Mar 102014
 

Winter term is finally coming to a close in Hanover, which means some pretty big changes in my life.  We finished our capstone design project (and it mostly worked!), so we’re anxiously waiting on the review board of professors and professional engineers to decide our fates.  I’m ending my tenure as social chair of my fraternity, which took up a significant portion of my time over the past year.  Even though it was frequently stressful and constantly frustrating, I definitely grew as a leader and learned a lot of real-world skills I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  The club running team will be gearing up for our spring racing season, and I’ll personally be preparing to tackle my first marathon over Memorial Day weekend.  The days will get warmer, leaves will return to the trees, and the melting snow will combine with the nostalgic tears of the last-term seniors to reduce every non-paved surface to mush.

Of course, between spring term and now comes spring break in all its glory.  I’ll be travelling to Georgia with the ultimate frisbee team for a week – camping out,  practicing, playing in tournaments, and getting to know the team better.  It’s an important tradition to the team, and definitely one that the rest of campus has heard about.  This trip is really everything a spring break trip should be:  road trip singalongs and spur of the moment detours, late-night swims and early morning jogs, new friends and old.  Also fake moustaches and dyed hair.

I for one think that we are an upstanding group of gentlemen.

I for one think that we are an upstanding group of gentlemen.

Now that I’ve gone and made myself all daydreamy, I need to get back to studying.  One exam and one paper stand between me and Georgia.  And a thousand or so miles.  But really, that’s the fun part.

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…

Jan 162013
 

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!

Jan 162012
 

The beauty of 10 week terms is that each week is a challenge. It’s like you’re on a reality show in which you’re given a list of tasks. You work super hard to complete task after task and get through that list. While doing that, somehow you also find moments to laugh, have fun and just breathe. Eventually, after days of working hard, you complete all your tasks. You feel proud, and happy and motivated. You go ahead and submit your list with a check mark against all the tasks with a huge smile on your face. And before you can even celebrate you’re given a new list and you have to start all over again. Each week at Dartmouth is a new list of tasks. Every Sunday night we try to make sure we’ve completed our list for the week. Monday morning, a new week starts and, with that, a new list.

Weeks and terms at Dartmouth go by really fast. Often we find loads of work piled up. Often we have to go by a day with less than 4 hours of sleep. But somehow, in some weird way, being at Dartmouth makes it completely manageable. Not only do we manage to make sure to get all our work done, but we end up making sure we have time for activities, for sports, for just having fun. And then every Sunday night when we’ve conquered one more week, we realize the beauty of this place and are ready to start the next week filled with motivation and excitement. Having said that, the magic, however, is that each week is an adventure yet no two weeks are the same. Each week brings us a new lesson, a new challenge, a new perspective, just something new. Each week adds to our personalities at least one more positive attribute. Each week makes us a better and stronger person. In this way we continue our journey at Dartmouth, becoming better individuals, and achieving something remarkable, one week at a time.

Dec 052011
 

I love tennis, as you probably gathered from my quick bio on this website.  When I was at home, I used to play tennis with my brother every single day it did not rain and was above 30 degrees.  We would play matches against each other and USTA tournaments as well.  I was a little hesitant of what I would do without tennis up north at Dartmouth, especially during the winter.  What I did not realize was how many clubs and facilities there are to use for students.

Photo credit to DartmouthSports.com

I knew there would be a gym, but I’m not a big fan of running on treadmills or lifting weights – it was always too boring for me.  I like strategy, competition, and winning.  I learned just yesterday that there is a badminton club on Thursdays at 9 pm in the Alumni Gym, which sounds awesome, considering that my love for tennis spills into all other racket sports.  A friend also showed me the indoor squash courts at Alumni Gym, which are open to the public for a large part of the day.  If I start shaking and sweating because of tennis withdrawal, a friend and I could each pay $5 to play on at the Boss Tennis Center when the varsity teams are not training.

I haven’t tried out that many other facilities, but the gym is nice – it has all the equipment you would need.  There is also a swimming pool, which I personally have not tried out, but it looks at me alluringly every time I pass by it on my way back from the racquetball courts.  I’ve also seen the indoor basketball courts and track.  I’m sure there is more that I’m missing, because there are multiple floors, and the staircases and hallways are like a maze.  I’ve gotten lost my fair share of times (I’m not the best at directions), but I don’t mind because it means we have a large gym.

There are also a ton of club and intramural sports.  I did tennis in the fall, naturally.  Many kids from my dorm did intramural soccer and had fun facing other teams in matches.  There are also PE classes that span areas that aren’t offered otherwise.  For example, there are classes in yoga, many types of dance, fencing, and a whole lot of other activities that I have never done.  I plan on taking one this winter to ease my tennis withdrawal.

Overall, I guess I can live without tennis.  It would have been excruciating had Dartmouth not had so many awesome activities, though, so I’m thankful.

Dec 032011
 
Changing Colors

What a wild ride it’s been. People told me that ten week terms go by really fast, I never knew it would be THIS fast. I’m done with my finals today and fall 2011 term at Dartmouth has officially ended for me. We’re one twelfth the way there! I think back and I reflect. This term has been the perfect introduction for me to Dartmouth!

It all started off with meeting international upperclassmen as I arrived at Dartmouth late at night in pouring rain. I remember the first glimpse I got of my room and the feeling of excitement that rushed down my spine. It took a night’s sleep to finally comprehend the fact that I had arrived at Dartmouth! Next day, I was greeted by a crowd of people dancing around in front of Robo as upperclassmen dressed in crazy costumes greeted us for our DOC Trips. After spending only a day at Dartmouth, I was taken up to the Dartmouth College grant in the extreme north of New Hampshire for my Nature Photography Trip. Could there have been a better welcome?

Soon we went through a 2 week long orientation, starting with International orientation and then regular orientation. I was thrilled at the opportunities that were available to us here at Dartmouth and was already thinking about the millions of things I planned to do over the next few years. All this was accompanied by more than a thousand new faces around me. The fact that many of these faces would be an important part of my life for the next four years, and some even beyond that was both scary and exciting! After the perfect welcome through DOC trips, orientation provided the perfect kick-start to our time at Dartmouth. Soon we picked our courses for the term and classes began.

The opportunity of being taught by professors who were experts in their field was amazing. Every day I was learning so much and it made me feel proud of myself. We found ourselves coming up with the perfect weekly schedule for ourselves. We found ourselves trying things we had never done before (Which, for me, was playing tennis). We found ourselves being challenged and overcoming those challenges. We found ourselves growing!

Days passed, and soon I was watching my first football game wearing the Dartmouth gear I had recently purchased. It was an amazing experience, especially since we won!

Homecoming finally came with trees changing their colors, and we ran around that huge bonfire that was built to mark an official start to our time at Dartmouth. We were filled with spirit and felt proud of being members of the Best Class Ever in the Best College Ever!

Soon New Hampshire showed its magic with snow in October. In just a few hours, Dartmouth turned into a winter wonderland, and The Green turned completely white! At midnight the entire college came out, and had a massive snowball fight on The Green. We were amazed at how magical this place is!

Before we knew it, finals were right around the corner. We found ourselves turning to our favourite studying spot (which for me was my room), and doing our best to make sure we’re ready for being tested on our previous ten weeks’ worth of work. Many took advantage of the numerous study breaks that were organized throughout campus. A large part of the community came out to The Green yesterday evening and decorated Dartmouth’s huge Christmas tree.

And finally, today my finals ended, and with them so did the term. I repeat, it’s been a wild ride, it’s been the perfect start, and I’m excited about what is to come. Dartmouth feels like a home now, and the people here feel like a family. Adios fall 2011, you’ve treated me well!

 

Cheers

Nov 022011
 

A few weeks ago, the much awaited homecoming weekend finally arrived. Homecoming was a very special occasion for me. Being an international student, I was unfamiliar with the idea of homecoming and I had been excited about it ever since I first read about it before coming to Dartmouth.  Homecoming, at Dartmouth, is filled with interesting traditions and spirit.

The event starts off by the construction of a huge structure for the bonfire. The best thing was that this construction was done solely by freshmen. The huge wooden structure had ’15 at the top to represent the class year of the freshmen class. It was right on the middle of the green. I remember how I was pumped with excitement for my first homecoming as I went back to my floor after a busy day.

Before the bonfire, we all dressed up in our Dartmouth gear, with glowsticks, and had awesome floor parties. We partied till the parade came to pick us up. I remember standing with my floor when the parade finally came with roars and cheers. Homecoming, for the incoming class at Dartmouth, is supposed to be about proving that we are “The Best Class Ever”, hence everyone cheered the loudest they could. We joined the parade and continued cheering as we picked up freshmen from other clusters and then marched through Hanover right up to the green. A ring of Upperclassmen and Alumni surrounded us as we started circling the huge wooden structure. Pretty soon, the huge structure was set on fire and we took part in one of Dartmouth’s best tradition ever.

Technically, as members of the class of 2015 we were supposed to run 115 laps around the fire. 15 laps were enough for most of us (I ran somewhere between 20-30), but there were many who ran the complete 115 laps showing the world that we are the Best Class Ever! As we ran, lap after lap, the heat got more intense. Many upperclassmen encouraged us from the surroundings, others were not so encouraging. But there was one thing we all felt as we ran around that bonfire. As we set our eyes on that huge structure with our class year ’15 on fire, we were all filled with a sense of pride and happiness at being part of this amazing place. We felt part of the community, we felt joy and excitement of the years to come that we’ll spend at Dartmouth, and indeed, we felt that we had come home.

The rest of the homecoming weekend was filled with all kinds of parties and activities. There was also the homecoming football game on Saturday against Columbia, which we won 37-0! The weekend was one of the best weekends I have ever had! It’s when I think about this, and so many other memories at Dartmouth, that I feel overwhelmed with joy. This place is amazing and I feel thrilled to be a part of Dartmouth’s BEST CLASS EVER!!

Oct 062011
 

It has been about a month since I first landed on the Green, and about two weeks since classes have started (which is a significant amount since we have 10 week academic terms). It’s been both stressful and exciting at times. I have my first midterm coming up next week, I am researching questions for my first proper academic paper, I have been to my first two football games (yes, my life’s first two!), I’ve had my homesick moments, I’ve had a wii party with friends, I’ve made spontaneous decisions of visiting West Lebanon in the middle of the week with some friends, I’ve worked my first shift at Courtyard Café located at the Hop (Hopkins Centre for the Arts), I’ve joined the tennis PE course and the Cricket Club (Yes Dartmouth has a Cricket Club! Dartmouth has something for everybody), I’ve played poker at 2 in the night with my floor, and I have done tons of other stuff during this month. There have been mostly highs and some lows. However, there is one thing that I’ve experienced every single day I’ve been at Dartmouth.

This common experience that I have every single day is simply a feeling that stays with me. It is one of the most positive feelings I have ever experienced. It includes pride and happiness. When I think about my day, I’m filled with a sense of achievement. At Dartmouth, every single day we achieve something academically, morally, physically and intellectually. Whether it’s in a class through the teacher’s lecture, or at your friend’s dorm through helping them with a math problem, Dartmouth is filled with all kinds of learning experiences. Going through such experiences makes you feel proud of yourself at the end of the day, since you know that you’ve grown and developed since you woke up that morning.

The feeling also includes inspiration. At Dartmouth you are inspired to seek new areas, to take up new challenges, to think outside the box, to believe in yourself and your peers. A few weeks ago while talking to an upperclassman one of my friends spontaneously decided to go on a canoe trip. The flow of water was intense and she had never canoed in such conditions before. She took up the challenge and she came to me that night telling me that it was one of the best experiences she has ever had! You find several such opportunities at Dartmouth, and soon you are inspired to take them.

You also feel part of the community. At Dartmouth, students are very welcoming. The friends I have made over the past month are amazing. Despite coming from a different country and culture, I have never felt left out at Dartmouth. We find a sense of unity with everyone at Dartmouth and it certainly becomes our home.

I may still be a new freshman at Dartmouth (I haven’t even ran across the fire at homecoming yet) but I have loved every moment I’ve spent here. The magical feeling that Dartmouth has given me is priceless, and this feeling grows each and every day.

 

Cheers!