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

Colors!

Colors!

Mar 132014
 

20140312_175407

 

Just as the weather was warming up a little here in Hanover, a blizzard hit and rendered Dartmouth Winter W onderland again. Say what you will about the cold, but snow- in good times- can mean adventure.

I say good times because the academic term just ended, and the snow storm hit while I was leaving my last final for the term.

Finals are stressful anywhere I suppose, but perhaps more so here because the terms are only 10 weeks long and it always feels like there isn’t enough time to study. That said, a lot gets done to ensure that you don’t get too over your head; study groups, study breaks, and q and a sessions are organized by various offices… My chem prof got us clementines during our chem final- so we won’t “get vitamin c deficiency in case we get stranded in the classroom!”.
In any case, back to my earlier point, being done with finals feels great! And then when the storm started, a few friends who were also done with finals and I headed over to the BEMA and then the golf course to sled. Super cold, snow was too thick, but was so great to be able to go outside and enjoy the nature that the Dartmouth campus offers.

Next post will be about spring term! They go by so fast :(

 

20140308_101537

Jan 122014
 

First post!

 Posted by at 3:03 am  No Responses »
Sep 112013
 

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!

Morning Yoga with at my DOC trip

Morning Yoga with at my DOC trip

 

Some class of 17 love!

Some class of 17 love!

Aug 282013
 
Baker Library

Baker Library

Visit Dartmouth during New England’s most spectacular season.

From October through November, we are offering a number of opportunities for prospective students and their families. Please check out the details below and remember to RSVP! Questions? Contact us via email.

October
Join us for an information session and campus tour Monday-Saturday.

  • Monday-Friday: We’re offering twice-daily information sessions and campus tours. RSVP today.
  • Saturdays
    • Oct. 5, 19 & 26 – Prospective students are encouraged to arrive early (10:30 a.m.) for a student forum where they can interact with current Dartmouth students and get answers to their most pressing college questions. After the student forum, everyone is invited to the regularly scheduled information session @ 11:15 a.m. followed by the campus tour @ Noon. RSVP here.
  • Saturday & Monday
    • Oct. 12 & 14 – Join us Homecoming Weekend for our special information sessions featuring a blend of Dartmouth faculty, admissions staff and students. Additional details coming soon. RSVP here.
  • November
    Join us for an information session and campus tour Monday-Saturday.

    • Monday-Friday: We’re offering twice-daily information sessions and campus tours. RSVP today.
    • Saturdays
      • Nov. 2, & 16 – Prospective students are encouraged to arrive early (10:30 a.m.) for a student forum where they can interact with current Dartmouth students and get answers to their most pressing college questions. After the student forum, everyone is invited to the regularly scheduled information session @ 11:15 a.m. followed by the campus tour @ Noon. RSVP here.
    • Saturday & Monday
      • Nov. 9 & 11 – Join us for Veteran’s Weekend and our special information sessions featuring a blend of Dartmouth faculty, admissions staff and students. Additional details coming soon. RSVP here.
    Dec 062012
     

    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!

     

    Oct 072012
     
    Autumn at Mink Brook

    Changing colors signal the end of summer and the start of fall term chaos.

    Compared to the summer term, when many of my extracurricular commitments were dormant for the quarter, there’s a frantic energy that arrives with the new faces and exhausting enthusiasm of the freshman class and the crispening air of autumn breezes. Gone are the days of Sophomore Summer when I could walk through the Collis dining hall and order my post-run smoothie without having to wait in line. However, the constant buzz of energized students really does help me stay motivated. Right now, I’m thrilled about all of the extracurriculars I’m involved in. Even though there’s a secret part of me that senses I might be overcommitted, I’m still enthralled with my commitments in a type of pre-midterms honeymoon phase. Currently, my extracurriculars include:

    1)   working as a UGA. This is essentially an RA position, but Dartmouthspeak insists on its own vernacular, and so I am an Undergradudate Advisor instead. I am partly responsible for the well-being of 35 upperclass residents living in Andres, which is part of the East Wheelock housing cluster. My favorite part is organizing events for my residents—yesterday we had a movie night and tomorrow we’ll be going for a short hike.

    2)   Students Fighting Hunger. During the summer term I was the organization chair, but luckily I have 3 other co-chairs this term. This organization plans and cooks a community dinner for low-income individuals every Friday evening. My favorite part is when we get to sit down to eat with our regular attendees and chat. It’s a great way to get out of the “Dartmouth bubble” and get to know local residents.

    3)   Multi-Faith Council. This group meets once every week (over a free dinner) to discuss a different topic related to faith and spirituality. Some of my most meaningful discussions at Dartmouth have taken place here, listening to my Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Atheist friends, among others, talk about their faith journeys and perspectives.

    4)   DCGHSE (Dartmouth Coalition for Global Health and Social Equity). This group meets once per week to discuss current issues relating to global health. Every week there is a different student presentation on a project or experience on a health-related issue and a subsequent discussion. I’ve learned tons regarding issues of sustainable development, HIV/AIDS, microlending, technology and medicine, and healthcare in general. I love that the group is super interdisciplinary—it’s not all pre-meds, by any means.

    5)   Project Preservation. This was initially a short-term venture in which I attended weekly training sessions to prepare for a trip to Poland to restore a Jewish cemetery that had been abandoned during the Holocaust. After having an incredible experience there, I am now doing research on the town that we visited, Korczyna, and am trying to piece together a better understanding of the Jewish community in the town preceding the events of the Holocaust.

    6)  Fostering Hope. This is a new organization that my friend Alice and I are in the process of organizing, in which we plan to work with local foster youth and spread awareness regarding at-risk youth including orphans and vulnerable children both domestically and abroad.

    7) LDSSA (Latter-Day Saint Student Association). As a member of my church community, I’m involved in the social organization of my LDS church group. We meet together for church, Institute—an academic bible study program, and once a week for what we call Family Home Evening—mostly an excuse to hang out and chill for a bit. We also have an intramural soccer team this term—yes, we’re the Stormin’ Mormons. And yes, we got slaughtered by the Matholes. No shame. Well, maybe a little….

    8)   I also babysit once per week for a parent support group at DHMC (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center), which is fantastic because I get to escape the library by watching Disney movies and entertaining kids with finger puppets and crayons. :)

    So after reading through all of this, I realized this kind of sounds like a resume, which was not my intention AT ALL. While you should realize that there will be plenty of Dartmouth kids who will tell you that LinkedIn is the new Facebook, that’s not really my style. The point I’m trying to make is that there are sooo many incredible opportunities to engage with topics and questions you’re interested in outside class—and even though this sounds cliché, I’m confident that if you open yourself up to the incredible opportunities waiting all around you, you’ll learn more at Dartmouth than you ever imagined, both inside and outside the classroom.

    More blog entries to come! I promise!

     

     

    Jul 062012
     

    At the Ledyard Canoe Club on the Connecticut River. Photo courtesy the Dartmouth Flickr Photostream.

    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!

    Jan 042012
     

    My sidekicks during the winter months.

    Classes start really late for me today, so I thought I would load a quick post. I’m a little anxious to get back into the swing of classwork, especially since I’m taking harder courses this term. I’m very satisfied with my schedule because my classes are fairly small and there will be a lot of participation involved. However, the most pressing item on my mental agenda for today is plotting my “path of least cold”.

    When my friends left for classes this morning, they stepped outside into 1 degree (F) weather. It’s supposed to reach a high of 15 degrees today. Needless to say, I’m plotting my activities for the day to minimize time outside. It’s really a pity that the 40 degree weather that Hanover had a couple days ago disappeared the moment everyone came back to campus. Anyways, I suppose I should be readying myself for class instead of sitting on my bed being wistful.

    The nice thing is that, as I sit on my bed typing this post and planning out my day, I’m enjoying some balmy conditions inside. The dorms are kept toasty – warm enough that I sometimes wear shorts and sandals inside.  Most of the time, I feel like it’s spring. Essentially, I’m only preparing to face the cold for a combined 20 minutes of walking over the course of the entire day.

    But, back to my checklist: Hat – check. Gloves – check. Huge jacket – check. Wool socks – check. And I’ve never worn a scarf before, but I assure you, I will be wearing one today. It’s kind of exciting to break out all my heavy winter gear. I’m off now, with plan formulated in my head.

    Happy New Year everyone!  This year is definitely starting differently for me, and I hope it will be a great one for the both of us.

    Dec 022011
     

    Being an international student, I wasn’t able to go home for Thanksgiving. Spending 20+hours in a plane and at airports, with 6 hours jetlag each way, for only a five day break is a little excessive for a holiday that my family doesn’t even celebrate. This term I have been lucky enough to make some great friends on my freshman floor. When you are all up at 2 am frantically trying to finish a paper for some class or another, there is some serious bonding! One of my friends on my floor is actually from Hanover and her family invited me to spend Thanksgiving break in their home.

    My last two years of high school were spent at a boarding school which was an amazing experience but certainly made me appreciate time spent in a real home – away from the dorms. After 9 weeks of classes, it was so nice to be in a bedroom with a proper bathroom and a house just to relax in. Being about a mile from campus, it was so easy to get to Baker (the library) to get any books I needed for my work but it also meant that I was off campus for a while – without having to go very far. Dartmouth is fantastic but it is a very intense experience and it’s good to remember that breaks every now and then to rejuvenate are necessary. This one definitely renewed my energy! Thanksgiving was amazing (SUCH GOOD FOOD) and we went on one or two fabulous adventures (involving black Friday shopping, building a snowturkey and baking lots and lots of pie!).

    Next year, the calendar is changing so Thanksgiving is actually at that beginning of the winter break, but I think I will definitely stick around for another Thanksgiving holiday before heading off home for Christmas!