May 222014
 

It’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks, which is interesting because I’ve had a lot to write about but very little time in which to write it.  Accordingly, this’ll probably end up as kind of a double post.

You’ll probably hear a lot about Green Key from any current student, but very little in the way of an explanation.  I’m not going to break with that trend here, Green Key is hard to describe, but easy to experience.  Pretty much anywhere you go on campus, you’re bound to find some sort of celebration or adventure or diversion from the usual rhythm of college life.  This year, we had performances from Lupe Fiasco, the Chainsmokers, and a ton of local and regional touring bands which meant that there was music happening somewhere on campus pretty much continuously for the entire weekend.  Even my old roommate decided to get in on the action and presented his senior piano recital on Saturday afternoon.  The music, combined with the fact that President Hanlon must have finally found Jim Kim’s weather machine and kept the weather sunny despite the forecast, made for a phenomenal weekend to be outside.  (Seriously though, it’s always good weather here when it needs to be:  Green Key, Homecoming Bonfire, Dimensions… except for Fieldstock my sophomore summer. We don’t talk about that.)

I might have tried to take advantage of the outdoors a little too much and ended up in the ER after taking a Frisbee to the face, but I got ice cream after my stitches so I guess that worked out ok.

Note, this is a size small cone at ‘Ice Cream Fore U’ in West Lebanon. For obvious reasons, I highly recommend it.

It’s weird how the term seems to be wrapping up already.  My friends are presenting their theses, we’re getting Commencement instructions in the mail, and I’m booking flights for my research job at Case Western this summer.  I just finished the last paper for my architecture class, which will probably be the last non-engineering paper of my life.  Around this time four years ago, I was researching dorms online, so I guess it’s appropriate that I finish by researching Dartmouth dorms again for a paper on the design of the Choates.  While I was writing, I got sidetracked and ended up reading the Wikipedia article on all the buildings at Dartmouth.  I hadn’t even heard of a pretty big chunk of them.  After four years here, I still have places left to explore.  I’ve been trying to check all of them out without being egregiously creepy.  Of course, most of them are just classrooms and offices.  I probably should have expected that.  There have been some gems though:  crazy artwork, underground tunnels, that greenhouse on top of the biology building.  I found a secret society house while attempting to chase a rogue moose.  Heck, I found the secret hiding place of the Keggy the Keg suit once, but got sworn to secrecy.  Even if it isn’t Green Key, the possibilities on this campus are hard to describe, but easy to experience.

I’m still kind of holding out and looking for some sort of Harry Potter-esque Room of Requirement, but it’s probably not going to happen.  Then again, I would never have been able to tell the story of climbing on to the roof of my high school if the seniors hadn’t told me there was a pool up there.  So yeah, there’s a pool on the roof.

May 062014
 

If you’re one of the 55% or so of prospies who chose Dartmouth this past week, congratulations!  At least in my opinion, you made the right call.
You’ll hear a lot about the Dartmouth Experience in your next four years.  A lot of it will be true for you, a lot of it won’t.  A lot of people will tell you it doesn’t exist, which is to some extent accurate.  There’s no singular Dartmouth experience, everyone takes different paths in some way or another.  Some of the people who would look the same as me on paper (same house, same major, same extracurriculars) have been the most different from me.  I guess statistics can lie in that way.  It’s never a good idea to break a person down to a couple numbers and descriptors.
That said, I like statistics.  They can tell you a lot.  And I guess they’d lead me to say that even though there’s no one ‘Dartmouth Experience’, you’ll share a lot of memories with the rest of the ’18s.  In all honesty, you’re gonna do a lot of the same stuff.  Statistically, around 95% of you will go on First-Year Trips.  Statistically, most of those people will remember it four years later.

No matter how many times they’ll try to forget….

A lot of you will probably run around the bonfire.  You’ll eat in Foco.  You’ll have a snowball fight.  You’ll try to get a job.  You’ll go to the river.  Probably.  You can’t say any of these with certainty, but they’re pretty likely.
Some of them are more interesting.  You’ll learn things.  You’ll create things.  You’ll make mistakes.  You’ll make decisions.  Big decisions!  Bad decisions!  You’ll critically reexamine your principles.  Or at least you should.

Anyway, what’s great about the Dartmouth Experience is that it gives you the leeway and the ability to make your own experience, but still have enough in common with your classmates that you can connect with any given person on campus.  You establish your own identity, instead taking a pre-existing one.  And that’s at least 150% cooler than anything else I can think of.

On another note, apparently none of the other bloggers have posted this yet.  Check it out.

 

Mar 102014
 

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 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!

 

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Feb 102014
 

Hello Prospies!

I’m Emilia Hull, Dartmouth ’14 (senior year!), a Biology major hailing from Brussels, Belgium, yet I’m actually half Greek half American. Bit of a mouthful, huh? I’m excited to join the Dartmouth Direct Bloggers for my last six months here at Dartmouth (*tear*) – the wildest, craziest, most amazing experience of my life. So far…

Me with one of my favorite 15's (Emily Leede) earlier this year

Me with one of my favorite 15′s (Emily Leede) earlier this year

So there have been a few posts on Winter Carnival, and the fun events you can participate during this four-day extravaganza (ex: Polar Bear jump, human dogsled races, etc.). Yet the reason for Winter Carnival for me is because we ALL need a break after midterm madness. The 1-2 weeks before students are packed into the library cramming those last few quotes into their brains before rushing off to take a midterm, or typing like crazy to make that midnight deadline for a paper.

My Design Thinking group's final whiteboard presentation for the modular bag

My Design Thinking group’s final whiteboard presentation for the modular bag

Personally I had either a midterm or presentation every day leading up to Friday. Did I sleep very much? No. Did that stop me from going out and enjoying Winter Carnival? Absolutely not. I employed one of the many skills I have developed while at Dartmouth – the ability to function on little sleep, whether I’m studying or socializing with friends :) So get ready for an intensive journey upon enrolling at Dartmouth, where you will go straight from the library where you’re cranking your last sentence for a paper to the Green to cheer on your floor mate in Human Dog Sled races and grabbing Chili to go to warm yourself up.

With a few friends (including graduates!) on the Ice Sculpture of Winter Carnival

With a few friends (including graduates!) on the Ice Sculpture of Winter Carnival

Good Luck!

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.

Jan 122014
 
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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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!