Some students considering Dartmouth may be nervous about the weather or the cold, but today reminded me of why I love wintertime at Dartmouth. Students that come here learn to take advantage of and love the beautiful white snow that covers campus. From skiing at the Dartmouth Skiway, to ice skating on Occom Pond, to school wide midnight snowball fights, students here know how to keep having fun outdoors even when the snow starts to fall (and doesn’t seem to stop!). From my experience, winter brings people together at Dartmouth, and new adventures are always available if you want. In just one week so far this term, Dartmouth has offered free cross-country ski lessons, winter hiking opportunities, beginner and intermediate gym classes for skiing and snowboarding, hockey games, and more! Not only will you learn to bear the New Hampshire winter, but if you’re like me, you will learn to love it!
I spent this past fall for my off term interning as an assistant teacher in a first grade classroom at home in New Jersey. While friends and family were confused at first how any college student could be home from September through December, any confusion I had about what I wanted to do once I graduate has since disappeared.
Teaching has become my passion, and I am extremely excited to spend the next two years taking more classes to bolster my knowledge of educating. I happily woke up every morning at 7am and my job never got boring, not something any college intern can say! As much as I taught my class of 16 students, they taught me just as much, if not more, about the art of teaching. My mentor teacher was also extremely helpful in guiding and supporting me throughout my time in her classroom.
This winter I am taking two education courses at Dartmouth, one called Development in the Exceptional Child and the other Language Acquisition. It will be interesting to see all of the connections I find between my readings and my experience this fall. As a side note, Dartmouth offers two great options for anyone interested in education or teaching. There is an education minor that you can earn as well as a teaching certification program that you can apply to and get certified within your four years at Dartmouth. I currently plan to take advantage of both options!
Due to Dartmouth’s aspiration for a liberal arts education, the college requires all students to complete a set of distributive requirements before graduation. These requirements do not hinder students from taking the courses they want or force students to take a specific class they may not be interested in, but instead, the “distribs” (as students call them) allow students to branch out and encourage them to reach out of their comfort zone. The list of requirements that Dartmouth currently has is as follows: one Art; one Literature; one Systems of Thought, Meaning and Value; one International or comparative study; two Social analysis; one Quantitative or deductive science; two Natural or Physical sciences; and one Technology or applies science. In addition, students must take one laboratory class. The other side of the requirements is in terms of World Culture and requires one course in each of the following: Western culture, Non-western culture, and Culture and Identity. While this may seem like so many classes, many classes can fulfill both a subject and a culture distribution and many requirements can be fulfilled in surprising ways. For example, a music class can fulfill your technology requirement and nobody has to know how to draw or paint to get credit for the art distribution. Some of my favorite classes so far at Dartmouth have been classes I have selected to use to fulfill a distribution or just based on interest. Examples include Astronomy, Religion, Statistics, Multiracial Youth Development, Perception, Argentine Literature and more! As a Psychology major, the majority of my classes will end up in that department, but thanks to the distributive requirements I have been fortunate to get a taste of many other areas of study and learn bits and pieces of a variety of subjects.
This past spring I spent ten weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the Spanish Department Foreign Study Program (FSP) with fifteen other Dartmouth students. The experience was absolutely amazing! While there, we took three classes at an Argentine university (UADE), lived with host families, and experienced culture events every week ranging from tango class to riding horses in the countryside to learning about Borges. One of my favorite parts of the program was a week long vacation in the middle to travel wherever we wanted in the gorgeous country. I was lucky enough to see Iguazu Falls (waterfalls that are more than three times the size of Niagara!), the glaciers down in the southern Patagonia region, and even to travel to “the end of the world” to the southern most city of Ushuaia.
While in Argentina, we tasted many new foods and all fell in love with empanadas. If you haven’t ever had an empanada, I highly recommend it! Imagine a small-scale calzone filled with ham, cheese, beef, chicken or vegetables but with a flakier crust. This past week, my group got back together for a reunion and cooking lesson with the professor that traveled with us in the spring. While we are all willing to admit our empanadas were not quite as delicious as what we remembered, it was such a nice evening to catch up with friends, freshen up our Spanish speaking skills (as to not let it get too rusty) and learn to make something that will always remind us of our time in Argentina.
I am a huge supporter of studying abroad in college and think it really helped me to mature and become more independent. I learned so much about myself while abroad and have a slightly better appreciation for other cultures after immersing myself for ten weeks. Dartmouth makes it so easy to study abroad and my own experience and those of friends all have been fabulous.
Wednesday night’s dinner was my favorite meal in a long time for two main reasons. First, I got to enjoy pesto, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella- the perfect summer combination! But more importantly, the true appeal of Wednesday’s dinner was Professor Michele Tine, a member of the Education Department at Dartmouth, who joined nine of my sorority sisters and me for a “Delta Dinner.” We sat around the table talking for nearly two hours with constant conversation about everyday Dartmouth life topics and eventually engaging Professor Tine’s expertise about underprivileged students and ways to enhance their education. Professor Tine has worked in a school herself and now is a professor and does research of her own. We chatted about the merits of educational topics ranging from teacher professionalism and respect, Teach for America, the unequal scale of opportunities and the invisible challenges teachers face in certain types of schools. As an education minor and teacher hopeful myself, the dinner was an incredible opportunity to hear first-hand from an intelligent woman with a life of experiences to share with us. This fall I will be teaching in a 1st grade classroom and, after the conversation over dinner on Wednesday, I am itching to start!
A major facet of Sophomore Summer is taking advantage of all of the opportunities that Dartmouth has to offer. While special classes are offered only over the summer, certain community service activities take off during these ten weeks, and ample chances to meet classmates exist, certain outdoor experiences are unique to the summertime.
Last Thursday night, five friends and I went to the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge for dinner. Every night of the summer student chefs prepare and serve a five-course homemade meal to Dartmouth students and locals. Our meal was inspired by an “Around the World” theme and thus we got to enjoy nann, egg drop soup, a garden salad, onion rings, chicken fajitas and chocolate mousse. Needless to say, we were all stuffed by the end! While the meal itself was truly enjoyable, my favorite part of the night was that I was doing something different than my usual Thursday evening with a group of great friends. After the meal, a local duo played guitar and sang songs that they had written. The one-hour car ride each way flew by as we shared stories of our summers and had a good time being together. The road back to Hanover from the Lodge is known to be home to many animals, including the moose! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), we did not see one on this road trip home.
The majority of Dartmouth students have their first Lodge experience during Dartmouth Outing Club’s freshmen pre-orientation trips. After five days hiking, canoeing, biking, rock climbing or doing community service with two upperclassmen and a group of 6-10 new classmates, students end the trip with dinner and an unforgettable night of fun at the Lodge (I don’t want to give away any of the awesome surprises!)