Apr 152014
 

In high school, I heard a lot about how nobody really stays involved in religious life when they get to college, and I got a bit worried.  I had been pretty involved in church groups growing up, and I didn’t want to lose that aspect of my life or that sense of community.  As it turns out, there  is ample opportunity to get involved in religious and spiritual life at Dartmouth, and it has been more rewarding than I could have imagined.

In my last post, I mentioned an Alternative Spring Break Trip.  These are programs, now common at many universities, where instead of travelling somewhere different to party on the beach, students travel somewhere different to do community service.  I had no idea that this program existed until I went to an informational meeting freshman fall while trying to impress a girl or something.  I left the meeting with a stack of forms and a vague interest that this might be an interesting way to spend a week.  I ended up applying to an interfaith service trip, “working to serve the homeless population in the San Francisco Bay area and exploring service as a shared value across religious and cultural lines.”  Helped along by my half-Christian, half-Jewish family (I remember describing myself as “a walking interfaith dialogue”), I was accepted to the program and met the rest of the group.

 

Coming from a pretty homogenous part of the country, it was an eye-opening experience to be able to share experiences and perspectives with such a culturally and religiously diverse group of people while working together with them for a good cause.  I learned a ton about other people’s spiritualities and was able to redefine my own beliefs.  When I got back to campus, I joined the Multi-Faith Conversations discussion group, which brought the same discussions back to campus, and I’ve been coming to meetings ever since.

There’s an amazing degree of religious openness here, which you might not expect from a place with so many educated and opinionated people.  So many people are still looking and searching, trying to redefine what they believe or just trying to understand their friends on a deeper level.  Sometimes, like in my house’s Passover Seder today, they’re just looking to partake an interesting slice of cultural heritage.

 

Besides, Manischewitz tastes just like Communion wine.

Mar 032014
 

Los Angeles has often been described as a culture-less wasteland, filled to the brim with both the superficial and the lackluster. Sometimes,  the comical stereotypes seem to run the city – the Starbucks-sipping yogis bouncing between Whole Foods and Lululemon, the chain-smoking, scraggly-looking artists waiting for their big break in the elusive “Industry,” and a whole slew of middle-aged professionals living as if they aren’t a blink over 25, Botox and all.

To some degree, the stereotypes, the impressions, and the reputation of this strange city-but-not-city can be justified. LA is not a conventional city with conventional norms, but nevertheless, it is one that I’ve been so proud to represent as I’ve spent my winter term interning here.

For new friends, readers, and followers, my name is Laura and I’m a ’16 who is currently pursuing an English major along with a Philosophy minor – and this is also my first post! I saw this off-term as an opportunity for respite that would hopefully be conducive to learning –  learning more about myself, about the plans I hold for my future, about how I’d like to move forward. I’m currently interning at the Getty Research Institute in the upper LA Basin in West LA, the institution adjunct to the Getty Museum. As a conservation intern, I work with private art collections that are in need of conservation/preservation aid in the Conservation Lab, along with archiving collection materials and preparing them for gallery showcasing. (So it’s pretty interesting work!)

But when the 9-5 job ends, another adventure begins. Finding myself in this strange but beautiful city has left me with so much to do and so much to explore. So for all you friends interested in potentially interning here in Los Angeles, I’ve compiled a short – and by no means exhaustive – list of the best bits of my time here thus far.

  • Produce in Southern California is amazing. Fresh herbs, fruits, veggies – what more could you ask for? Farmers Markets are varied and plentiful,  leaving little imagination left with markets’ exotic varieties.
  • Angelinos travel by car, almost solely, which seems awful when there’s traffic. But driving provides privacy, the liberty to sing at the top of your lungs when you’re driving down the freeway, and oh yes – just enough time to eat breakfast on the road.
  • Yoga, trendy cafés, outdoor exercises often go hand in hand in this lovely city that is surprisingly naturalistic.
  • Really, there is no shortage of different cuisines. Korean is best in LA’s famed Koreatown, the largest in the nation and located right here in Central LA. In West LA, where I’m living, you can find Little Armenia. However, I would say my favorite finds have been Kentro kitchens on the Westside, Shabu Shabu in Little Tokyo, and of course, the occasional Thai in West Hollywood.
  • The variety in shopping experiences – from crowded night-market-esque Santee Alley in Downtown to Rodeo Drive, one can go from bargain prices to couture very quickly.
  • The diversity! Food! Music! Religions! The people! All of this provides for an interesting time in the city, and this is my absolutely favorite thing about Los Angeles. There is an immigrant or outsider story underlying every current of the city, one full of opportunity, of diversity, of dreams being reached, achieved, realized, and more. I find it absolutely beautiful and inspiring.

Of course, with the good comes the bad. A few less-favorable things about interning in Los Angeles –

  • If you can’t drive, you’re in for a rude awakening in this city. This is the main form of transportation here due to the fact that public transportation has been made unfortunately unaccessible in some parts of Los Angeles. (There is however, and contrary to popular belief, a small subway system.)
  • I actually didn’t believe the LA stereotype that everyone is trying to make it into the “Industry,” which generally consists of singing, acting, dancing, and modeling here. But it’s actually true, and it starts to boggle your mind – and okay, sometimes annoy you – very quickly.

 

As this winter term off-campus comes to an end, I really can say that I’ve valued my time here, with all its interesting and signature-LA experiences. I look forward to making the most of my last few weeks, but until then, let the yogis continue downard-dogging, let the chain-smokers continue puffing and hacking, and let the mid-lifers continue living a life they’re 20 years too old for.

 

 

Feb 132014
 

This past weekend was Winter Carnival, one of Dartmouth’s better known traditions. Winter Carnival is the Winter Term Big Weekend, the same way that Homecoming is Fall Term’s Big Weekend. There is nothing like a 3-day weekend halfway through the term to remind everyone again of the great community that we have here at Dartmouth, and of the fun things winter brings when one goes outside!

There were many events happening at the same time, which is a little overwhelming, but the good thing is that any event you go to will be guaranteed fun. From the ice-sculpture building, to the Polar Bear Challenge (swimming inside a frozen lake!), to the Olympics Opening Ceremony and the many themed parties, Winter Carnival was a blast. This year’s theme was carnival of thrones, and so there was a student-build ice throne in the center of the Green. Pictures are attached!

 

arnival2 wintercarnival wintevarvibal

Feb 102014
 

Hello Prospies!

I’m Stefan Deutsch, a ’14 engineering major from Essex Junction, Vermont, and I’ll be one of your Dartmouth Direct student bloggers this year!

This past weekend was one of Dartmouth most legendary traditions, Winter Carnival.  Carnival started as a winter field day to encourage students to escape the doldrums of winter in Hanover, and has carried that spirit of adventure through to today.  Over a century after the first Winter Carnival, the purpose of Carnival is still getting outside and enjoying a respite from classes and schoolwork for a few days.  The weekend is centered around a variety of fun activities, from skating (cool) to swimming (cold)  to concerts and dance parties (sweaty) to a chili cookoff (spicy).  I love the fact that there’s something for everyone, whether you’re into sports, parties, performances, or just catching up on sleep.

My fraternity brothers hard at work on their cookoff entry:  "Chen's Chicken Chorizo Chipotle Chili.  With Chips."

My fraternity brothers hard at work on their cookoff entry: “Chen’s Chorizo Chipotle Chili, with Chips.”

I’ve noticed that people like to complain about the cold and the snow here (and, being from Vermont, I like to make fun of them), but  I can definitely see where they’re coming from.  It’s easy to get caught up in how soggy your boots are and how the snowdrifts make it hard to move when you’re just trying to walk to class.  But, when you take some time to step back and look at it, the snow falling past the streetlights is gorgeous and the drifts actually make it a softer landing when you fall.  In the same way, even though college can be a challenging place, a lot of the things that make it hard are also the things that make it worthwhile, and some of the scariest aspects can end up being your best resources.  That’s really what I like the best about Carnival, and by extension, Dartmouth:  it always gives you the opportunity to step back and appreciate the little things that make an education here so worthwhile.  The sunrise is always beautiful after an all-nighter, teammates who I was once intimidated by are some of my best friends, and when you’re sprinting through the snow in a human dogsled race, it’s pretty easy to ignore the cold and focus on laughing with your friends.

My Human Dogsled Race team.  That orange sweater may be my most prized possession.

My Human Dogsled Race team.  That orange sweater may in fact be my most prized possession.

Well, that’s all for now.  I’ll be back next week with a breakdown of the engineering program in all its stress and excitement.

Oct 202013
 

First post!

 Posted by at 3:03 am  No Responses »
Sep 112013
 

As this is my first time posting on Dartmouth Direct, I feel that there is so much I can tell you already about this place. I moved in two weeks ago, went on a DOC trip to Vermont (Organic Farming), then started international student orientation. As an international student here, I guess our schedule is a little bit ahead of everybody else. But right now, we are all together on campus for actual orientation, as the GREAT CLASS OF 2017. While I could spend a lot time describing my trips, my dorm, and everything else here, I would rather give you this summary:

  • DOC First Year Trips are just the best! Matched with a group of 7 or 8 other students, and two older trip leaders, you are bound to feel welcome and happy throughout your trip, regardless of which trip you go on. My fellow trippees and I plan on staying friends throughout our years at Dartmouth.
  • The campus is BEAUTIFUL! The library, the green, the Hood museum of art, the golf course, the buildings, the halls- everything is visually pleasing, in addition to the campus being very eco-friendly and the students being environmentally conscious and aware.
  • Hanover is an unexpectedly busy place for the small town it is advertised to be. I am a city girl and have lived in an apartment building in a city all my life, but I feel right at home here. There is everything you need nearby (CVS is open 24 hrs/day), food is plenty on campus, and you can take the bus down to West Lebanon (where all the big shopping places are located). Hanover is a picturesque college town, with most cafes and stores nearby having some sort of service directed at student services. There is a movie theater, a poster shop, some fast-food options, and Dartmouth gear and book supplies. Everywhere you go, you will meet someone associated at Dartmouth, and that makes us so blended in with the community which is really great!
  • Finally, and most importantly, the people here are what make Dartmouth a special place. Having met a small portion of the entire Dartmouth community, I can already see how much the students love Dartmouth. Everyone is involved and active on campus, and ready to help out and give advice to incoming freshmen. They all have great stories to share about Dartmouth and their time here so far, and listening to these stories has been good fun.

Til next week!

Morning Yoga with at my DOC trip

Morning Yoga with at my DOC trip

 

Some class of 17 love!

Some class of 17 love!

Dec 062012
 

This post goes out to all the Dartmouth students that are now home for the holidays with this year’s new Academic Calendar extending from Thanksgiving to New Years as well as to the brand new ’17s that are, as of today, part of our Dartmouth family! Congratulations! I am excited to meet the DC- area ’17s at the Dartmouth Club of DC Holiday Party coming up next week.

As I finish up my time at home in DC this fall quarter, I have realized how crazy fast the time has gone by. After having this “real life” job, I am ready to go back and enjoy my time as a student for a little while longer. Although I have learned so much more in these past ten weeks than I could have imagined I would, I also miss my friends, my sorority and my classes that didn’t start until ten and were only a few steps outside my door. Get ready ’17s, for a fantastic college experience, whether you are in Hanover or taking off-terms in cities all over the world, take advantage of all of it! We’re all waiting to see what you’ll do.

Also, say ‘Hi!’ on campus!

 

Dec 062012
 

Chris O’Connell ’13 is the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s First-Year Trips Program.

Class of 2017 – Welcome to Dartmouth!

Congratulations on your acceptance and for getting through one of the more stressful parts of high school!  I remember how overwhelmingly crazy this time of year was with college decisions, so I hope you have had a few minutes to relax, celebrate, and get as excited as you possibly can for your next four years in Hanover.

Students gather on the lawn of Robinson Hall for the start of their DOC Trip.

My name is Chris O’Connell and I am the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips Program – usually just known as “Trips.”  I am SO incredibly excited for you all to come to Dartmouth in 8ish months.  It seems like a long ways away (…because it is), but it will fly by and before you know it, we’ll be welcoming you to campus for your First-Year Trip!

DOC First-Year Trips first got its start in 1935 when some older students involved in the College’s outing club invited some new students to go hiking with them before the school year started.  Since then, the program has evolved, grown, and expanded to be much more than exploring the beautiful New Hampshire outdoors – Trips is an introduction to the College’s traditions, a fun way to meet other ‘17s, and (most importantly) an exciting welcome into this community…your community!

Each Trip is 5 days long and takes place right before the College’s official orientation program in late August/early September.  The program is entirely student-run: 60 support crew members, 300 trip leaders, and countless other student volunteers make DOC Trips an incredibly memorable and exciting experience for the incoming class.  Each trip has two, well-trained, upperclassmen leaders & 7-10 new students.  Don’t worry if you haven’t been in the wilderness before – we offer trips of all levels and varieties, everything from Cabin Camping to Whitewater Kayaking to Community Service to Mountain Biking.  We have added a lot of different types of trips over the years, so we hope you’ll find one that interests you!

The hiking trip I had the chance to lead as a sophomore!

I’m a member of the (great) Class of 2013, so it was only four years ago that I went on my own DOC Trip – rock climbing! I had never been climbing before, but I had the chance to learn and check out a beautiful portion of the Appalachian Trail.  Three years ago, I got to lead a hiking trip in the White Mountains and had a blast leading a group of freshmen through their first days at Dartmouth.  The experience you can have on your DOC Trips is one of Dartmouth’s most unique traditions — it’s a great way to get introduced to people different from yourself, learn about the Dartmouth community, and get connected to upperclassmen who can help you out during your time at the College.

Everyone’s experience with DOC Trips is different, but we are working very hard to welcome YOU – whoever you are, wherever you came from, whoever you want to be in college – to your new home at Dartmouth.  Registration materials (with dates & details) for Trips will be sent to you later in 2013, but for now – enjoy this moment and get excited for an incredible four years!

I’m looking forward to welcoming you to campus next fall! Enjoy the rest of your senior year!

Chris O’Connell ‘13

P.S. Can’t get enough of Dartmouth right now? Check out our Trips blog for more stories, photos, and excitement!

 

Nov 142012
 

Christopher Norman ‘13
Hometown: San Francisco, California

Academic Interests: Geography & Sociology majors

Campus Involvements: Undergraduate Advisor , Rockefeller Leadership Fellow, Casque and Gauntlet Senior Society, Latino Ivy League Conference Head Delegate, First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP) mentor, Former, President and Vice President of La Alianza Latina, Men of Color Alliance, Faith In Action Alternative Spring Break trip leader , Diversity Peer Leadership Program, Geography Foreign Study Program to Prague, Czech Republic, SEAD (Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth) mentor, Former DREAM mentor, Former America Reads tutor

What does “Latino” mean to you? To me, being Latino means being willing to express and learn about the developing history and culture of one of the U.S.’s fastest growing populations. The meaning of Latino changes depending on your context—from the various Mexican expressions characterized by West Coast influences, to Puerto Rican communities cultivating their culture in New York—Latino identity is shaped by its surroundings. While these nuances exist, the strength in being Latino is in knowing that these populations share parts of their languages, cultures, and histories—and that makes the identity all the stronger.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Unique, Challenging, Enlightening

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: The students here come from all over the world, and I’ve had the chance to hear so many of their experiences, challenges, aspirations, and perspectives on the people they are and how they’ve grown. I’ve learned so much from my impressive, motivated peers.

H. Gustavo Ruiz Llopiz ‘14
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico   

Academic Interests: Government major/ minor Education

Campus Involvements: Dartmouth for UNICEF, President, Dartmouth Black and Latino Business Alliance, Treasurer, Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault

What does “Latino” mean to you? For me, being Latino means having an extended family of millions of people across borders.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Challenging, Fast-paced, Welcoming

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: My favorite aspect of Dartmouth is the number of leadership opportunities it has to offer.

Daniela Hernández ‘15
Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Academic Interests: Hispanic Studies – Spanish Literature | Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies

Campus Involvements: Ballet Folklórico de Dartmouth, Dartmouth Fashion Council, First-Year Student Enrichment Program, La Alianza Latina, Sexperts

What does “Latino” mean to you? Being Latina is definitely one of the first words that I use to describe myself. I use this term because it encompasses my history, culture, and struggles in a way that is open-ended yet extremely specific at the same time. Paradoxically, being a Latino means having history and traits link you to almost every race in the world, without actually being part of only one race or people. This term reminds me that I am multi-faceted and that I do not have to be defined by any labels or classifications that others wish to impose on me.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Challenging, life-changing, and a blessing.

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: I love the relationship that Dartmouth has with its students. From the first moment that I stepped on campus I immediately felt the positive, friendly, and inviting atmosphere that the students, faculty, and campus projected. I think that Dartmouth has the ability to make anyone feel at home, even through the rough times.

Francisco J. Herrera, Jr. ‘13
Hometown: Miami, Florida

Academic Interests: Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies Major, Chemistry Minor

Campus Involvements:
First Year Student Enrichment Program mentor, La Alianza Latina, MEChA, Latin@ Partnership for Success, Spanish Drill Instructor, Novack Café Sales Associate, Undergraduate Advisor to the, LALACS Affinity House, Chemistry & Calculus tutor

What does “Latino” mean to you? I think being Latino is about having a family that at some point came to the US from Latin America. That being said, when I think about how I live my Latino-ness, I think of Nicaraguan and Caribbean food, Spanish music and literatures, dancing, laughing, being careful with my money and some more laughing.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Challenging, Opportunity, Forests

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: My favorite aspect of Dartmouth is that even though it can be extremely challenging, you can always find help when you need it.

Adriana Flores ‘13
Hometown: Eugene, OR, prior to that Los Angeles, CA, from El Salvador

Academic Interests: Spanish Major, Italian Minor

Campus Involvements: Cru Christian Group, Epsilon Kappa Theta Sorority, Panhellenic Council, House Manager and Usher for the Hopkins Center, Italian Drill Instructor, Gospel Choir, Sunday School Volunteer at Christ Redeemer Church

What does “Latino” mean to you? Latino means coming from a background of Latin America, whether you were born abroad or in the U.S. Being Latino means that your family or part of it speaks Spanish or Spanglish! Latino, to me, means strength, family, courage because in my opinion Latinos are a diverse and strong group of people.

Describe Dartmouth in three words: Challenging, diverse, community

Favorite aspect of Dartmouth: My favorite aspect about Dartmouth is the smaller communities that I am able to be a part of. I have found friendships and many people that I’ve come to consider almost my family.

Oct 072012
 

One of the most undervalued opportunities at Dartmouth, I’ve found, are guest lecturers.

In the past two weeks, I got the chance to hear from Joe Biden, Richard L. Bushman, and Zainab Salbi, three individuals whose work has had a positive impact on the world.

I’m sure lots of people heard about the Joe Biden speech–or rather, Jill Biden’s gaffe that left the college-age audience chuckling unapologetically. The link can be found here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IKfH_E-NsFQ

Less well known, was a lecture given by one of my personal heroes, Richard L. Bushman, who is a celebrity within the intellectual Mormon circuit. He talked about Mormonism and American politics, which is of course relevant due to the whole Mitt Romney campaign. Bushman is best known for his meticulously-researched biography of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling. I had actually met his wife Claudia at a Mormon feminist retreat the weekend before, so I was not as terrified as I otherwise might have been to go introduce myself after the presentation (normally I’m kind of shy).

One of the most inspiring talks I’ve heard in a long time came from Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International. The story she told about her efforts to start an international organization to help women in war zones was incredibly inspiring and and reminded me why I came to Dartmouth in the first place–because I believed that with the right training and education, I too could make a difference. She offered profound advice–I’m paraphrasing here, but she said something along the lines of, “Saving the world is not a warrior’s journey. You must get off the horse and put the armor down–the world won’t change out of anger, only out of love.” I left the presentation feeling inspired and able to recommit to my sometimes exhausting service-oriented endeavors.

I’m so grateful that I have such amazing opportunities to listen to the voices of such amazing people who are finding ways of doing good in the world in their respective fields. Presentations like those mentioned above help me to become more and more cognizant of the fact that there are, in fact, plenty of other ways to have a meaningful, service-oriented career that do not, in fact, involve medical school.

Joe Biden visits Dartmouth

Celebrities from a variety of different sectors visit Dartmouth, sharing knowledge and advice with students.