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.

Oct 292011

Trips is definitely one of the best experiences at Dartmouth. It’s very bizarre to be told as soon as you arrive that you are setting off on the “best five days of your life”. I’d just left home, was jet-lagged and thinking “what kind of crazy school have I gotten myself into?”

Setting off for four days on a canoe, in the rain is not everyone’s idea of fun. But I returned with some amazing friends and a feeling of belonging that I don’t think you will get so soon at any other college.

The first day canoeing is what could be called ‘a bonding experience’. It rained solidly for about 20 or so hours. We canoed through the rain, slept under tarps and woke up with puddles at the bottom of our sleeping bags but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. That evening I huddled together with 11 other complete strangers, playing mafia and quickly realised that they weren’t strangers anymore. Inside jokes, ridiculous games, sharing embarrassing facts and listening to jokes that simple shouldn’t be told (because they were simply that bad!) are just a few of the memories that made that evening.

“WELCOME HOME” is how everyone on trips will greet you. Dartmouth becomes so important to you in five days, it’s difficult to see how you lived without it. I arrived back on campus looking awful, smelling bad and with the biggest smile on my face and 11 people I already knew. It’s terrifying going to a new place and scrambling to make new friends. Trips did that for me and, in the best way, welcomed me home.