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 282014
 

First and foremost, congratulations to the Dartmouth Class of 2018!  Your hard work has paid off and we couldn’t be any more proud of you.  Even though you’re objectively the worst class ever, we’re pretty impressed.

It’s gonna be hard to say something that the rest of the bloggers haven’t already covered, so I’ll keep this brief.  Dartmouth is real, it’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way.  And you’re gonna rock it.

Taylor Swift did not go to Dartmouth, but she probably would have written some good songs about it.

Due to a combination of factors (impending graduation, fundraising for the senior class gift, writing this blog post, watching “Garden State”) I’ve been pretty nostalgic lately.  And I couldn’t be happier about that.  I’ve made memories strong enough to last me until now.  I have something that makes it hard to say goodbye.  So I guess that’s the best advice I can give you – spend the rest of high school making some memories that will make it hard to say goodbye (or at least give you good stories when you get to college).

South Park describes my life disconcertingly well.

You’re on the verge of one of the biggest steps in your life – enjoy it.  Seriously, don’t overthink it.  Do what feels right when you’re making your college pick.  You’ll be ok.

One of my favorite parts of “Garden State” is when Natalie Portman tells Zach Braff that he needs to do something ridiculous because “…this is your one opportunity to do something that no one has ever done before and that no one will copy throughout human existence. And if nothing else, you will be remembered as the one guy who ever did this…”  Nobody else is going to take the same path through Dartmouth that you do, so all you can do is make it count.  Of course, don’t worry too much about making yourself unique, you already will be.  The biggest realization I had during my freshman year was that I spent so much time trying to figure out who I wanted to be that I forgot to be myself.  (It was also the most cliche moment of my life.)

Anyway, congratulations again.  Enjoy senior spring.  Come to Dimensions.  I’ll get a meal with you.  I’m not kidding, email me at sjd@dartmouth.edu and say you read this on my admissions blog.  I will be so happy that people actually read this that I’ll probably buy you a cookie or something.  Most of all, welcome home.