty square feet.  Throughout the session, I found myself contorting into all sorts of positions.  Some were familiar: Downward-Facing Dog, Child’s Pose, and Warrior-II I already knew quite well from my own stretching routine.  Many, however, weren’t so familiar, and soon I found myself in positions almost as complex as their Indian names.

I’ll leave the rest of the session for you to find out on your own.  Here’s a teaser: expect dim lights, warm ambiance, and some high-quality James Blunt.

Come stressed; leave enlightened.  In Mighty Yoga's lobby, the calm is palpable. Taken from the Mighty Yoga Website (http://mightyyoga.com/hanover-2/studio/)

Come stressed; leave enlightened. In Mighty Yoga’s lobby, the calm is palpable.
Taken from the Mighty Yoga Website (http://mightyyoga.com/hanover-2/studio/)

Upon leaving the facility, one often finds that one’s legs feel like a healthy mix of rubber and pine.  It’s hard to describe, but yesterday, I felt like I was walking with a gymnast’s legs. Flexible, strong, bouncy, and deliciously loose.

After indulging my soul for so long, I usually feel it is appropriate to indulge my appetite as well.  The Big Green from Lou’s (with pancakes, Vermont maple syrup, scrambled eggs, and sausage, if you must know) never tastes better than after a high-quality yoga session.

Many of the true benefits of Mighty Yoga do not materialize until long after the session is over.  When I arrive back on campus, I feel far removed from the hectic life most Dartmouth students lead.  Maybe it’s just the normal Sunday mellow, but, for some reason, yoga helps me slow down, look around, and appreciate the moment.

Can you do this? Me neither.  That's why I went to yoga.

Can you do this? Me neither. That’s why I went to yoga.

Especially at the end of a long, cold Winter Term, I think it’s easy to let our lives become one big routine.  Sleep, eat, study, class, eat, work out, hang out, eat, repeat.  Without unexpected breaks, we become like robots, devoting all our time to completing tasks, achieving goals, and studying for midterms.

Don’t think I am undercutting the importance of working hard.  Au contraire, I would actually argue that many Dartmouth students would benefit from a little more time in the library (myself included).  I am merely warning against the fate that awaits the student who lives a yoga-free lifestyle, a lifestyle that prioritizes outward growth, rather than inward.  For those who already find themselves in such a predicament, I will repeat the one thing all yoga teachers seem to encourage: just take a deep breath.

Oh, and do a little Downward-Facing Dog, too.

Feb 242014
 

For this intrepid blogger, Sunday was adventure day. The destination? Boston. The method? Dartmouth Coach. The motive? Clam Chowdah at Joe’s American Grille, and a birthday celebration of an old friend from high school.  But mostly the Clam Chowdah.

I arose at the unearthly Sunday-morning hour of 10 AM, to a warmer-than-usual sun and a Dartmouth campus in the depths of deep slumber.  I breakfasted (broke-fast?) alone and boarded the 11 AM bus to South Station.  The first leg of my long journey was underway.

At this point in the story, I would like to laud Dartmouth Coach on the comfortability of their seats.  Thanks to their plush leather and spacious rows, I had no trouble in sleeping the entire ride.  And sleep I did.

Three dream-filled hours later, the bus was already pulling into its terminal.  I felt disappointed. Was my journey over so soon? And did I really sleep through the whole trip?  I soon realized my fears were unfounded, for, as most New Englanders already know, Boston is rather large. My destination, Joe’s Grille, would not be within walking distance of South Station.  I would need to acquire a Charlie-ticket and hitch a ride along the infamous Red Line of Boston’s Subway System, known to locals as the “T”.

For getting around Boston, tickets like these are a must-have.

For getting around Boston, tickets like these are a must-have.

Using my innate resourcefulness and the English and Spanish instructions on the e-kiosk, I acquired one such Charlie-ticket and hitched one such ride, all within ten minutes of my arrival.  Not too bad for a naive tourist like me.

Soon I would be arriving at my long-awaited destination, with nothing but food, friends, and fun to follow.  We had assembled a small troupe of Boston-area buddies from our high school, and I was a bit early for the reservation, so I took some time to walk around town and contemplate life.

"Why are we here? What is our purpose?"

“Why are we here? What is our purpose?” While roaming Boston alone, I found myself confronting life’s deepest mysteries.

When I finally did get to the restaurant (my musings on life’s mysteries kept me longer than I had anticipated), all the others had arrived and were anxiously awaiting my arrival.

It was a reunion for the ages, and a feast fit for five kings.  But, alas, before I knew it, the meal was over, and it was time to head back North.

In the same way I came to Boston, I left, although this time with a much fuller belly, and a psyche much refreshed by the change in scenery.  Hanover is home, and there’s no place like it in the world, but I must concede that Boston is a truly gorgeous city.  Sometimes, a little time spent away from campus can be a great thing.

 

Feb 162014
 
Recognize it? Chances are, you don't. Courts like these are only common in the Northeast.  (Taken from DartmouthSports.com)

Recognize it? Chances are, you don’t. Courts like these are only common in the Northeast.
(Taken from DartmouthSports.com)

You won’t find it in the South.  You won’t find it in the West.  You will, however, find it at Dartmouth, and at most other colleges in America’s northeast.  It’s called squash, and around here, it’s just another racquet sport.

Curious?  You should be.  A somewhat-complex, fiercely-competitive, indoor-only, two-person game, squash has taken its place as one of the more interesting sports Dartmouth offers.

Being from the Northeast, I actually have a little bit of experience with the game and can testify to how fun it can be.  The racquet is light, and the ball, when properly used, is bouncy and fast.  Because of the court setup, the ball will only go “out” on a truly erratic hit, so there is little need to prioritize placement over power.  As a result, you can absolutely crank on the ball, whenever you feel like it.

And at the end of a tough week in February, I usually feel like it.

So this past weekend, a friend and I went over to Alumni gym and used our Dartmouth IDs to borrow two racquets and a ball.  We went to the (gorgeous and incredibly well-maintained) courts at the back of the facility, and started our game.

After 45 minutes of absolutely pounding that ball into the wall, I felt like a completely new person.  I didn’t even pay attention to the score; I was too busy pretending the ball was my Econ 1 midterm.  Eye on the ball, line it up, and… smack.  Sweet revenge.

All this was free, and all this was incredibly convenient.  At home and in most places, squash is something of a luxury.  Squash clubs are often expesive and a bit rare, and free court times are even rarer.  But at Dartmouth, playing squash couldn’t be easier.

Now that mid-terms are over, and professors seem to be lightening up on homework, I may not need to return to this house of zen for some time.  Or at least until Finals Week…

Feb 092014
 

We all know that doing a study abroad program can be a little overwhelming.  But do you know what is even more overwhelming? Picking one.

I made this discovery two weeks ago, just a few days before the universal February 1st application deadline.  As a freshman with no clear academic focus (yet), I was left with an incredibly wide variety of programs to choose from: all of them.  Morocco, Rome, Berlin, Auckland, London.  My list of potential interests seemed to keep growing and growing.  I had to narrow it down somehow, but how?

I started by choosing which quarter I wanted to ditch Hanover.  This winter has been pretty harsh, I thought to myself, I think I’d like to get away next time around.  This was no exaggeration; I have heard rumors of an impending Ice Age, and some people even claim to have spotted the Ice Queen of Narnia in Late-Night Collis.

So, I had a time-frame.  15W, I’m looking at you.  Now to find a geographic region.

This turned out to be far easier than I thought.

What’s the opposite of cold?  Warm.  Where can I find warm?  I’m no geography major, but I think it has something to do with the South.  A quick Wikipedia search confirmed this theory.

Now, with two criteria up my sleeve, I felt ready to tackle the Off-Campus Program website.  I was ready to find my 15W.

I went back to the OCP website, stipulated “Winter” in the search bar, and found just under 30 programs available.

Daunting.

When you don't know what you're interested in, a list like this can be a little intimidating.

When you don’t know what you’re interested in, a list like this can be a little intimidating.

For some, I did not meet the qualifications of prerequisites.  That’s OK; Biological Sciences isn’t really my thing anyway.  Others did not meet my standard of a warm climate. Montreal? Too far north. London? Too rainy. New Zealand? Too close to Antarctica.

Narrowing to milder climates left me with a few choices: Rome, for Italian, Bangkok, for Engineering, and Hyderabad, for Gender Studies and Middle Eastern Studies.

I thought about it, and I chose Hyderabad.

This process of selecting an Abroad Program to apply to was a tumultuous experience.  I felt excited to go abroad, sorry to miss out on the other great opportunities, nervous about leaving the safety of Hanover, and happy to leave the temperatures of Hanover, all at once.  During the whole process, however, I never once felt scared about selecting the “wrong” program.

It is this last reaction that tells the most about Dartmouth Off-Campus Programs.

I really think I would have been lucky to go on any of the OCP’s.  When I first looked through the list of 100+ opportunities, I didn’t find a single one that looked dull, or useless, or boring.  And while my selection process might have seemed at times silly and superficial, I am now extremely excited at the prospect of going to India to study its culture.  India, with its dense population and ancient heritage, is absolutely teeming with colors, tastes, sounds, and sights.  I think an opportunity to study there would be a life-changing experience, and I consider myself lucky to have even had the chance to apply.