Wrapping Up

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Mar 102014
 

Winter term is finally coming to a close in Hanover, which means some pretty big changes in my life.  We finished our capstone design project (and it mostly worked!), so we’re anxiously waiting on the review board of professors and professional engineers to decide our fates.  I’m ending my tenure as social chair of my fraternity, which took up a significant portion of my time over the past year.  Even though it was frequently stressful and constantly frustrating, I definitely grew as a leader and learned a lot of real-world skills I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  The club running team will be gearing up for our spring racing season, and I’ll personally be preparing to tackle my first marathon over Memorial Day weekend.  The days will get warmer, leaves will return to the trees, and the melting snow will combine with the nostalgic tears of the last-term seniors to reduce every non-paved surface to mush.

Of course, between spring term and now comes spring break in all its glory.  I’ll be travelling to Georgia with the ultimate frisbee team for a week – camping out,  practicing, playing in tournaments, and getting to know the team better.  It’s an important tradition to the team, and definitely one that the rest of campus has heard about.  This trip is really everything a spring break trip should be:  road trip singalongs and spur of the moment detours, late-night swims and early morning jogs, new friends and old.  Also fake moustaches and dyed hair.

I for one think that we are an upstanding group of gentlemen.

I for one think that we are an upstanding group of gentlemen.

Now that I’ve gone and made myself all daydreamy, I need to get back to studying.  One exam and one paper stand between me and Georgia.  And a thousand or so miles.  But really, that’s the fun part.

Dec 062011
 

Hey everyone.  Right now, I’m done with all my final papers and exams, so I’m just hanging out in Hanover with my friends who are still here.  In fact, I even changed around my travel plans such that I leave on Thursday (instead of Monday)–that’s how much I love this place.  It’s great being here with nothing hanging over my head…no homework, exams, or essays!  I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with so many different people and have been able to explore the town a little bit more.

If you come here, my advice to you would be to spend as much time here as you can.  It’s an amazing place (even disregarding academics).  The town is really lovely, and the people here are incredible–smart, caring, interesting, and welcoming.  I’m planning on staying at Dartmouth during most of my leave terms, interning or doing research on campus.  I’m having such a great time here; why would I ever want to leave?

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

Dec 022011
 

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta study for finals, everybody’s looking forward to winter break…

Sorry for the awful song reference, guys. My caffeine-addled brain couldn’t come up with anything better. Also, sorry we’ve been a little lax in posting lately! It’s finals week here at Dartmouth, so things have been a bit busier than normal.

Actually, things feel less busy in a way. Even though it’s Friday evening, the atmosphere is
way more subdued than a typical Dartmouth weekend. We had our last classes on Wednesday, so yesterday and today were the “reading period” to catchup and study before most of the tests are held. Most people have been holed up in their favorite study spots for the past several days. People can get pretty aggressive about the prime study spots– I’m not nearly brave enough to try and snag a table on the third floor of the library, where most of the seats have had jackets and books permanently marking them as occupied for days. I miss hanging out with my friends in the evenings, but I know I’m getting more work done by going off by myself.

Besides, things haven’t been a total grind. Everyone from President Kim to the Gospel Choir have been holding “study breaks” with treats to help lighten the mood. If I went to all the study breaks offered, I’d never get anything done! And tonight was the tree-lighting on the Green– in the midst of all this schoolwork, the lights and carols finally made me realize that the holiday season is right around the corner.

I actually don’t have any finals tests this term; instead, my final grades are all papers. This is sort of nice because I have more control over my time and when I choose to work on each one. My humanities paper was due on Wednesday. It feels so nice to have that over with and to know that I only have two classes left to worry about. My religion paper is due on Monday afternoon. I took a draft to my professor during her office hours today, which was super helpful because I got to hear where my paper was weak from the person who will be grading it. Just one more plug for going to office hours– they really are worth it!

My biggest challenge is the research paper I’m writing for a sociology class on multiculturalism. I started off thinking about a topic in multicultural education, since I’m really interested in education policy, but I soon realized that “multicultural education” is way too broad of a topic. I decided to focus on “parachute kids,” wealthy Asian students who travel alone to the United States to go to school here. I want to see how their sojourn specifically for education and away from their parents affects their incorporation into American life. Even though writing my first college-level research paper is a bit daunting, I’m so interested in the topic that I’m actually having fun with the research.

Off to do more reading …and use my meal swipes to procure more caffeine! (who needs dinner when there is 5-hour Energy?)

Good luck with your own pre-break schoolwork, and happy holidays!

Live Free

Erin