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.

Feb 052014
 

Modern Reader,

If you’re anything like me, you keep about five applications running on your laptop at the same time (up to seven if I’m trying to do work). Your web browser of choice (Firefox) is also divided into at least five tabs (my personal favorites include Facebook and food blogs).

Modern Reader, I regularly decrease my IQ because I insist on multitasking and consuming massive amounts of information in as little time as possible. Winter term is only nine weeks long; I have one less week to do real work, and therefore one less week to procrastinate.

So, Modern Reader, imma keep my posts short and to the point.* I’m aiming for my magic number to be five, even though it’s probably something else.

Five items of 14W (take note, 18′s, because all your Facebook photo album titles for 15W need to read like this):

1. 14Winterform: Since the weather is below freezing most of the time, I look like the Michelin Man (c) in my puffy parka 28 out of 30 days of the month. And I really stand out these days because I’m pretty sure Dartmouth is getting sponsored by Canada Goose and I look like a stack of blue tires.

2. 14WhereIsEveryone?: I voluntarily and happily came back for a winter on term after taking fall off instead (curiosity aroused? I’ll tell next time, dear reader, next time). About three hours into my arrival on campus, I thought of my friends in warm, exotic locales like Costa Rica and Australia and cried quietly in the serene silence of 14WinterWonderland. But really, winter term is the most popular term to take off, and it’s been a little colder this year without some of my good friends. Most of them will be back for spring term, only for some others to leave in the spring, so I’m counting on seeing all my favorite 16s during sophomore summer!

3. 14WhatAmIDoingWithMyLife: Students are required to declare their majors at the end of their fifth term at Dartmouth. The time is fast approaching, and I’m still not sure if I’m going pre-pharm or humanities. The fly mashing and mating labs for Bio 13 (Genetics; pre-meddies, be ready to push fruit flies into watery morgues) haven’t exactly been… encouraging. There’s a lot of great people to talk to at Dartmouth about life plans though, what with the Undergraduate Deans Office, the DOSCS (Deans Office Student Consultants) who work there, the two pre-health track advisors, professors who had similar problems in their own troubled days, UGAs (undergraduate advisors), and perhaps best and easiest-to-approach-of-all, your own peers (I talk to my parents too, but they don’t live here with me, thank goodness). I’m incredibly fortunate to have had several accomplished, astute, clear-headed, and generally just very caring students take pity on me and befriend me. These people I’m so honored to call my friends have been most encouraging of late, and I can’t thank them enough.

4. 14Werkkk: I think I spent about $50 of DBA (Declining Balance Account; essentially money for food that you charge onto your Dartmouth ID card) at KAF (King Arthur Flour café) in one day last week because it’s located in the libs and my spot in the beautiful Sherman Art Library was too precious to give up. My last midterm was last Friday, but those imps have a quick turnaround: my next one is coming up in another two weeks. Ridiculously overpriced café au lait and kale slaw, here I come.

5. 14WSkatingonthePond: That was a consonant cluster, you don’t pronounce the W. As much as it blows to feel like your face is getting stabbed with pins whenever you walk outside, I’ve been trying to take advantage of all that the cold weather has to offer. Occom Pond has been frozen for a while now, and I finally made it out there last weekend thanks to the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra making it an official social event (clubs and groups here usually have a social component to them, with a corresponding social blitz listserv). Us orkdorks held hands and skated for a bit, it was a little exhilarating (translation: my friends basically dragged me around in circles around the pond because I was terrified). I also went cross-country skiing for the first time ever last Friday! It was a very well subsidized trip with the DOC (Dartmouth Outing Club covered ski & ski boot rentals, I only had to pay $3 for transportation), and I’m so so ready to try it again. I was a total noob, but the course there in Hartlands, VT was truly gorgeous.

Next up: 14WinterCarnivalRecap, or what the scene was like in the library because I have an essay due in a week. Before then, maybe pictures, which I can’t seem to upload right now.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jan 122014
 
Oct 202013
 
Oct 162013
 

My portion of the blog has been down for a little while, on account of work and such.

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In any case, the big highlight of the week has been Homecoming, if you couldn’t already tell from other blog posts.

Which usually takes up a solid three days (for the more intense people, it starts around Thursday night and goes through Sunday). Except I have 2 exams for the same class coming up soon, so I did all of Homecoming in one night. I had no desire to go to the football game against Yale on Saturday afternoon; I don’t really understand football (200 pound men running at each other at ridiculous speeds in what is possibly the most dangerous game of chicken ever). Plus, I had to read Cicero with my thesis adviser for the better part of Saturday afternoon…so…football…ain’t nobody got time for that.

But Friday’s bonfire was interesting. It’s a tradition here to have the freshman class run around the bonfire 100 times plus the last two digits of their graduating year. Theoretically, I was supposed to run around the fire 114 times (I emphasize “theoretically“; I, ever so athletically inept, ran around 14 times). This year, the class of 2017 was expected to run around 117 times.

Now, it’s also an unofficial tradition here to harass the freshmen as they run around the bonfire; you might see spectators screaming things like “Worst class ever!” or “Touch the fire!” to the freshmen (that’s the tamest of things screamed), tripping them, pushing them, etc. To be perfectly fair to Dartmouth, that tradition seems to be fading gradually, and those who heckle are usually…not quite themselves at the time? And ever-increasingly in the minority, I’m pleased to say.

But my own freshman homecoming experience was less than delightful, if I recall correctly.

In Fall 2010, I was running around the bonfire with this lovely lady:

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(Taken in our sophomore year–I’ll get to that later)

We decided to run around the fire 14 times as opposed to the “requisite” 114. And it was going just swimmingly, until a horrible little person showed up. This child could not have been older than late middle school age, or perhaps just into high school. But my friend and I are both small people, and this kid was quite solid, so we were well matched in size. On our tenth lap, Little Mr. Awful sneaked out of the crowd and slapped both of us. Hey! Who do you think you are?

So we tried edging away. Didn’t work. Too many people. Eleventh lap, the evil miscreant found us with his beady little eagle eyes. SMACK.

SERIOUSLY, KID?!

Twelfth time around: Little Mr. Awful stuck out his awful little foot and kicked us. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Where are your parents!

Thirteenth time around, we were especially wary of Little Mr. Awful. And, of course, he found us AGAIN. This time, however, he grabbed the glow stick hanging on a long string around my friend’s neck, pulled her out of the circle, and wrestled her down. Now, both of us are not much over 5 feet tall, and one of us was getting strangled by a prepubescent demon with long fingers and possibly homicidal tendencies.

Needless to say, I was less than thrilled. So, without going into too many details, I may have gotten into a mild “altercation” with him in an attempt to rescue my poor friend. And the attempt was successful, but not without consequences.

I drew the attention of the crowd of spectators within my immediate vicinity…and it was not pleasant, much to my chagrin. “Hey, girl, what’s WRONG with you?”

“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? HE’S CHOKING HER, for God’s sake! Are you all insane?!” Priorities, guys.

Also, I’m paraphrasing. That exchange included much more colorful language, which I’m choosing to exclude in an effort to not offend your delicate sensibilities.

Now, when did it become okay for random inhabitants of Hanover to assault freshmen? As a matter of fact, it’s never okay when the upperclassmen do it, but seriously? Behave yourself, Hanover. I’ll take none of that from a child, thank you very much. He doesn’t even go here.

I’m a peace-loving, gentle soul, however, and, not wishing to further any conflict, ran another lap with my friend, and left. 14 laps. Done and done.

Actually, it had more to do with the fact that I’d just gotten into a physical struggle with another kid (NOT WITHOUT GOOD REASON) and didn’t feel like hanging around long enough to have to explain the situation.

I regret nothing. No one attempts to cut off my friend’s airway and gets away with it.

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So, in my sophomore year, I thought that we might paint motivational posters for the class of 2015 and stand around the fire with them. We decided to Homecoming a little differently, and it was great. A group of friends of mine got together and did just that.

And here’s the beauty of Dartmouth: someone somewhere always takes it upon himself to be a good person. For every inebriated fool on campus, there have to be at least 10 decent people. Several different student groups simultaneously came up with the same idea, as it happens. So, were you at 2011′s fall bonfire, you would have seen groups of students holding sweet signs up for the ’15s in a massive circle around the ring of running freshmen and cheering them on.

And this year, East Wheelock Cluster Council decided to turn this business into a cluster event. The posters are now decorating Brace Commons:

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Specimens of fine art, as you see here (the top one is mine! Bottom poster: courtesy of Miss Kristy Choi ’14).

We stood out there for a solid hour with our signs. And the area was a lot more secure than I’d noticed before (mind you, I was off last fall and missed Homecoming, but I heard that harassment of anyone at the fire was kept to a minimum. Same thing this year). The beginning of the fire was quite amusing–before it was even lit, the ’17s started running. Nota bene for any incoming classes: SAVE YOUR STRENGTH. It’s a trivial piece of advice, but you might later appreciate it. Don’t run around the pile of wood before it even starts to burn. That’s silly.

Our group quickly became exasperated at the sight and started calling their attention to that minor detail: “Guys. Hey. Guys. Fire’s not lit yet. Stop running. Stop it. HEY.”

We went from obvious: “It’s not even burning!”

…to wheedling: “Please? Save your strength! 117 laps are a lot!”

…to threats: “All right, THAT’S IT! We’re taking the signs away!”

But to no avail. Oh well.

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Camp Dartmouth

 Posted by at 6:33 pm  2 Responses »
Oct 052013
 

Hello prospective students and anyone else reading this blog! Since this is my first post, I’ll start by sharing a little bit about myself. I am a ’17 from just outside of Jackson, Mississippi, and this is my first time living in the North (so yes, the weather has definitely been an adjustment). I am on the pre-med track at this time, though I am not taking any science courses this term. I hope to major in anthropology or Classics (Latin for life <3) and go on one of those foreign study programs during my sophomore year.

Dartmouth Class of 2017 - I'm that one on the right

Dartmouth Class of 2017 – I’m that one on the right

I don’t want to jump too far ahead in discussing my plans for the future, so instead I shall reflect on my absolutely amazing first month at Dartmouth. Most people would describe their first month with more terms related to adjustment, homesickness, and transitioning, but to my surprise, mine didn’t really include as much of those things. Becoming a part of the Dartmouth community felt so easy and so simple. I felt as if fate decided who my trippees and floormates would be, because those people are my best friends to this day. I went on a cabin camping DOC trip, section F50, a.k.a. hiking 10. We danced 
and we cried 
and we laughed
 and had a really, really, really good time. Not to mention, there were spiders, cougars, and Canadian ground fruit involved, so our trip was actually the best.

My DOC Trip at the Ritchie Smith Cabin (the one without the Panini maker)!!!

My DOC Trip at the Ritchie Smith Cabin (the one without the Panini maker)!!!

When we got back to campus, there was about a week left until Orientation actually started, and thus began the time of exploration and dorm hopping. Orientation itself was filled with tons of free shirts, water bottles, candy, and actual food, so I couldn’t complain. Of course it was also filled with important information and open houses for various departments, but the free things definitely stuck with me. Matriculation was the only event for which we actually had to dress up and I loved it! Everyone was so beautiful and I am so happy to be a part of the class of sexy seventeens.

Obligatory Matriculation Pic with my friends from Brown

Obligatory Matriculation Pic with my friends from Brown

The first week itself was so hectic. Thankfully, I found all of my classes and got to each one on time (I kind of cheated and found them the night before but still). Activities and meetings for clubs were happening almost every day, and I gave my blitz to every one of them, which was the worst idea ever. You could decide not to join the club or go to the meetings, but they still have your email address and you can’t do anything about it. Maybe you can. I just haven’t figured that part out and I must pay for my actions. Nevertheless, I am so ecstatic to be in great groups/clubs on campus and I think everyone deserves to be satisfied with the activities they choose to be involved with. I am a proud member of the UJIMA Dance Troupe (love my Ujiohana), a new club for instituting a program in Zimbabwe called Cover the Globe, and a mentoring program called Link Up for girls on campus. I also founded the Dartmouth chapter of Her Campus Media, so growth for that is definitely underway (if you wish to get involved, blitz me at alexis.n.wallace.17@dartmouth.edu!). As the term progresses, I’ll be sure to keep you updated (midterms are coming up this week for me!!!).

Fort Lou's with the Ujifam

Fort Lou’s with the Ujifam

Ciao for now,

Alexis Wallace

Sep 222013
 

First week of classes has been an overwhelming flurry of new textbooks, new classmates, and new introductions. Everybody is back on campus and all the activities, clubs, and info sessions are in full swing!

Although we only take 3 classes per term, it feels like more, because there is a lot to do, but it is also really great because you feel totally immersed in the subject you are studying. Professors are super friendly, super knowledgeable, and being in class here is different from being in class in high school, in the best way possible.

There has been many big decisions to make this week, from class registration, to choosing clubs and activities, to deciding where to eat or how to spend a free afternoon… That said, it is so easy to feel totally at ease with however you decide to spend time here, because everything is a great opportunity to learn and meet new people.

I posted pictures of my studio arts class and my biology class building, both of which are top-notch facilities.

Off to hit the books, week 2 is coming up!

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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!

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!