When my brother told my family that he’d been offered a spot in the Dartmouth Class of 2018, I leapt out of my chair and threw myself on the floor, crying like I hadn’t done since I was eleven. For months, he and I had poured hundreds of hours into perfecting his early decision application. While he was hard at work filling up his resume with diverse, Herculean accomplishments, I was in Rome on the Classics FSP, coming home exhausted from 12 hour museum-days and spending all my spare time drafting and re-drafting my Peer Recommendation letter. I love my brother more than anything, and I wanted the very best for him.
He got it.
Prospective 18s: I want the very best for you, too. Right now, or “@now,” as we say down here in the Upper Valley, you’ve got some really sexy choices in front of you. When, lips bit, I sent in my final decision to matriculate to Dartmouth, I did so with the knowledge that I was forever forgoing some terrifically sexy choices myself. I didn’t know what I was getting into. But as a junior who’s only got three more terms on campus ahead of him, I think I know a thing or two.
Through all my time here, I’ve been the victim of heartbreak, hangovers and more homework than you could shake a stick at. But the grass has never, not once, seemed greener on the other side.
I might be the last person you’d expect to lose sleep over the distress and panic I currently feel at the prospect of graduating and leaving Hanover behind. I’m an ultra-snarky, misanthropic kid on financial aid surrounded by men and women who’ve never had less than their heart’s every last desire. I’m an unaffiliated student at a school where frat life is king and a double major in two humanities disciplines when a couple of econ courses could have landed me a six-figure job as soon as I stepped off the graduation stage.
But, nonsense or not, I am that person. At Dartmouth, I’ve had immense freedom to create a personalized experience backed with titanic, inspired force. Tapping into nothing more than the intellect and enthusiasm of my peers, I’ve built two distinct clubs from the ground up. I’ve spent half a year in Europe at a cost to me that could barely fill a FoCo cup. I’ve worked as a research assistant under the generous guidance of the foremost expert in the field I treasure the most.
I’ve made the best, smartest, closest and most affectionate friends of my entire life.
I have also been the indirect beneficiary of all Dartmouth has to offer that doesn’t quite match my own interests. For the past three years, I’ve known that Greek life isn’t for me. To be fair, I heard some fantastic lies about how dudes in certain frats were jerks, or losers, or any number of awful things. But, over time, I’ve found myself upstairs in those same houses, talking to brothers and feeling overwhelmed at how astoundingly nice and kind these supposed toxic villains and agents of evil were, when they had nothing to gain by treating me with complete respect and decency.
Now, you’ve got some truly sexy, daunting choices on your plate. I want you to make the choice that’s best for Dartmouth, but more so, best for you. If your life-policy is to show up and let all the goodness of the world drop into your lap, Dartmouth can be a pleasant home for you. That, however, is a promise that only reaches so far. If, on the other hand, you’re the type that tirelessly seizes the freedom and riches of a community that will pull your ambitions and dreams out of impossible and into reality, choose Dartmouth. Choose it @now.