I’m going to be real. And I hope that’s okay with you. This term has been hard! Settling into college definitely doesn’t come instantly and learning that things will happen unexpectedly is something that I’m only beginning to understand. As I’m getting ready to embark on an Alternative Spring Break trip to the Dominican Republic through the Tucker Foundation, I realized how much Dartmouth has changed me the few months that I’ve been here. Not that I was particularly shy during high school, but I certainly did not speak up at every moment and express my feelings to strangers. I didn’t necessarily want to know everyone at my high school and thought that sticking with what I knew was the best option. Coming to Dartmouth was a step for me since I originally told all my friends I was going to another college that was familiar and close to home. I picked Dartmouth not because it was perfect, but because I knew that I would learn something new and unexpected here. So, why am I sharing this with you wonderful prospective students or admitted ’16s? I think that I needed to share that despite certain campus events that might disturb you, what draws you closer to Dartmouth is the chance to go outside your comfort zone. Did I think I would be traveling outside the country for the first real time in my life in a few weeks? No! Did I think that I would become a Native American studies major and try to comprehend what being Native means to me? No way! And, did I think that I would participate in a flashmob with the Hairspray cast as a representative of the Inter-Community Council? Haha, definitely not. But, that’s the beauty of being open to what Dartmouth has to offer. It’s crazy. It pushes you. It makes you think. And it’s beautiful.
Last year, I visited Dartmouth through a prospective Native American student program. The Green, the lights on Dartmouth Hall and the picturesque library enchanted me. I asked myself the question “How could I ever be adequate enough to be in the presence of such a beautiful campus?”
And, this year I jumped off the bus from the Lodj, and began my journey into this exquisite campus. After the flurry of orientation activities and the increasing pressure to explore the multitude of clubs on campus, it’s been easy for me to look down while I rush to my Anthropology class. It’s been simple to ignore our gorgeous foliage when it seems to drop ten degrees every day. But, as I hosted prospies (prospective students) from the same program I attended last year, I learned how to look up again.
The prospies exclaimed their surprise at the architecture and the sheer greenness of the campus. Does Dartmouth lose its beauty with time? Does it relinquish its charm to only prospective students? It still remains enchanting, but is often forgotten by many of us as we rush to class in the pouring rain. It seems to slip our minds when frustrations arise, or when we write a last minute paper. And, of course, the first few weeks of college contain highs and lows: points where you feel surrounded with excitement and points where you seem completely alone. And to say that one’s college homesickness will be cured with one look at your surroundings is naive, but Dartmouth still can woo one with its mixture of extremely inspiring people and gorgeous nature.
So as I return from the library late at night, maybe for once I will look up at the stars instead of the ground, and remind myself of the first moment I saw Dartmouth and how I consider this my new home.