Jan 312015
 

Let me be the first one to tell all you Prospective and Early Decision students that college is HARDER than high school. No, but seriously, it’s hard. You will no longer be able to do your spanish homework in the hallways on your way to class or skip studying for exam because you think you paid enough attention in class. NEWSFLASH: everyone studies here and most people actually enjoy it and go above and beyond what is required of a course (they’re still considered overachievers, so no worries there).

Dartmouth, for me and for a lot of students who are here, was definitely a transition. On top of going to class for 9-11 hours a week, you have extracurriculars, homework, personal time, meals, friends, and distractions around every corner. My biggest advice is to establish good study habits and stay on top of your reading from the get-go.

If you don’t know how to or want help figuring your life out, Dartmouth has lots of organizations, people and departments that were built to help you succeed! So let’s run down some of the more important ones!

1. Academic Skills Center (ASC)- This place provides everything and anything you need to succeed academically. The Academic Skills Center is home to the Tutor Clearinghouse which offers a variety of study help. From conversation partners in whatever language you’re learning to private tutors for any subject, they do their best to match you up with someone who is best going to help you achieve your goals. The ASC also offers one-on-one academic coaching with Dartmouth Staff to help you create a personalized list of goals, a study plan, and regular check-ins. Or if you’re more into group studying, bigger introduction courses (like Economics 1 or Math 3) will have study groups set up by professors through the Tutor Clearinghouse so that students can sign up. All students hired by the ASC have earned high grades in their classes or are fluent in the language they are teaching. And on top of that, if you’re on financial aid, your costs will be covered!

2. You Professors- Have a question on something covered in class? Who better to explain it to you than the person who is an expert on the subject and will be testing you! All Dartmouth professors hold open office hours on a weekly basis. You can go and ask questions or just go and introduce yourself! They are all really excited to meet their students and very helpful.

3. RWIT Institute for Writing and Rhetoric – RWIT is the best resource for anyone who needs help with a paper! From scientific reports to creative writing to research papers, these students have been trained to help your organize and

The best advice I can give is to reserve your appointment as far in advance as you can.

4. Undergraduate Deans Office – Upon enrolling, based on where you live, you will be assigned a Dean. He/She is there to provide you with guidance and support in all aspects. They’re like your high school guidance counselor! I’ve gone in to talk about what classes I should take and how to solve relationship problems. They make for great listeners and are a good place to get questions asked and problems solved. They’re also the person who can give you certain permissions to move around your schedule! The Deans office also has DOSCs (Deans Office Student Consults). Hand-picked by the Deans, these seniors are trained to assist you when the Deans aren’t around. So when you find yourself freaking out about what classes to take at 10 pm with a midnight deadline, you can pop on right over to wherever they’re set up in the library and ask them for help.

5. Your Undergraduate Advisor (UGA)- the upperclassman who lives on your floor. UGAs are a great resource and have chosen to offer themselves as such. They are trained on a weekly basis and kept up to date on what residents should know. Even if they don’t personally know the answer, chances are they know where to refer you to!

Being in college is going to be challenging in many ways. Luckily, Dartmouth College really cares about making sure you transition well and continue to do well academically! You have all of these wonderful resources at your disposal. My biggest suggestion is to just: use them!

Feel free to ask questions below!

 

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

Nov 072011
 

High school was a breeze. The classes were easy, the assignments laughable, and the tests were mildly challenging. I thought Dartmouth would be a little different. I had heard college was different and was expecting it to be a little harder. A little more of a challenge if you will.

I was wholly unprepared for what came next. Continue reading »

Oct 102011
 

I have my first midterm in two days. My biggest question is how did four weeks pass by so quickly?! I blink and a week is over. Anyways, I want to devote this entry to where I found help when I needed it.

I always considered myself a good student in high school, as does everybody else I’ve met here (and for good reason). I used to look over my notes and homework and do just fine on tests and assignments in the past, but I found out that this isn’t enough here. There will come a time at Dartmouth when you also will need help since the classes here try to challenge you to think like you haven’t before.

I reached out for help in math first. The professor mentioned something called a “tutorial” at the beginning of the term, but I shoved that to the back of my mind thinking that I probably wouldn’t need that. After a difficult lecture and an even more difficult homework assignment, I found myself stopping by the room listed for the tutorial on the syllabus. When I opened the door and stepped in, a graduate student came over, introduced herself and asked if I needed any help. What a welcome question after I had spent far too long staring at the problems, looking through the book, and trying different approaches in vain! The rest of the session, I worked on problems until I hit a rut and  then asked for help to get individual attention. I fully advocate the use of tutorials for math!

In my other subjects, I’ve talked to my professors at office hours multiple times. They are always happy to help, and they take an interest in you, too. The professor for my writing seminar answered all my questions in 20 minutes, and we proceeded to talk about other interesting subjects for another 40 minutes. I personally thought those types of conversations with professors were a thing of myth before I came here to Dartmouth.

Speaking of my writing seminar class, I recently had a paper due. I had a rough draft of my essay done a couple days before the deadline, but even after editing it a bit, I felt like I wasn’t writing at a “college-level”. Going to RWIT, a free resource that helps students with research and writing, made me more sure of myself and what professors are looking to see in essays.

Then there are my fellow classmates, who are always looking out for each other. In my classes with midterms, I have already formed little study groups, and we’ve been planning study sessions and guiding each other through rough patches in our understanding. I also tutor for a peer-tutoring service run through the Academic Skills Center (another great resource) as well, so you can seek out long-term individual help for your classes as well.

I am not embarrassed to admit that I have had multiple study parties with my friends. Though most people don’t want to think of studying as part of college life, it is something you will have to deal with anywhere you go. At Dartmouth, it is made easier and more enjoyable that you may think. Finding help while preparing for midterms made me realize that we are not alone in our studies.

Oct 062011
 

It has been about a month since I first landed on the Green, and about two weeks since classes have started (which is a significant amount since we have 10 week academic terms). It’s been both stressful and exciting at times. I have my first midterm coming up next week, I am researching questions for my first proper academic paper, I have been to my first two football games (yes, my life’s first two!), I’ve had my homesick moments, I’ve had a wii party with friends, I’ve made spontaneous decisions of visiting West Lebanon in the middle of the week with some friends, I’ve worked my first shift at Courtyard Café located at the Hop (Hopkins Centre for the Arts), I’ve joined the tennis PE course and the Cricket Club (Yes Dartmouth has a Cricket Club! Dartmouth has something for everybody), I’ve played poker at 2 in the night with my floor, and I have done tons of other stuff during this month. There have been mostly highs and some lows. However, there is one thing that I’ve experienced every single day I’ve been at Dartmouth.

This common experience that I have every single day is simply a feeling that stays with me. It is one of the most positive feelings I have ever experienced. It includes pride and happiness. When I think about my day, I’m filled with a sense of achievement. At Dartmouth, every single day we achieve something academically, morally, physically and intellectually. Whether it’s in a class through the teacher’s lecture, or at your friend’s dorm through helping them with a math problem, Dartmouth is filled with all kinds of learning experiences. Going through such experiences makes you feel proud of yourself at the end of the day, since you know that you’ve grown and developed since you woke up that morning.

The feeling also includes inspiration. At Dartmouth you are inspired to seek new areas, to take up new challenges, to think outside the box, to believe in yourself and your peers. A few weeks ago while talking to an upperclassman one of my friends spontaneously decided to go on a canoe trip. The flow of water was intense and she had never canoed in such conditions before. She took up the challenge and she came to me that night telling me that it was one of the best experiences she has ever had! You find several such opportunities at Dartmouth, and soon you are inspired to take them.

You also feel part of the community. At Dartmouth, students are very welcoming. The friends I have made over the past month are amazing. Despite coming from a different country and culture, I have never felt left out at Dartmouth. We find a sense of unity with everyone at Dartmouth and it certainly becomes our home.

I may still be a new freshman at Dartmouth (I haven’t even ran across the fire at homecoming yet) but I have loved every moment I’ve spent here. The magical feeling that Dartmouth has given me is priceless, and this feeling grows each and every day.

 

Cheers!