Stacy Livingston

Mar 272014
 

Coming back to Dartmouth after a term abroad is a little like coming to college for the first time; you don’t know what will have changed, what will stay the same, or what new people you’ll meet. During my time studying abroad in Rome, I kept tabs on the school in the same slightly maniacal way that I did over the summer before my freshman year, watching the days tick by, counting down the time until my return. I even over-eagerly initiated Facebook chats with people I was only tangentially acquainted with, and made questionable Friendsy decisions. All of this reminded me of my excitement and anticipation about joining the Dartmouth community for the first time, and I think that it speaks to the power of Dartmouth that even after five terms, I couldn’t wait to get back. It wasn’t only FOMO (fear of missing out) that made me anxious to return, but the community and energy of Dartmouth. Now that I’m back, I’m once again impressed by the capabilities and quirks of my amazing classmates, the surprising ability of campus to still be beautiful under a thick layer of by-now-sort-of-brownish snow (there won’t always be snow, guys, I promise), and the intelligence and legitimate interest of the professors (we aren’t number one in undergraduate teaching for nothing, y’all).

dartmouth-300x199

The thing that I missed most while I was gone, though, was meeting new people. New people like YOU, future ’18s! I missed meeting new friends-of-friends at at-first-awkward-but-rapidly-turning-into-okay FoCo dinners, connecting with strangers in the line for the mail center, and making new friends in the mozzarella stick line at Late Night Collis. Dartmouth students never get tired of meeting new people, and we can’t wait to meet you! Whether it’s at Dimensions, on a visit, or as a member of the class of 2018 (or some combination! Do two! Do all three! Come to Dimensions! Come to Dartmouth! I’m serious!), we can’t wait to welcome you to your new home. Congratulations on your acceptance, now get over here!

Feb 022014
 

This term I’ve taken advantage of the awesome opportunity to study abroad in Rome with the Frank Guarini LSA+ program. This means that I’m taking Italian 8, 10, and 12 right now while living with a host family in the Esquiline quarter of the city.

1524768_10200762240818232_1041875415_n

As a sophomore, this is my first experience studying away from Hanover, and also my first real experience watching campus life from afar. This little bit of distance from the typical Big Green life has made me realize a few of the things I’ve come to love about Darty. Things like….

Being able to get back to your room in 10 minutes or less in almost any condition. Whether it’s snowing heavily, you’re in the Life Sciences Center, or you’re finishing your last lap around Occam Pond, at Dartmouth you’re still probably pretty close to your dorm. It’s been a hard realization that here in Rome, it takes me about 45 minutes on a bus to get to school, and if I go out at night I need to head home before midnight, since that’s when the bus lines stop running.

1441169_10200369918130410_162875245_n-1

The food choices. Maybe this is a bizarre one to bring up, but I’ve literally eaten pasta at least once a day since I arrived here in Rome. Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta (especially the alfredo pasta with broccoli from Collis), but I’ve caught myself wishing a few times that I could head to the Hop and grab some nachos, try something new at WorldView in Foco, or just order some Thai Orchid to my room. Plus, it’s been at least 2 months since my last warm chocolate chip cookie from Foco, and a girl can only be expected to survive for so long without her basic life force.

The safest campus ever. Don’t quote me on that, I can’t cite a statistic that says Dartmouth officially has the safest campus, but I do know that I feel totally confident walking by myself at any time of night, talking to strangers, and letting people into buildings if they’ve forgotten their IDs. The biggest danger I’d say I face on any given night at Dartmouth is getting accidentally elbowed in the face at a TDX dance party, whereas when I walk the streets here I keep one hand on my pepper spray and the other curled around an uncapped pen in case I need to stab someone to escape (I might be paranoid).

The dogs. Rome is full of dogs, but none of them know how to cheer me up quite like Samson and Baxter at SAE, Zeus at TriKap, and the other dogs at Dartmouth.

1185572_10200285254893882_570114400_n

The people. This one is a no-brainer, and I knew that I’d be missing my friends when I was off campus, but being away has made me realize that it’s not just my friends that I miss. Of course I miss them — I miss our spontaneous trips to Collis Late Night for milkshakes and our Pop Punk cuddle sessions, our standing mozzarella stick lunches and frantic dashes to Dartmouth Hall in the pouring rain — but I also miss the people at Dartmouth that aren’t my friends. The people that I barely know. I miss them because I know that they’re all uniquely talented and amazing, and that just because we’re sharing the same campus we are kindred spirits. I miss them because I know there isn’t a single one I wouldn’t or shouldn’t be getting to know, and that’s an amazing thing.