Dec 082014

“New Hampshire?…I’ve never met somebody who goes to school in New Hampshire.”-Many people back home

This reaction was something I came across often during my college tenure. I am from Los Angeles, CA- 3000 miles away from Dartmouth! Most people from my community are not very familiar with New Hampshire…I mean I surely wasn’t until visiting Dartmouth. Though very far from home, there are some great reasons to go to school outside of your hometown as my experience has shown me. Whether your hometown is much closer to NH or further than L.A., here are 4 benefits to going to school away from home.

1. Get out of your comfort zone
No matter where you go to college, you will experience change- the transition from HS, new friends, and new activities. I view college as a place of tremendous personal growth in just 4 years. Going to college away from home gives you the opportunity to experience something new. Hanover, NH is just about the complete opposite of where I grew up and what I had been exposed to. That’s what I wanted- something completely different. It’s a fresh start in an entire new place. You will have to push beyond your personal wall and open yourself up to what the new environment has to offer.

blog stuff

2. Experience something new
Ever seen the four seasons change before your very eyes? Ever jumped into an ice-cold pond and swam for fun? Ever gone apple picking and then made apple crisps with your friends? Ever arrived to a campus 3000 miles away from home and knew nobody? Ever participated in a community pond party where people are doing sofa races on ice? Ever star-gazed with your friends on a golf course? Ever gone to another person’s house for Thanksgiving and Easter without your family? This list could go on and on. This is a taste of my experience of all things new in New Hampshire. What is new to you post-hs will be different than my experience. Welcome change in your life. Re-locating geographically for college is one of the major ways to foster change and new experiences. Know that in being away from home, the new will probably outweigh the familiar…and that is okay! Adventure awaits!


3. Independence 
You’ve probably heard that in going to college you gain a new level of independence.  And it’s true! College is sort of like this weird stage, where you are kind of independent, but not completely so. For me, being far from home was my way of beginning to understand what it’s like to be an independent young woman. Though I could still call my family, they were no longer immediately there to pick up the pieces or do the things I didn’t want to do (like laundry lol). I had to adjust to this very different environment without them being there to guide me through each and every step. You also have the opportunity to come to terms with your identity, ideas, and beliefs in an environment that is foreign to you. What better way to really grapple with you are as a person and who you want to be. With this new gained independence I matured immensely. Being away from home isn’t always easy, but because of my experiences, I feel a bit more ready for the “real world.”

walk alone

4. Understand how friends really do become family 
Prior to attending Dartmouth, everybody told me, “Your college friends become your lifelong friends.” I thought sure they do, but why does college have to be that place? Dartmouth showed me how true that statement was. You live with these people, eat with them, study with them, hang out with them, and the list goes on. In such an environment, your close friends see you at your worst and at your best. They encourage you, they love with you, laugh with you, and cry with you, just like family would do. We are all maturing and experiencing this new environment together. When you are far from home, you need to have community. You need to have support systems so you know that you are not alone. As I am in my senior year, I have people at Dartmouth who mean the world to me. They are not just my friends, but my chosen family: brothers and sisters from many different backgrounds- all across the nation and the world. I knew that in going to NH, I would partake in very diverse networks and meet many new people, but I did not know what the depth these relationships would mean to me. My Dartmouth experience wouldn’t be what it was without my friend family.


I hope this post helps you think through some of your college decisions. Feel free to reply below. I am happy I took the risk to go cross-country for school. Yet, I know that going to school far away from home may not be for everybody. Whatever your decision may be, may it be brave and the right one for you. 

Until next time,
D-Moore :)

Dec 082014

I began my junior fall frazzled at the thought of not having plans for the winter. I didn’t have a solid idea of what I wanted to do, but knew that I wanted it to be geared towards working with a nonprofit in a foreign nation. After speaking with a couple of friends and mentors, I was recommended to visit the Dickey Center to check out potential internships.

The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding collaborates with the college in work that aims to address global challenges. As a student on financial aid, the Dickey Center was one of my three main sources on campus to receive funding for internships or special projects that I was interest in (which I’ll speak later about). Just in 2013-14 alone they funded over 95 projects in 35 countries all over the world. Upon entering the Dickey Center, I was reassured I would find an internship for my junior winter. More importantly, I would be able to find an internship that I would be psyched about doing, without worrying how I was going to cover the cost of my ticket, rent, meals, and transportation while there.

Through the Dickey Center I was able to go to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala and work with a nonprofit that collaborated with indigenous communities in surrounding areas. This nonprofit and my specific role as an intern was to approach the issue of healthier ways of living. I was granted the opportunity to visit several communities, and develop a health curriculum based on the suggestions and curiosity of the communities.

Meeting with weekly women’s circles to discuss various topics centered around women’s health.

The opportunity to engage with a different culture than mine was life altering. Outside of work, I was able to travel and visit amazing sites I wouldn’t have otherwise. I explored underwater caves, visited limestone water parks, went ziplining and chilled on a lake on top of a volcano. I was able to fully submerge myself into the experience without worrying about the cost of living because the Dickey Center funded all of it.

Courtesy of Jillian Maeve

I know you’re thinking there was to be a catch, but really, there isn’t! One of the greatest characteristics about Dartmouth for me is the accessibility. If there is something you want to do but don’t have the economic means to do it, there are multiple financial sources to pull from. The main three are the Dickey Center, the Rockefeller Center, and the Tucker Foundation. The Rockefeller Center funds more political/government based work while the Tucker Foundation has funds available to do service work. I do want to stress that these centers are more than just the money they offer, but just know that if you have an idea or a job opportunity, these centers are available to help you out.

Besides these centers, there are research grants for potential research projects, and other mini sources you can ask to fund you. Aside from the money, there are also professors and staff members who are willing to help you with anything! Working with the Dickey Center was one of my greatest experiences in that they provided me with the living cost of my internship, but also working with the members of the Dickey Center was an invaluable due to their endless help and support. At Dartmouth I’ve come to realize that everyone wants to help you reach your goals as a student and furthermore, as a global citizen.

fall back

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Nov 142014

To decry the absurdity of there being just 1.5 weeks left before the end of my penultimate (!!!) Dartmouth fall term, I choose not to recount what has passed this term. Instead, I will review past fall terms! In particular, my sophomore fall, which I spent off campus in Seoul, Korea.

falloff1The beginning of my off term was rough. I flew straight to Incheon International after my German LSA ended with nothing lined up for the term. No internship, no cool service project, no plans. The first week after Berlin, I spent most of my time inside. Korea is notoriously hot during August, the weather was only just cooling, and I was pretty tired of working and thinking. By the weekend, though, my parents were demanding that I look into labs at all Seoul universities and email professors who didn’t have more than ten people in their labs already. Of course, I only sent three emails by the end of the weekend, so it was with GREAT fortune that one of the professors got back to me later that week. That e-mail was my salvation, and I will never forget how grateful I was when I visited the professor the next Monday and she took me on as an intern. Unfortunately, my arrival coincided with one of the biggest holidays in Korea: Chuseok, Korea’s autumn harvest festival. I had to wait until the next week to start working, but with something to do set in place now, I enjoyed myself while I could. I visited my family, ate a lot of food, and met up with some friends who had come on exchange to Dartmouth from Yonsei University and one of my Dartmouth friends who was on exchange to that university.


Yum, shaved ice set. One of the many things I ate before the weather turned frigid!

Once work started, though, free time definitely took on a different meaning. I was in the lab from 9-6 Monday through Friday, and the travel time was a whopping 45-50 minutes one way. I would wake up at 7:20 each morning to make lunch, eat breakfast, dress, and then run out the door around 8 to catch the neighborhood bus that would take me to the subway station. If I made it out by 8, there was no traffic and it took ~7 minutes to get to the station. If I was running late and I got out at 8:10, I would be late to work. From that subway station there was a 15 minute ride, a 6 minute transfer, and another 5 minutes. If I wanted to walk to the lab from where I got off the subway, it took 25 minutes. If I took the bus up to the back of the lab building, 10-15 minutes depending on how full the bus was. There was a park on the way I would pass by which was beautiful in October/early November:



Admittedly there was a lot of sitting in the lab, and an hour long lunch break around 12, but the process of going to the lab and working totaled me. The first thing I always did when I came back home at 7:10-7:20PM (a full 12 hours for this entire process) was go to our fridge and take the first thing I saw. I would carry this item of food to the living room and scarf it down, then turn on the TV and watch blankly before stirring myself to eat a real meal (once my mother caught me in the midst of my very important vegging time and suggested I take the next day off). I would read a book before watching the latest episode of the Walking Dead (the only worthwhile show on from 9-10PM), and then go to sleep. Free time became the only way my body could catch up and wake up the next day, and I finally understood why my parents always insisted on making me do the household chores after coming back from work. It’s just really really tiring.

I did do a lot of great stuff in the lab though. The lab was focused on researching transcription factors of neural cells. There was a lot of stem cell research but mostly my duties were preparing DNA, propagating, transforming bacteria, and preparing eggs for DNA injection. Once I prepped a lot of eggs and took a picture ha:

IMG_1256The DNA was then injected into the spinal cord of the embryos, which was crazy. I had a chance to inject 12 eggs over the course of the internship and took maybe three hours total. The DNA being injected was dyed, and it was really easy to just squirt the dye in the sac and then not be able to see the spinal cord at all, which meant that injecting into that egg would not be happening. I also ran a gel before I left, which was awesome, and I got out a product that hadn’t shown up before.

view from the rooftop of the lab

view from the rooftop of the lab

Overall it was worthwhile, but I can’t say I didn’t miss being on campus. I didn’t really have that many friends in Korea, and was too busy to meet them regularly as well, which definitely made me feel a little shut up at times. Fall was beautiful but too short, and once the weather got cold it was difficult to make myself go outside (the way home was also very very dark and grim in the winter). I’m really daunted by the prospect of preparing for yet another off term in the spring, but I’m starting early on planning and am already thinking about where I want to be. Right now though, I’m perfectly fine being here on campus and taking classes. Being a student is truly the most straightforward occupation.

Nov 072014

Dartmouth Student Assembly made this video to tell you why they want you here.

The Student Assembly is the official student government of the College and their representatives and delegates are elected by the students. One of their roles is to strengthen students’ participation in the College’s decision-making process and their members sit on various boards. And they do want you here…

Nov 042014

The music major at Dartmouth was recently updated (a fact that, thank God, has no bearing on my own graduation requirements) to differentiate into three different areas of study. Without letting my biases show too much, suffice it to say that I would rather focus on the positive implications of offering degrees in performance (my degree will not, unfortunately, say violin performance on it) rather than focusing on the other implications of offering a degree in “sonic arts.” To each their own I guess. What sort of bugs me about new wordings and euphemisms isn’t so much that they are wrong/intrinsically bad, but rather that the attempt to sum up my experience as a music major into one of three tracts is laughable. At times I have studied music “generally,” I guess. But at other times it has been so ridiculously specific as to barely maintain cohesion with the rest of my academic pursuits. I prefer the characterization of my musical life at Dartmouth as twelve-tone.

For those who don’t know, twelve-tone music is a rather progressive branch of 20th century classical music pioneered by Arnold Schoenberg. A large part of the origin of my musical life at Dartmouth was Schoenberg, for I was given the honor of page-turning at my friend’s senior conducting recital for this piece my freshman year. A twelve-tone composition abides by the rule that each of the 12 pitch classes must be played before any one can be repeated. The point of twelve-tone music is multifaceted. On the one hand, it seeks to treat all pitch classes equally. I could compare this to the two music course I took freshman year – ethnomusicology and introductory music theory. Both courses fulfilled a major requirement – you could say each of them was an individual tone treated equally. But music theory was the first class in my life that I got a B in, the first class that posed a substantial challenge to me at Dartmouth, and it was the class that convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to study music. Ethnomusicology didn’t challenge me academically or intellectually, but I’d be lying if I didn’t credit it for opening up my musical horizons and making me confront the fact that the music I listen to (and that everyone listens to) occupies a relatively small fraction of the total musical output of the world.

On the other hand, twelve-tone music seeks to unify these pitches into a singular composition. As I consider the prospect of how music will be in my life after college, I am forced to evaluate myself as a musical composition. In some ways (the music study abroad foremost among them), my musical education vastly outpaces what I could achieve at a conservatory, just like atonal music can access new emotional realms when it abandons the rules of tonal western harmony. In other ways, the ways of tradition still seem supreme. There isn’t a strings faculty of 20 and enough violinists at Dartmouth to form a new (awful) nation-state, and that relieves pressure from me. And musicians need pressure to get better sometimes. Similarly, the interval of a perfect fifth will always sound more consonant than a tritone. It just will.

A Dartmouth career spans 12 on-terms, which for me represent 12 different tones I can select. I have to put thought into each note, for I don’t get to repeat any terms, and taking an opportunity now can mean abandoning another later. I like the tones I’ve picked so far. I feel like I’ve built something meaningful out of them, something that I can say is distinctly my own. When I was studying in London, my private teacher made me hold pitches until I could hear the overtones. I would stand and play a C4 for 20 minutes until I began hear the resonance of the note, the implication of upwards of 16 other notes in a single tone. My music education at Dartmouth has been private lessons and chamber music and concerto competitions. It has also been TAing a theory class, working in the music library, and managing the orchestra. If I reflect hard enough, it has even been the history classes I’ve taken, the very nature of my liberal arts education, even merely living in Hanover. These are the more remote overtones of my music degree.

Perhaps the greatest similarity I could draw is that twelve-tone music forces you to become inventive as you make music. You can’t rely on tried and true harmonic progressions or voice leading to guide your composition. At Dartmouth, I’ve had to get creative as well. I went to Europe to study music, I sought extra lessons from the visiting opera company in the summer, I organized and performed in a recital with friends. You learn to be a self advocate and a well rounded musician, and that is the ultimate reward of choosing all twelve-tones. It may be unorthodox, it may sound a little weird, but as someone who lives it every day, I can say it is worthwhile.


All you need is an audience of one

All you need is an audience of one

My study-abroad looking great after our last conert

My study-abroad looking great after our last conert

Me and my friends after our French Impressionism Recital

Me and my friends after our French Impressionism Recital

Oct 242014

I’m convinced that climates have moods, and Hanover’s is just too capricious sometimes to handle. I’m from Denver where the weather acts like an un-housebroken 13 year old boy. Something about snowing 2 feet in the morning and a nice 60 degree rainbow in the afternoon feels like slapstick to me. Hanover, on the other hand, gets all moody with the changing leaves and the fall scented air and then the snow drifts and the freezing cold and then the budding trees like a Spanish-langauge soap opera. This is compounded by the ten week terms, which violate some weird macro-circadian rhythm. The result is that students develop strategies for dealing with the passage of time.

One strategy that I find useful is music. Songs become terms, and I can relive the sublime and distinct feelings of my Freshman fall, winter, and spring in the linked songs. Recently, I have found this piece to be very illustrative of my Junior fall. It is easy to be overly self aware at Dartmouth, and I resent myself for listening to music and thinking “wow, this is going to remind me of this term six months from now.” What are you gonna do. At any rate, give it a listen – take a step into my world.

Oct 202014

Asher Roth gave me a lot to look forward to in college. Going out on weekdays seemed like a bad idea and maybe I could try it occasionally… but every week? Not so much. I have class every day and wanted a less strenuous activity, especially since back home my Thursday nights were devoted to Scandal. We would get together and spend the hour in awe of Olivia Pope.

How was I supposed to get away with watching TV on what was supposedly the biggest party night of college? Olivia is a big wine drinker but I would not label that a kind of ‘Thirsty Thursday’.

My first Thursday night was drawing near. I had done most of my work and casually brought up Scandal. Of course, none of the friends I went to dinner with watched the show. What was I to do? Scandal was always an event back home.

That was when my blitz buzzed.

There it was, a giant flyer that said “SCANDAL, 9PM. BE THERE.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 6.55.51 PM

A TV show is a small passing time, but that night watching Scandal was so much more. Everyone in that room was as dedicated to the screen as I was and it was not like we were obsessed and wore gladiator t-shirts but at that moment I knew I had found a place here.

A lot of people are worried about the social scene here at Dartmouth, but honestly there is something for everyone. You can embrace the “I love college” scene but also find movies, gaming events, or like me a small tv room filled with 30 people wondering how someone can get away with wearing all white pant suits.

Oct 202014

I’ve been really digging this song by Drake recently because of its beats (as per usual, I never listen to a song for its lyrics, though I do appreciate that they are there), and of the many repetitive lines there’s a couplet that Drake says only three times: “Just hold on we’re going home/It’s hard to do these things alone.” Then of course, there’s that line by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, “Home is wherever I’m with you”. Place is a funny space, particularly Dartmouth as a place and my place here. It took a roundabout trip to Korea, a winter term of a lot of angst and relief, an actually interesting class spring term, and a literal climax during summer term (I actually ran up a hill and ran back down) to get me to my current place in life. Which, frankly, I’m still having trouble defining but I’m much more at peace with where I am now than where I was before. Anyway, this whole rigamarole, this eventual homecoming, would not have happened without the people who have supported me throughout. I can’t imagine ever feeling at home at Dartmouth without the people who matter most to me, which means that some terms I’m more lost than others thanks to the D Plan, but with modern technologies like the internet and phones, we can still communicate.

Even so, I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to the I LOVE DARTMOUTH thing, particularly when it comes to the rites of passage like the bonfire that, it is claimed, every Dartmouth student experiences equally. First of all, that statement is a total falsehood. Experiential equality is a myth that people like to live with because empathy’s hard. Plenty of people I know don’t like the bonfire, and plenty of people I know did NOT run around the fire freshman year. If you, dear reader, do not want to run around the fire, don’t run around the fire. If it strikes you as a little creepy and culty, you are more than welcome to pull the move of one of my friends and study during the bonfire. This was exactly what I was planning to do this past weekend until my closest friends told me that they would be in attendance, and I figured that maybe in their company I would enjoy it more (I did do my laps around the fire my freshman year, 16 of them, and the weekend was wonderful because my friend visited, but the events actually available during homecoming I found very average).

IMG_1550But… it was kinda cool! Maybe it’s because I’m comfortable where I am now, but the sense of community was pretty great near the fire. There were these alumni couples with their children and pets standing a bit farther back from the fire, I ran into one of my trippees, and my friends and I ran one lap around the fire and ate some kettle corn afterwards. The everyone running bit was scary in its group mentality, but at the same time, it was totally captivating to watch. How you get that many people to do the same thing, it’s a bit awesome.

My favorite part of this weekend though, was definitely seeing 20 people working on the field at the farm on a most beautiful Friday afternoon. 20 people!!!! And yes, we did follow up the workday with our signature pizza dinner, but it was simply amazing to see that many students who had willingly gone out of their way to help us out on the field. And so, like the majority of my posts, I end this entry with a snapshot of that glorious day:





Oct 162014


As a Texan, or “Person of Salsa” as I prefer to be addressed, I am no great fan of New England’s climate for a good two-thirds of the year. It is with clenched apprehension that I await Hanover’s mutation into an homogeneous blur of snow, what everyone else seems to think is some fantastic, Winter Wonderland scenario. It’s like some Twilight Zone episode about a bunch of kids who attend a college housed in the murky bowels of a , Godzillan snowman. I, by contrast, am accustomed dry heat, cacti and supernovan quantities of sunshine in a sky of molten blue (to borrow a lovely chromatic idiom from my top homegirl Emily Dickinson), so winter in Hanover resembles more of a hell-hole Hoth.

But it is still a matter of a few month’s time before the great icy metamorphosis, and I am enjoying Hanover during the period I do really love: the fall. The air has distinct, seasonal smells to it, there are firestorms of red fallen leaves in every direction, and the sun sinks each evening over the hill in magnificent splendor, like a fat gold cookie being dipped slowly into an earth-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Provoke by such autumnal beauty, I have taken to riding my rental bicycle around to kill time and to think. The bike is a new addition to my lifestyle and quite a good one, too. I’m living off-campus (and loving it!) and the extra minutes shaved off my commute give me great flexibility. It’s also just to move a little faster in a town where everything is so ancient and slow. Sometimes, as I rush past a flock of pedestrians, hobbling in Hunter boots at two miles per hour towards their Earth Science layup, I experience an exhilarating sensation of the quasi-supernatural; I declare to myself in my head:

“On this bike I am not a man. I am a centaur!”

Another great cycling activity is bombing around the Green listening to ‘Bicycle Race’ by Queen at full blast. This is what I was doing one day last week when I spotted one of my best friends, Edward “Crazy Eddy” Henderville. I cut across the Green, slowed down and pulled up next to him.


“Yo, what’s good, Pellowski?”

Not answering his question, I yank out my earphones and announce:

“All the little people of the world, like mosquitoes caught in eddies too large to comprehend, pursuing vain dreams and stalking empty loves: they will never know anything like True Happiness until they ride a bicycle while listening to Bicycle race by Queen.”

Before he can utter a word, I re-insert the earphones and speed off, confident that I have impart some hefty wisdom upon my friend as I coast homeward, bouncing up and down and singing along to the chorus: “BICYCLE! BICYCLE! BICYCLE! BICYCLE!”

Of course, this is all therapy designed to mitigate some deeper despair. As a senior, for the first time in my life I don’t know what I’m doing next year. The near future stretches out before my like a gaping chasm, full of darkness and ice and howling befanged ghosts. I see my brother, Class of 2018, having a great time during his first fall at Dartmouth while I cling to every hour of every day of my last.

It’s freaky how I feel simultaneously like freshman year was forever ago but also still feel like I just got here… and am totally emotionally unprepared to leave. Every square foot of this campus has some memory attached to it, both pleasant and painful. But when will be the last time I remember those memories? When will be the last time I walk down the steps of Reed Hall? When will be the last time I turn off an explored road and find myself face to face with a ten-mile view over a stained-glass valley of pines and flashing river light?

I’m almost inclined to do some stupid romantic thing like plant a time capsule in the BEMA containing a copy of Plato’s Euthyphro, a scarf, the a cappella sheet music to Footloose, a Keystone Light and buffalo tender queso from the HOP. Then, in some surrogate, symbolic way, I would never have to leave. For little part of AP’15—the part I didn’t have when I first stepped into Russell Sage 109 back in 2012—that little part would remain.


Oct 142014
2014-09-28 12.37.03

2014-09-28 12.37.03My first reaction upon arriving to the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge on the morning of October 4th was assuredly expletive filled and incoherent, but it probably boiled down to “It’s about time.” Of course, I can only guess as to this, seeing as the contents of my brain from 6AM-1PM that morning were best represented as a Jackson Pollack painting. My second, and much more delayed, reaction to this arrival was a strange sort of hunger. I hadn’t died, I hadn’t broken a bone, I hadn’t even gotten a blister. It’s inappropriate and probably a little demeaning to the 13 people who did not finish, but I couldn’t help but thinking, “what’s next?” Which I suppose is one of the numerous possible reactions one could have to hiking for 25 hours straight through the night to get from point A to point B.

The 50 is a time honored Dartmouth tradition that I have written about before. Groups of four sign up for a lottery, and 8 teams are selected to hike (32 total hikers). This fall, I decided to do the famed death march that starts at Robinson Hall, summits 6 mountains, and arrives 53.6 miles later at the Dartmouth owned Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (known simply as ‘the Lodge’). Seeing as this was right around the time of the fall equinox (based on the number of werewolf sightings during the night), the hike contained a 12 hour segment in the dark. There were many highlights from this period. When we started our ascent up Mt. Smarts, you better believe we had Eminem going at full volume feeling like we were about to storm the walls of Helm’s Deep. And on the way down Mt. Cube, we blasted the first book of Harry Potter on audiobook as if we were about to storm the walls of my mom’s mini van. And there was that moment when we thought that we might literally have found Hell when we reached the road at 3:30 in the morning and it was so pitch black that when we turned our headlamps off we couldn’t see our hands. There was only the unrelenting pain in our feet and knees. At 8AM, one of my friends hiking on my team said that he was relieved. I asked why. He said it was because he thought he was finally going crazy, and that meant his brain was doing something to cope with the pain, which was evidently a good sign. I couldn’t really work out what he was saying. I was too busy swimming in a sea of jelly beans.

2014-09-28 12.37.44

3/4 of the group on a training hike

There are a lot of canned answers you get about things at Dartmouth. “How was your freshman trip?” Great! “How was your FSP” Wonderful! “How was sophomore summer?” Sunny! In reality, these things are all very complex and warrant long and reflective answers, but you have about 47 seconds standing in line before it is your turn to order, and you wont be able to rehearse what you are going to ask for in your head if you are seriously reflecting on your experiences. There isn’t really a canned response for hiking the 50 (only 32 people set out to do it twice a year), but if there were it would probably go like: “How was the 50” Terrible! I don’t know why people do it! I personally have never been more stumped by small talk than I am by that question. Am I allowed to say, “It sucked, I guess, but it was also great. I want to do it again?” The question mark indicates an upward inflection rather than an actual question (other people rarely have the answers to questions you ask yourself). It’s hard to process an experience when you are progressively losing your mind as it gets more interesting. The sucky parts definitely sucked. Miles 42-44 felt like I was walking in circles, and I could have sworn the forest was mocking me with its colors. There was a distinct point when I almost got in a fist fight with Mount Moosilauke over the sheer audacity of its final uphill. But I never for a second doubted that I would finish, and that gave me pause. How much further could we have gone? There are two things about the 50 that are so indescribably great that I can’t imagine that I only got to experience them in those 25 hours and 47 minutes of my entire life.

2014-09-28 12.37.03

  1. Getting supported by my friends for a meaningless task, merely because I had set out to do that meaningless task:

Every 10 miles, I was shepherded to comfy seats with hot drinks and food while eager pre-med students took my boots off and anxiously searched for blisters. Maybe its just me enjoying luxury, but it is just awesome to feel the full support and enthusiasm for upwards of 60 people who want you to finish. I think Dartmouth has a special capacity for generating these sort of people/this type of experience.


  1. Accomplishing something immensely dumb and dangerous with a team of my closest friends

Doing the 50 is a weird and circuitous way of expressing camaraderie and friendship in the form of “how the hell are we going to get up that mountain?” We all were in the same place when the gradients got steep, when the moon set, when the fog descended; we went through the same hell together. Conversely, we were there together when the sun rose and we remembered how beautiful the New England colors were (I wish I were exaggerating when I say I remembered that the forest had color at all). We were there at every support station (which is the psychological equivalent of a particularly fun holiday, maybe Halloween). We were there when we passed people at the top of Mount Moosilauke and they asked us where we were coming from and we said defiantly “Hanover.” And then they looked as us weird because we smelled bad and were empirically insane and they probably didn’t believe us. These two things are so wonderful, and the sense of accomplishment is so strong, that I want to do the 50 again. Except not literally – the 50 at this point is a metaphor for fun suffering (keep up). So I guess all that’s left is the question, “What’s next?”

Smiles only go so far to mask the existential pain.

Smiles only go so far to mask the existential pain.

Couldn't move my legs for a minute.

Couldn’t move my legs for a minute.

At the lodge, trying to reach back to Hanover

At the lodge, trying to reach back to Hanover

Optimism at mile 10

Optimism at mile 10