Feb 022015

It’s currently snowing. Oh, snow, you….

Usually, I’m really put off by snow during the winter, but to my surprise I am extremely excited that we’re able to get a couple of inches right before Winter Carnival!

What’s that you ask? We have a carnival during the winters? Yeah, we do! 

Dartmouth has a big celebratory weekend every term (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer). It’s usually a time for joy and laughter and all the good wholesome festivities one can imagine.

One of my personal favorites is the Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture.

That’s right, current undergraduate students join together with engineering students at Thayer to construct a huge snow sculpture relating to each year’s different theme. The sculpture is not unveiled until the beginning of Winter Carnival, so I am anxiously awaiting its reveal as I type this.

Last year’s sculpture was Game of Thrones themed.



Dartmouth students get pretty creative with these sculptures. My freshman year, it was a cupcake. My favorite was created when I wasn’t here. It’s a CASTLE. That’s right, a castle.


Needless to say, the more snow falls, the bigger and better sculpture we have. With this year’s theme being “Superheroes and Villains”, I’m hoping for something big and awesome.


Jan 312015

Let me be the first one to tell all you Prospective and Early Decision students that college is HARDER than high school. No, but seriously, it’s hard. You will no longer be able to do your spanish homework in the hallways on your way to class or skip studying for exam because you think you paid enough attention in class. NEWSFLASH: everyone studies here and most people actually enjoy it and go above and beyond what is required of a course (they’re still considered overachievers, so no worries there).

Dartmouth, for me and for a lot of students who are here, was definitely a transition. On top of going to class for 9-11 hours a week, you have extracurriculars, homework, personal time, meals, friends, and distractions around every corner. My biggest advice is to establish good study habits and stay on top of your reading from the get-go.

If you don’t know how to or want help figuring your life out, Dartmouth has lots of organizations, people and departments that were built to help you succeed! So let’s run down some of the more important ones!

1. Academic Skills Center (ASC)- This place provides everything and anything you need to succeed academically. The Academic Skills Center is home to the Tutor Clearinghouse which offers a variety of study help. From conversation partners in whatever language you’re learning to private tutors for any subject, they do their best to match you up with someone who is best going to help you achieve your goals. The ASC also offers one-on-one academic coaching with Dartmouth Staff to help you create a personalized list of goals, a study plan, and regular check-ins. Or if you’re more into group studying, bigger introduction courses (like Economics 1 or Math 3) will have study groups set up by professors through the Tutor Clearinghouse so that students can sign up. All students hired by the ASC have earned high grades in their classes or are fluent in the language they are teaching. And on top of that, if you’re on financial aid, your costs will be covered!

2. You Professors- Have a question on something covered in class? Who better to explain it to you than the person who is an expert on the subject and will be testing you! All Dartmouth professors hold open office hours on a weekly basis. You can go and ask questions or just go and introduce yourself! They are all really excited to meet their students and very helpful.

3. RWIT Institute for Writing and Rhetoric - RWIT is the best resource for anyone who needs help with a paper! From scientific reports to creative writing to research papers, these students have been trained to help your organize and

The best advice I can give is to reserve your appointment as far in advance as you can.

4. Undergraduate Deans Office - Upon enrolling, based on where you live, you will be assigned a Dean. He/She is there to provide you with guidance and support in all aspects. They’re like your high school guidance counselor! I’ve gone in to talk about what classes I should take and how to solve relationship problems. They make for great listeners and are a good place to get questions asked and problems solved. They’re also the person who can give you certain permissions to move around your schedule! The Deans office also has DOSCs (Deans Office Student Consults). Hand-picked by the Deans, these seniors are trained to assist you when the Deans aren’t around. So when you find yourself freaking out about what classes to take at 10 pm with a midnight deadline, you can pop on right over to wherever they’re set up in the library and ask them for help.

5. Your Undergraduate Advisor (UGA)- the upperclassman who lives on your floor. UGAs are a great resource and have chosen to offer themselves as such. They are trained on a weekly basis and kept up to date on what residents should know. Even if they don’t personally know the answer, chances are they know where to refer you to!

Being in college is going to be challenging in many ways. Luckily, Dartmouth College really cares about making sure you transition well and continue to do well academically! You have all of these wonderful resources at your disposal. My biggest suggestion is to just: use them!

Feel free to ask questions below!


Jan 302015



I entered into college knowing I wanted to be an Econ major, but had no idea what area I wanted to specialize in or what exactly I wanted to do with it.

Economics is one of Dartmouth’s largest departments, graduating about 200 students a year (15% of each class). Surprisingly, however, Dartmouth Econ classes all have caps of 35 or less and are all taught by professors, not TAs.

Economics can be applied with many different disciplines and you’ll often see students modifying the major with another discipline that suits their interests. There are students who combine it with biology, computer science, and many other areas. For me, I am interested in behavioral economics and decided to be an Econ major with a Psychology minor.

The Economics department offers study abroad opportunities through exchange programs to Bocconi University in Milan, Italy and to Keble College, Oxford University in London.

While there are many students in the department, I never felt forgotten by the faculty. Every Econ professor I have had has taken their time to remember my name and are always a great source of information about opportunities to further my studies.


Jan 282015

People are often surprised (and even confused) when I tell them that I’m double majoring in Romance Languages and Native American Studies, modified with Global Health.

What a mouthful.

The truth is, with a liberal arts education like Dartmouth’s you can combine any set of academic fields and make it work. I’m interested in working in Indigenous healthcare, both in the US and abroad. So my three fields of study really do overlap.

I’ve found a lot of flexibility with modifying one’s major at Dartmouth. Most majors require about 10 courses in the respective department. When you modify, you usually take about 6 major courses and 4 courses in the area of modification. In my case, I have taken predominantly Native American Studies courses and a handful of courses that pertain to Global Health.

Romance Languages was the perfect solution to a small problem I had my freshman year. I studied Spanish in high school but always wanted to learn French. But in the process of studying French, I didn’t want to lose my knowledge of Spanish. Catch 22.
Then I found out that you can major in both! When studying Romance Languages, you focus 2 of the 4 languages offered (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese). It’s really fun to be able to learn multiple languages, which is really easy to do here because of our unique Drill Method.

I know people who are combining Chemistry with Digital Arts and Economics with Arabic. College is the only time to be able to explore your passions. When you get there, don’t be afraid to study what you want rather than what you think you should. Why waste time with something that doesn’t inspire you?

Jan 272015

I would say as an introvert-at-heart that has become surprisingly social while at college, the groups and organizations of people you choose to be involved with on-campus offer some of the most wonderful experiences you will have! The Native American community at Dartmouth has offered me a space to grow, laugh, and feel like even though life is still a big mystery and I have yet to choose a major (So many choices!!), that I am valid and headed in the right direction. Make sure to to be open-minded and excited about what you choose to involve yourself in on campus as it is your time to explore.

Everyone enjoying a traditional Potawatomi dinner cooked by Corinne Kasper '17

Everyone enjoying a traditional Potawatomi dinner cooked by Corinne Kasper ’17

Think about what YOUR ideal space is and where you naturally feel most comfortable. Having people to look up to who will help you explore your identity and navigate your college experience is something crucial to look for, but also something that is honestly not hard to find at all on campus! It sounds extremely cheesy but just be YOU, and you will come across a place that fits perfectly and makes you feel whole.

Some of our Dartmouth representatives at the Yale All-Ivy Native Council Conference.

Some of our Dartmouth representatives at the Yale All-Ivy Native Council Conference.

Aside from the presence of a safe space and great role models, some of my favorite memories as a member of Native Americans at Dartmouth have been through networking opportunities sponsored by the group that I would have otherwise never found by myself. This included interning for the College Horizons program over the summer and attending the All-Ivy Native Council at Yale University. Native Americans at Dartmouth has all around been a wonderful part of my college career and is helping me build the future I want for myself.
NAD representatives bonding at the All-Ivy Native Council last Fall.

NAD representatives bonding at the All-Ivy Native Council last Fall.

Jan 262015

It started in the 6th grade. My obsession with Grey’s Anatomy, that is. Since then, my childhood dreams and desires were to mirror those of Dr. Cristina Yang, future cardiothoracic surgeon, or even a neurosurgeon. Point is, I really wanted to be a doctor for a long time, mostly to help people and save lives, but also to rock a white lab coat all hours of the day and feel great while doing so. Since that moment, my entire academic trajectory changed. I lived, breathed, and ate medicine. I participated in as many science clubs I could (shout out to MESA), and even enrolled in a medical magnet high school, in which I found myself interning at a hospital my junior year.

Then I got to college.

Dartmouth opened my eyes to so many great areas of study that did not involve medicine or science. I began taking courses in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies department, and the Geography department (the best in all the Ivies!). Slowly, I began to gain more interest in these two departments than anything else. The majority of my classes were centered around AMES and Geography. What was happening to me? I needed to strongly reflect on my future and decide whether or not I even wanted to be Cristina anymore.

I was scared. I invested so much of myself into pursuing medicine, that I was afraid of letting it go. What future would I hold now? It took about a year and a half of my college career to finally put my dream of being a doctor to rest. I realized that my reason as to why I wanted to become a doctor (ie helping people, creating access to health for people who lack it, etc) could be done without going to medical school. My heart lies in being of service to others, but there are so may paths available to do that. So I dropped it. I started taking more classes in Geography. I started learning more about social injustices and inequalities. I started becoming more and more inspired to address these disparities.

My point is that you shouldn’t be afraid to explore. Don’t be angry at yourself for changing your major once, or even three times. Some people enter knowing what they want to major in, and some don’t. Most change their mind more than once, and that’s okay. Honestly, just take classes that interest you, and everything will sort itself out!

Jan 242015

Throughout high school, I was an avid debater. Every week, I would spend countless hours at practice, researching bills, and prepping speeches for Saturday tournaments. I absolutely loved it, and as a result that was “my thing” for four years. When I first got to Dartmouth, I realized I no longer had that and started looking for something to fill my time. I contemplated between joining the debate team or trying out for Mock Trial Team. I ended up choosing the latter and embarked on catching up on the style that many people had spent 4 years learning in high school. Don’t let this stop you from trying out. I had NO experience with Mock Trial and still made the team!

The first couple weeks of practice were a steep learning curve since there were formats to memorize, boatloads of things to read and people to meet. Once things settled down and we started writing and preparing for our first tournament, that’s when things got interesting.

The team messing around in between rounds.

The team messing around in between rounds.

The team typically travels to one tournament a term (for a total of 3-4 a year) and always does very well!

2013-2014 Team at UNH!

2013-2014 Team at UNH!


For those of you who have done mock trial in the past, be warned that the college style is different and even more fun!

Lawyer taking on a witness at UNH

Lawyer taking on a witness at UNH


If you want more information about the team feel free to check out their website and Facebook:



If you’re looking for a fun, public speaking outlet or even just want to act and take on the role of witnesses, the mock trial team at Dartmouth is a fantastic way to explore and keep your skills sharp! And as always, feel free to reach out to the team or to me directly! Comment below with any questions. Until next time :)

darmtouth mock trial join us

Jan 212015

I primarily decided to come to Dartmouth for its large Native student population. I knew that I wanted to be part of a community that would support me academically, socially, and culturally – especially at a school that is so far away from my home state of California and tribal community in Virginia.


Founded in the early 1970s after the recommitment of the College to its founding principle (educating Native youth), Native Americans at Dartmouth (NAD) has become the center of the Native life on campus. Officially NAD aims to provide a voice for indigenous experiences and concerns, as well as to facilitate relationship-building between community members. From putting on informal events like community dinners and study breaks to organizing discussions with faculty and visitors to campus, we really try to engage with one another in all regards. We have many students in our community who are non-Native and we welcome the opportunity to teach other Dartmouth students about our cultures and perspectives.

The Native American House is the unofficial headquarters of NAD. I can go there at any time of day to find friends, eat leftover food, or even take naps. And I’ve had many impromptu sleep-overs with friends and classmates there during finals and reading periods…

Native American House

NAD also hosts the Dartmouth Powwow that takes place every Mother’s Day Weekend (Saturday & Sunday) on the Green, a very central and visible space on campus. It’s the second largest student-run powwow on the East Coast and is, in my opinion, one of the most important events that takes place at Dartmouth. The Powwow Committee works hard all year-round to put everything together. It is definitely not something to miss!

Dartmouth Powwow

There are a handful of “sub-groups” within NAD that have special focuses like the Occom Pond Singers (drum group), Native Dancing Society (powwow dancing), Indigenous Living Languages (focused on language revitalization), First Voices (publication focused on indigenous issues), and many more!

Occom Pond Singers

NAD is essentially the glue that keeps the Native community together, providing forums to interact with each other and explore all kinds of areas (cultural, academic, political, etc.). It has truly given me a family and a home away from home. I cannot imagine my time at Dartmouth without this community.

Jan 192015

Hello there, incredible smart and talented applicants!


In just a short time, you will be starting your college career at what I believe will be a great institution for you, Dartmouth or otherwise.


Luckily, I found a great home at Dartmouth, but the application and admission process can be quite taxing. It causes you to constantly wonder whether or not you are “good enough”. Trust and believe that regardless of the decision, you and your application impressed the Admissions Officers at Dartmouth. The fact that you even chose to apply to Dartmouth showcases your bravery, drive, and determination. Here are 3 tips I recommend for dealing with a declined or rejected offer of admission. Best of luck!


Kevin Gillespie ‘15


  1. When one door closes many more can open


Remember that you are very smart and very talented. You have spent your entire life thus far proving exactly the aforementioned. Many colleges and universities will be impressed with what you offer to their community and their incoming class. If Dartmouth says “no”, just think of how many more schools now have the chance to say “yes”. Talk to your counselors, friends, family, mentors, etc. about where you should apply now. While Dartmouth hones incredible leaders and intellectuals, many institutions do the same. New doors are now wide open for you–now you have to dare to enter.


  1. Remember that you are more than your application

Though your application may be a summary of your hard work, it is certainly not the end all. Scores, grades, and accomplishments are only part of your story. When you begin the process of applying elsewhere, be sure to showcase as much about you as possible. I often find that the students who tend to be admitted do well at this. Treat your application as a story you want to tell. Something compelling, heartfelt, and colorful. Crafting such an application goes far beyond the paper form itself. Show your inner picasso or einstein. You are truly incredible. Now is your time to shine even brighter than before.

  1. Have fun



Remember that elementary school you? Yeah, the kid that didn’t think much about college,  jobs, research, or Model UN?  Remember to be this person. College is so much fun! You are about to have what may very well be the funnest time of your young life. Dartmouth may have been the platform for said fun, but even if it isn’t, all hope is not lost. College is more than a new start to the awesome resume you’ll build in the next four years–it’s the place where you’ll make new friends, interact with incredible professors, and build an incredible you! More so, don’t forget that you are finishing your last year of grade school. Create memories that will last a lifetime and remember that the college admissions process is only part of that.

Well, I hope these few tips help you to relax and recall how epic of a human being you are. The answer from Dartmouth may be “no”, but the fun, crazy, and overly engaging moments you hope to have are still straight ahead!

Jan 192015

Never having the privilege of exploring places outside of my hometown of Los Angeles left a hunger in me to explore the unknown. Right out of high school, that unknown was the small town of Hanover. Upon my admittance I couldn’t wait to explore all the things Dartmouth had to offer. However, I was left with this deep fear of the winter. How would I survive the below freezing climates?

I’ll never forget the day I first saw snow. I was in my freshman writing course and snowflakes began to fall from the sky. It seemed as if I wasn’t the only one who had never seen snow, because the professor let us go outside and touch it. In retrospect, I laugh at how excited I was to touch the few snowflakes that fell on my hand. Once the snow stopped falling (you could barely call it snow), fear struck me. How would I survive??

I immediately bought hundred dollar snow boots, invested in heavy sweaters and socks, and bought too many pairs of thermals that are now sitting in a box in storage. After living in 3 Northeastern winters, I think it’s safe to say I know how to maneuver my way around them. I’ll now be addressing some worries I had as a tropical-climate-loving person, and how I was able to stay warm and still enjoy Hanover winters.

1) I’ve heard it gets to -20F.

The short answer is yes, and sometimes it can be colder. Currently, it’s 26F and I praised the climate gods for giving us some warmth. Coming from a city where it’s always 70-80F, I never thought I’d be happy for weather in the high 20s. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t get scared! Although it’s cold, the buildings are heated pretty well, and the only time I ever spend outside is when I’m walking to class, for food, going to the gym, or participating in certain activities that require snow. So even though it’s -20F sometimes, it’s not like you’re reading on the Green in -20F (unless you’re into that sort of thing).

2) But -20F is still cold.

Yeah, I get it. Even if you are inside 90% of the time, there’s a high chance you’ll have to leave your room for food at some point. From my experience, average winter days are usually from 0-25F, increasing in heat towards the end of the term. It’s honestly not as bad as you think. Once you’re armed with the proper gear, you rarely ever feel the effects of it.

3) What do you mean “once I’m armed?”

Well, living in this season requires preparation. You don’t expect you’ll wear a light sweater and have that keep you warm, do you? I know I was never used to the thought of layers, and they felt uncomfortable when I first began layering my clothes. Now, I can only think in terms of layers, even in the Spring when I don’t have to layer ever. Thanks, Hanover.

To be completely serious though, if you properly layer, you’ll be fine. The key is to have many layers of warm clothing you can peel off as you get hot. As I mentioned earlier, the buildings are heated pretty well, and you’ll begin to sweat once you enter a classroom. Layers for me include an undershirt as a base, a sweater on top, and then my big heavy coat. Sometimes, I even wear leggings under my jeans if I deem it necessary. It really all depends on your tolerance but I find that two to three layers of clothing is right for me.

4) Help. I was only going to pack cardigans and Vans.

Worry not! Speaking from someone who invested hundreds of dollars into unused “heavy duty” winter clothing items, I’m here to suggest affordable, reliable, and durable essential items for the fall.

You will need boots. There’s no other way around it. I personally invested in LL Bean Boots*, which, if admitted, you’ll find that lots of students own here. They’re durable (I’ve only had one pair my entire time here), and have a lifetime warranty.

Any sort of heavy duty boots will do. I know people go as far as to invest in Sorel Snow Boots which are about $125, to $25 combat boots. As long as you have a pair of water-resistant boots, you’ll be fine because the next item will keep you warm.

*I am not being sponsored to say any of this but if LL Bean wants to sponsor me I would not not let them, you know?

Wool, to be specific. If you’re anything like me I didn’t even know this was a thing. Wool socks will keep your feet warm because they lock in heat. As long as you have wool socks, you should be fine with any pair of boots.

Gloves, Hats, Scarves
Optional, but better if you have them. Really any will do as long as you have some sort of protection on your hands. Hats can be a must if your jacket doesn’t have a hood. If you still feel a little wary (I wanted to buy a ski mask my freshman year before winter) I would suggest the rather-safe-than-sorry method of buying a hat. I  personally am more of a scarf person. I have dozens of scarves in my room ranging in thickness and material. I find that my thicker scarves keep my super warm when walking outside. Get some scarves, or if you’re like me, crochet and knit your own!

You only need one, really great jacket to keep you warm for the winter. Some people go as far as investing hundreds of dollars into theirs. I’ve realized it never has to be that expensive. For me, my favorite winter coat is a large down jacket. The feathers in a down jacket make sure to retain heat and is part of the reason why I feel comfortable enough wearing only 2 layers sometimes.


That’s about it. Really, I’m not joking. These are some essential items to keep you feeling nice and toasty. Toasty enough to even explore outside! The really great part of Winter at Dartmouth is the opportunity to partake in snow-filled activities. That’s honestly the best way to fully enjoy the winter. You can go ice-skating on Occom Pond, have a snowball fight between friends, or even go skiing. The possibilities are endless and you’ll find yourself wanting to participate in these activities more so than actually staying inside your room.