Dartmouth is a winter wonderland. Being back for my first winter term has been amazing so far, despite of how worried I was about the long Hanover winter. Turns out that winter time here is fun, manageable, and surprisingly bright. With the exception of a few rainy days, it’s been sunny, white, and beautiful. This weekend, I got to go skiing on the Dartmouth Skiway, which is only about 25 minutes away from campus, and open for students at great prices. Whether you are an experienced skier or have never skied before, snow and the slopes are a great way to have fun, relax, and maybe get a workout in!
So I can not believe it has been a month and a half that I have been here- they flew by too quickly!
Dartmouth is beautiful as ever, with the leaves changing colors and the air getting cooler and cooler.
Classes have been quite difficult and time-demanding, but that is not to say that they are not interesting or fun. I definitely feel like a learned person now, even though I have only taken 3 classes here. I wonder what I would feel like at graduation!
The social life has been great, too, specially that the ban on freshmen going into frats is now over, so my friends and I got a little taste of the Greek scene here this weekend. It definitely is so different from what one might imagine; it is very inclusive, low-key, and people go there just to hang out and meet classmates- it is no Animal House! That said, there is a lot going on every weekend that one might not even feel like going to frats, which is totally cool here- the Greek scene is not the only scene, contrary to popular scene. Below you will find pictures of two non-Greek affiliated events: Glow in the Dark Capture the Flag on the Green, and Casino Night (no real money was used, obviously).
Stay tuned til next week!
My portion of the blog has been down for a little while, on account of work and such.
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:
(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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com!). As the term progresses, I’ll be sure to keep you updated (midterms are coming up this week for me!!!).
Ciao for now,
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.