Sep 112012
 

Every Fall at Dartmouth, I’m reminded just how old I am.  As I walk around the beautiful Green, I hear the classic flair, loud music blasting and seemingly clueless ’16s wandering around!  And that’s when it hits me – I’m a junior!  In a way, Fall symbolizes a period of renewal.  It’s an exciting time to be sure — everybody coming back to campus after a lengthy break (except for the sophomores over summer!) and life at the Big Green continues.

Not for me, though. For me, Fall 2012 is something new, something exciting. With three other guys and a vision, I am finally taking the Fall off to launch a start-up with $16,500 in capital raised from the Dartmouth Entrepreneurship Competition (if you’re curious, see here http://thedartmouth.com/2012/04/06/news/des). With an early prototype engineered and our value hypotheses validated, we’re currently pursuing different techniques to tighten the validated learning feedback loop between customers and our start-up. Ultimately, whether the start-up succeeds or fails by conventional metrics of valuation is personally irrelevant. In my mind, success stems from personal growth and evolution. What really finalized this decision to pursue the start-up path was the realization that as someone with a vision and capital, I really had nothing to lose and everything to gain!

So Fall still, to me, is a renewal in some senses.

Feb 272012
 

Hairspray Stage Performance

Yesterday, I went to see the finale of Hairspray, the Theatre Department’s winter production.  I hadn’t heard of the play before, but I can now say I love it.  The cast was simply stunning, and they had such a bubbly energy even after two hours of jumping, hopping, dancing, and singing, and so much practice leading up to their final performance.  Personally, I find it amazing that people can be so talented at singing, dancing and acting all at the same time, especially since I find each one in itself such a challenge.  It was great to see that students of all years, even freshman, were featured so prominently in the show.  If I had any talent at all, I would definitely audition because it seems like the cast had such a great time working together.  My friends and I were all in a euphoric state after experiencing such a heartwarming story.

After the show, I went back to my dorm to work on my math paper.  I’m currently taking Math 17, a topics course called Math Beyond Calculus, which focuses on number theory and its applications in cryptography this year.  The professor does an amazing job tying together many areas of math into a coherent course in an interesting field while giving us a taste of what math is like after the calculus sequence.  In the final week, all the students in the class have to study something not directly covered in class.  Not only is it a chance to explore anything that interests us outside the curriculum, but it also exposes us to mathematical texts and papers, encouraging us to piece together an understanding the way mathematicians and scientists do when they learn about new topics.  We are soon going to start giving presentations to the class, which trains us in conveying difficult mathematical concepts clearly and succinctly, a skill that will definitely come in handy in the future.  I had never taken a math class quite like this before, and I love it.  I’m so glad that Dartmouth has classes like this, and I plan to seek them out in future terms as well.  I’ve been rubbing Warney Bently’s nose every time I pass through the Hop – hopefully that will give me good luck for my presentation.

Feb 222012
 

As we go through an unusually warm winter this year in Hanover, winter term is nearing it’s end. If you’ve read my previous blog posts, there’s one thing I say each time and I’ll repeat it here, weeks at Dartmouth go by REALLY fast! This is not an understatement, it is simply something we have to adjust to. 8 weeks and 4 midterms later, I confess that winter term has been super busy for me.

Currently I am working on 4 major projects for my writing class. In addition to that is the constant flow of problem sets from my math and physics classes. All of this has resulted in very busy days, sometimes very little sleep, and constant challenges. Trust me when people talk about the huge workload at Dartmouth, they are NOT joking. To all those who think taking 3 classes a term is an easy task, Dartmouth will prove you wrong. We then look for survival strategies that help us cope with the stress that this workload brings. While different things work for different people, what I want to talk about is surviving by keeping intact the connection back home.

When we start of as freshmen at Dartmouth, we’re entering a new world. This world is scary, exciting, different, interesting, stressful, joyful, challenging and magical all at once. But at the same time, we’re also moving away from our previous world. Often this can be tough.  This is especially tough if you’re an international student and home is about 7000 miles, a 30 hour travel and a 10 hour time difference away. Although this new world can be the best thing ever, it sometimes becomes important to keep that connection to your home alive. This can be through your parents, your best friend or anybody who’s been a really important part of your life back home. This connection can often be one of the important ways of making sure you have an awesome Dartmouth experience. At 2 am on some night when your mind is filled with thoughts and you can’t fall asleep, picking up that laptop and typing that email to your parents helps clear your mind. When you have the biggest paper of your term due and you don’t know where to start, instead of stressing out, spending half an hour calling your best friend from back home helps. On so many occasions, that home connection makes your life at Dartmouth even better.

So my advice today, to all my fellow Dartmouth students, to the sixteens, to future prospective students as well as students in other colleges who are reading this post, is to make sure that while exploring the mysteries of your new world and your new home, you don’t lose that vital connection to your old home. Part of what makes Dartmouth magical is the diverse array of places and backgrounds that people come from, and when these people make sure they don’t lose their former identity, their values , and their connections from home, Dartmouth becomes beautiful to a whole new level.

Feb 202012
 

Wow, I have been truly terrible at keeping up with blogging regularly! It’s crazy how quickly time flies. I wrote a blog post within the first week of school, then I blinked before writing my second and it’s week eight!

Dartmouth terms are so short. 10 weeks and then you’re done. Another term. I was looking through my many, many emails and I saw an application for Dimensions and thought ‘surely, it can’t be already!’. It’s crazy that nearly a year has passed since I found out I got into Dartmouth. I’m wishing you all the best of luck on your applications!

This term, I have done quite a bit – I’ve been in a play, joined another organisation and been part of Language in Motion (a Tucker Foundation program). It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of activities there are here and how little time there is to do all of them. I recently discovered it’s very easy to start to feel down about this. It’s so easy to begin to think you aren’t doing enough, or you aren’t achieving as much as everyone else. I was reminded this weekend that this isn’t true at all! I guess this is my first bit of fresher’s advice for when you all get here. As silly and simple as it sounds: don’t get overwhelmed. It’s so easy to forget how important it is to take a step back every now and then, to remind yourself it’s okay to not be busy every second of every day.

Dartmouth is an experience, and I have to live it. Not just witness it.

Dec 032011
 
Changing Colors

What a wild ride it’s been. People told me that ten week terms go by really fast, I never knew it would be THIS fast. I’m done with my finals today and fall 2011 term at Dartmouth has officially ended for me. We’re one twelfth the way there! I think back and I reflect. This term has been the perfect introduction for me to Dartmouth!

It all started off with meeting international upperclassmen as I arrived at Dartmouth late at night in pouring rain. I remember the first glimpse I got of my room and the feeling of excitement that rushed down my spine. It took a night’s sleep to finally comprehend the fact that I had arrived at Dartmouth! Next day, I was greeted by a crowd of people dancing around in front of Robo as upperclassmen dressed in crazy costumes greeted us for our DOC Trips. After spending only a day at Dartmouth, I was taken up to the Dartmouth College grant in the extreme north of New Hampshire for my Nature Photography Trip. Could there have been a better welcome?

Soon we went through a 2 week long orientation, starting with International orientation and then regular orientation. I was thrilled at the opportunities that were available to us here at Dartmouth and was already thinking about the millions of things I planned to do over the next few years. All this was accompanied by more than a thousand new faces around me. The fact that many of these faces would be an important part of my life for the next four years, and some even beyond that was both scary and exciting! After the perfect welcome through DOC trips, orientation provided the perfect kick-start to our time at Dartmouth. Soon we picked our courses for the term and classes began.

The opportunity of being taught by professors who were experts in their field was amazing. Every day I was learning so much and it made me feel proud of myself. We found ourselves coming up with the perfect weekly schedule for ourselves. We found ourselves trying things we had never done before (Which, for me, was playing tennis). We found ourselves being challenged and overcoming those challenges. We found ourselves growing!

Days passed, and soon I was watching my first football game wearing the Dartmouth gear I had recently purchased. It was an amazing experience, especially since we won!

Homecoming finally came with trees changing their colors, and we ran around that huge bonfire that was built to mark an official start to our time at Dartmouth. We were filled with spirit and felt proud of being members of the Best Class Ever in the Best College Ever!

Soon New Hampshire showed its magic with snow in October. In just a few hours, Dartmouth turned into a winter wonderland, and The Green turned completely white! At midnight the entire college came out, and had a massive snowball fight on The Green. We were amazed at how magical this place is!

Before we knew it, finals were right around the corner. We found ourselves turning to our favourite studying spot (which for me was my room), and doing our best to make sure we’re ready for being tested on our previous ten weeks’ worth of work. Many took advantage of the numerous study breaks that were organized throughout campus. A large part of the community came out to The Green yesterday evening and decorated Dartmouth’s huge Christmas tree.

And finally, today my finals ended, and with them so did the term. I repeat, it’s been a wild ride, it’s been the perfect start, and I’m excited about what is to come. Dartmouth feels like a home now, and the people here feel like a family. Adios fall 2011, you’ve treated me well!

 

Cheers