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!
It’s always fascinating to take a breather and look back at just how far we’ve come. Even more compelling though is to see how much we’ve learned. Indeed, time flies. Looking forward, I believe there’s plenty of growth and development ahead of us. And personally, I believe it’s valuable to dig deep into the minds of those who have already ventured the beaten path for gems of insight. Luckily, Dartmouth’s tightly knit alumni community is perfect for this.
To that end, a week ago, I began reaching out to the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, asking for advice from Dartmouth entrepreneurs more experienced than me. Most were eager to help out our startup, Memeja. After a few phone calls and email exchanges, I met up with Dartmouth alumni, Nader Aknoukh, who graciously agreed to meet up at Dirt Cowboy for a cup of coffee. My objective was to dig his brain as much as possible. Questions like “What do you wish you had known while founding your startup” and “What was your biggest mistake” yielded insightful answers about the nature of venture capital and communicating with the market. We walk away thirty minutes later with pearls of wisdom rolling around in my mind.
What I’ve realized is that the Dartmouth alums really want to help you — especially when it’s obvious that you’re funneling tons of time and effort into something you love. They’re friendly, responsive, extend invaluable insights and love to reminisce about their adventures in the startup world. And hey, I don’t mind hearing what Dartmouth was like way back when, either! (apparently there were many more public computer terminals back then).
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!)
I’m sure you’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again: sophomore summer is flying. So many things happening all at once, it’s all so surreal.
First, I wake up to an invigorating all-marching band playing on the Green. I peek past my window curtains and see everything from a communal to a caterpillar-costumed puppeter. Ah yes, glorious Dartmouth life: people are celebrating HOPfest, a two-day festival of the Hopkin Center’s 50th anniversary. The grass on the lovely Dartmouth Green has never looked greener.
Because today I feel more alive than I’ve ever been. With all the ’14s on campus, the spirit of Dartmouth’s tight-knit community appears stronger to me than ever. On top of that, I love the Dartmouth classes I’m taking, in particular Econ 20: Econometrics. It is a class that so brilliantly deconstructs indeterminate systems into quantifiable ones (think economics and statistics marrying each other in a wonderful thought-provoking union). The great ambiance in the background doesn’t hurt, either.
What a great day — and it still hasn’t hit me that we’re already halfway through sophomore summer! Ready to go, I notice that this week is summer recruiting interviews week! Every summer, top firms come to Dartmouth to recruit students for the summer. And my spidey senses are tingling…
Today, I’m coordinating key developments in my startup, Memeja, which won $16,500 in seed funding from the Dartmouth Entrepreneurship competition. Key decisions today: my team and I are building rough prototypes to release to test the market and iterate upon. It’s interesting to witness first-hand just how much a Dartmouth education has helped me. Econ 26, the financial institutions and markets class (with awesome Professor Kohn), has prepared me to understand venture deals and capital markets more thoroughly. Social psychology taught me how to be a decisive team player. And astronomy, of course, reminds me how insignificant we all are in the grand scheme of things (a very humbling insight).
Ah, yes, sophomore summer, how I love thee. I’m trying my best to savor the experience moment-by-moment and remind myself just how lucky we all are to be on campus!
Greetings from Hanover! It came as a huge wake up call the other week when our entire class got a blitz from Dean Charlotte Johnson with the words, “Lodged halfway through your time at Dartmouth, this term provides a perfect occasion to reflect on where you have been, who you are now and where you are going.” WHAT?
I received it on my phone as I was casually lounging on the river docks and it was a very sobering message opposite to the sunshine and laughter around me. It still hasn’t really hit me that I’m in my sophomore summer, the term we’ve been waiting for since before we even came to campus. Every upperclassman had always said it was their favorite term at Dartmouth and I, along with every other ’14 have very high hopes.
It’s a very different atmosphere on campus, with only sophomores and so many people living in their Greek houses and having enough free time to stop and hear the guitar on Collis porch on a cool summer evening without rushing off to a meeting, or the library. Of course, I’m still taking two major classes and doing research at the Tuck School, so I wouldn’t say I’m carefree. However, there is a sense of calm around the campus as not only the students are relaxing a little more, so are the professors. I’m hoping to make the most of this summer before I head home to DC for an internship at the State Department. I’m looking forward to so much this term, from the Farmer’s Market, to BBQ’s outside my sorority to overnight cabin trips or runs around Occom Pond. Meanwhile, I already know the best part of this summer will be the many past and future friends that are finally back on campus!
Lisa Baldez is an Associate Professor of Government and LALACS
Last Thursday the temperature hit 70 degrees so I decided to hold class outside. The class is Gender Politics in Latin America, a class jointly offered by the departments of Government, Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. We focus on the historical dynamics that have given rise to powerful women’s movements, surprising changes in public policy, a high percentage of women in legislative office, and several female presidents in the region. Last Thursday the 18 of us sat on the lawn outside Baker-Berry Library to discuss Rita Arditti’s Searching for Life, a book about the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an Argentine human rights organization. The Grandmothers mobilized to find their relatives who had “disappeared” at the hands of the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976-1982. The Grandmothers work specifically to find children who were born to pregnant women in concentration camps and illegally adopted by families that supported the military regime. This is an intense and emotionally difficult topic to talk about, but also a hopeful one because the Grandmothers have located 87 of the estimated 500 children identified as missing. Being outside allowed everyone to relax and speak openly and honestly about their responses to the text. It was a sublime class.
Emily Mason-Osann ’11 is the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s First-Year Trips Program.
Hi Class of 2016!!!!
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome! First of all, congratulations on making it through the stress (or not) of college applications and decisions, and welcome to Dartmouth!
I’m Emily, although I usually go by Emo, and I’m the Director of DOC First-Year Trips for 2012. I’m a member of the class of 2011, and just finished my B.E. degree from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering where I studied biochemical engineering. I enjoy studying proteins, reading in my hammock, and – now – directing DOC Trips. I’m incredibly excited about all of you coming to Dartmouth in a few months, and I hope you’re excited to go on a DOC Trip when you arrive!
DOC First-Year Trips started 77 years ago when a few upperclassmen invited some first year students to go on a hike before classes started. Since then the program has grown and improved dramatically. The program is run by students, including a program directorate, ~55 support crew members, ~300 trip leaders, and countless other student volunteers. The primary goal of the program is to welcome the entire class of 2016!
We offer many levels of trips from beginner to advanced, and many different types of trips from whitewater kayaking to yoga to hiking. We hope we have something that will interest each one of you. Each trip has two upperclassmen leaders, and four to ten new Dartmouth students. The trips consists of one afternoon and night in Hanover getting to know your group, two nights out exploring New Hampshire, and then one afternoon and night playing and eating at the beautiful Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (which Dartmouth College owns and operates in Warren, NH). DOC Trips is a great way to have a lot of fun, meet some of your peers, and explore that beautiful area that Dartmouth is lucky enough to reside in.
My freshman year I went on canoeing a canoeing trip with eight other ‘11s, and last year I led a hiking trip across Franconia Ridge with six ‘15s. I really want to go on our Nature Exploration trip that we offer because I wish I knew more about my surroundings when I’m in the wilderness. And while you will soon receive paperwork regarding registration for DOC Trips, just know that whatever trip you decide to go on – it can be a really fun and exciting experience!
Trips is a wonderful (in my opinion) and unique Dartmouth tradition, that can introduce you to the college, welcome you to the Dartmouth community, provide you with upperclassmen to help you when you need it and a whole lot more. Everyone’s experience with Trips is different, but we try our very hardest to welcome YOU, whoever you are, wherever you came from, whoever you want to be, to your new home at Dartmouth.
In the upcoming weeks and months (as you count down the days until you arrive), explore our DOC Trips blog, check us out on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and if you ever have any questions – feel free to contact us! Our team of volunteers is getting prepped for your arrival now and throughout the summer, so we want you to have the best experience possible this fall!
I’m excited for Trips and for all of you to be here!
See you soon,
Emily (Emo) Mason-Osann ‘11
Hey guys! First of all CONGRATULATIONS on getting into Dartmouth. Here’s a link to my post to the early decision sixteens. Much of this applies to all of you as well.
Over the next few weeks you guys will be making one of the most important decisions of your life. Many of you might have excellent offers from other colleges as well and are closely looking at every aspect of every college to make sure you make the right decision. I was in the same position exactly a year ago. Today, while writing this post, I am filled with immense happiness and pride for choosing Dartmouth which ended up being the perfect choice for me. Although it’s probably true that Dartmouth may not be for everybody, but trust me, Dartmouth’s versatility and welcoming nature ensures that most people will have the best time of their life at this institution!
So the major question is why should you choose Dartmouth? You’ll probably find thousands of answers to that question. I’ll just add some of my own experiences to that list.
One major thing you’ll always hear about Dartmouth is the focus on undergraduate studies. Trust me that is NO joke! All classes are taught by professors. They also have additional office hours when you can ask them for help or just have a nice chat with them. To see world class professors working extremely hard for you is truly inspirational and you can find that at Dartmouth! This is one of the biggest and most important reasons i’m completely in love with Dartmouth!
Next is the versatility. This is something I’ve talked about in my previous posts. Dartmouth has something for everybody. You meet loads of different kinds of people and all of them have made their place in this wonderful institute. For example, coming from Pakistan my favorite sport has always been Cricket. Coming to the US, I assumed that I probably will not get to play cricket during my time here. However I was in for an amazing surprise when I found out that Dartmouth actually had a cricket club. I get to play cricket every single week here. Many people have had similar experiences with their passions. Sometimes when there actually isn’t an official organization for you, then you can easily create one. Best thing is that you will almost always get both funding from Dartmouth as well as support from peers, administration as well as professors. It’s magnificent!
I’m sure that many of you will already have heard of the amazing study abroad opportunities, the flexible schedule, amazing internships, world class resources, and the millions of other things Dartmouth has to offer. All of these together make Dartmouth a really magical institute. However something that struck me the most was the amount of love students have for this college. People are actually passionate about making it a better place and almost everyone wholeheartedly believes in the greatness of this institution. I’ve also talked about a magical feeling associated with being here in some of my previous posts. The best thing about this feeling is that it keeps increasing over time. As I said, each week brings something new, presents a new challenge, and gives us the opportunity to develop physically, mentally and emotionally.
Overall, I’d just like to say that you guys are a really lucky bunch. Think about your college choices carefully, but speaking from experience I HIGHLY recommend Dartmouth! I am super excited to see you all on campus and I can’t wait to see all of you soon! Make the most of your last few pre-college months!
Yesterday, I went to see the finale of Hairspray, the Theatre Department’s winter production. I hadn’t heard of the play before, but I can now say I love it. The cast was simply stunning, and they had such a bubbly energy even after two hours of jumping, hopping, dancing, and singing, and so much practice leading up to their final performance. Personally, I find it amazing that people can be so talented at singing, dancing and acting all at the same time, especially since I find each one in itself such a challenge. It was great to see that students of all years, even freshman, were featured so prominently in the show. If I had any talent at all, I would definitely audition because it seems like the cast had such a great time working together. My friends and I were all in a euphoric state after experiencing such a heartwarming story.
After the show, I went back to my dorm to work on my math paper. I’m currently taking Math 17, a topics course called Math Beyond Calculus, which focuses on number theory and its applications in cryptography this year. The professor does an amazing job tying together many areas of math into a coherent course in an interesting field while giving us a taste of what math is like after the calculus sequence. In the final week, all the students in the class have to study something not directly covered in class. Not only is it a chance to explore anything that interests us outside the curriculum, but it also exposes us to mathematical texts and papers, encouraging us to piece together an understanding the way mathematicians and scientists do when they learn about new topics. We are soon going to start giving presentations to the class, which trains us in conveying difficult mathematical concepts clearly and succinctly, a skill that will definitely come in handy in the future. I had never taken a math class quite like this before, and I love it. I’m so glad that Dartmouth has classes like this, and I plan to seek them out in future terms as well. I’ve been rubbing Warney Bently’s nose every time I pass through the Hop – hopefully that will give me good luck for my presentation.
As we go through an unusually warm winter this year in Hanover, winter term is nearing it’s end. If you’ve read my previous blog posts, there’s one thing I say each time and I’ll repeat it here, weeks at Dartmouth go by REALLY fast! This is not an understatement, it is simply something we have to adjust to. 8 weeks and 4 midterms later, I confess that winter term has been super busy for me.
Currently I am working on 4 major projects for my writing class. In addition to that is the constant flow of problem sets from my math and physics classes. All of this has resulted in very busy days, sometimes very little sleep, and constant challenges. Trust me when people talk about the huge workload at Dartmouth, they are NOT joking. To all those who think taking 3 classes a term is an easy task, Dartmouth will prove you wrong. We then look for survival strategies that help us cope with the stress that this workload brings. While different things work for different people, what I want to talk about is surviving by keeping intact the connection back home.
When we start of as freshmen at Dartmouth, we’re entering a new world. This world is scary, exciting, different, interesting, stressful, joyful, challenging and magical all at once. But at the same time, we’re also moving away from our previous world. Often this can be tough. This is especially tough if you’re an international student and home is about 7000 miles, a 30 hour travel and a 10 hour time difference away. Although this new world can be the best thing ever, it sometimes becomes important to keep that connection to your home alive. This can be through your parents, your best friend or anybody who’s been a really important part of your life back home. This connection can often be one of the important ways of making sure you have an awesome Dartmouth experience. At 2 am on some night when your mind is filled with thoughts and you can’t fall asleep, picking up that laptop and typing that email to your parents helps clear your mind. When you have the biggest paper of your term due and you don’t know where to start, instead of stressing out, spending half an hour calling your best friend from back home helps. On so many occasions, that home connection makes your life at Dartmouth even better.
So my advice today, to all my fellow Dartmouth students, to the sixteens, to future prospective students as well as students in other colleges who are reading this post, is to make sure that while exploring the mysteries of your new world and your new home, you don’t lose that vital connection to your old home. Part of what makes Dartmouth magical is the diverse array of places and backgrounds that people come from, and when these people make sure they don’t lose their former identity, their values , and their connections from home, Dartmouth becomes beautiful to a whole new level.