Sep 012014
 

To all my new readers and new Dartmouth students, welcome to the first blog of Alex D. Hurt II. This blog will be an instrument for some interesting thoughts, reactions to current events, and occasionally just for some of my signature dark, irreverent humor about nothing important. Before I move any further I most gave a fair warning. WARNING: This blog will contain strong language and opinions and is only for the open minded. The vast majority of people will read something like that and say “pssh sure whatever I’m in college now. I’m a big boy and I can handle anything.” One of the biggest mistakes I made when I entered college is that when people said this, I actually believed them. Dartmouth students tend to fall into one of two categories: those who have shaped an identity out of what they think, and those you can actually have a nice conversation with. What the heck does that mean? I’m so glad you asked.

Do not say “I am a Conservative,” instead say “I think conservatively.” This may seem like a small difference, but its implications are huge. In my time here there have been several on and off campus events that have sparked controversy or healthy debate. However I believe if I smoked five packs a day, ate nothing but weeks-old McDonald’s, and thought the Star Wars prequel trilogy wasn’t that bad, I would be healthier than this debate has been. Let me lead with an example; I am against gay marriage. Now already most of you are divided into two categories. There are those of you who are going to take that statement and immediately begin to make all kinds of assumptions about me, without ever having met me before. (P.S. My real opinions on gay marriage are not reflected here as this is only an example) You may feel discouraged from ever reading this blog again because I am a “bigot” or which ever synonym fits your fancy. You fall into category #2, but I will address you first.

This reaction is common and is a result of someone of making a classic mistake of equating opinions and identity. I could be a charming Daniel Craig-esque dude and you would never know because you are unable to get over my opinions on a topic you care about. Some feel by me disagreeing I have somehow attacked them personally. You are not your opinions, and neither am I. Your choices and actions make you who you are, not what you think. If someone is against gay marriage, but treats all people with respect and dignity, I see nothing wrong with them voicing their opinions loudly and strongly. Do not equate identity and opinions. I would estimate over 80% of Dartmouth makes this mistake, but only 20% can identify this as a problem. Get off the #2 bus, by definition of it being #2 you shouldn’t want to be a part of it.

Category #1 are those who see the statement “I am against gay marriage,” have a different opinion, and there immediate words are “And why is that?” These are the kind of people you want to be around, and the type of person you should be. These people understand that you being against their beliefs does not mean you are against them personally. In fact they may have curiosity into the opinions of someone on the other side of the fence. They understand the difference between opinion and identity, and as such you can talk to them about anything.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Understand what makes identity, and apply it to every aspect of your life. Your grades don’t make your identity, how many friends you have doesn’t make your identity, whether you know that House of Cards is in fact better than Scandal doesn’t make your identity, how many times you check Facebook every 15 minutes even though you know nothing has changed doesn’t make your identity, and neither does your opinions. It would be a waste of the thousands of dollars you are spending to leave the Ivy League thinking the same way about the same way as you came. Look forward to change and Welcome to Dartmouth.

Dec 062012
 

This post goes out to all the Dartmouth students that are now home for the holidays with this year’s new Academic Calendar extending from Thanksgiving to New Years as well as to the brand new ’17s that are, as of today, part of our Dartmouth family! Congratulations! I am excited to meet the DC- area ’17s at the Dartmouth Club of DC Holiday Party coming up next week.

As I finish up my time at home in DC this fall quarter, I have realized how crazy fast the time has gone by. After having this “real life” job, I am ready to go back and enjoy my time as a student for a little while longer. Although I have learned so much more in these past ten weeks than I could have imagined I would, I also miss my friends, my sorority and my classes that didn’t start until ten and were only a few steps outside my door. Get ready ’17s, for a fantastic college experience, whether you are in Hanover or taking off-terms in cities all over the world, take advantage of all of it! We’re all waiting to see what you’ll do.

Also, say ‘Hi!’ on campus!

 

Dec 062012
 

Chris O’Connell ’13 is the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s First-Year Trips Program.

Class of 2017 – Welcome to Dartmouth!

Congratulations on your acceptance and for getting through one of the more stressful parts of high school!  I remember how overwhelmingly crazy this time of year was with college decisions, so I hope you have had a few minutes to relax, celebrate, and get as excited as you possibly can for your next four years in Hanover.

Students gather on the lawn of Robinson Hall for the start of their DOC Trip.

My name is Chris O’Connell and I am the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips Program – usually just known as “Trips.”  I am SO incredibly excited for you all to come to Dartmouth in 8ish months.  It seems like a long ways away (…because it is), but it will fly by and before you know it, we’ll be welcoming you to campus for your First-Year Trip!

DOC First-Year Trips first got its start in 1935 when some older students involved in the College’s outing club invited some new students to go hiking with them before the school year started.  Since then, the program has evolved, grown, and expanded to be much more than exploring the beautiful New Hampshire outdoors – Trips is an introduction to the College’s traditions, a fun way to meet other ‘17s, and (most importantly) an exciting welcome into this community…your community!

Each Trip is 5 days long and takes place right before the College’s official orientation program in late August/early September.  The program is entirely student-run: 60 support crew members, 300 trip leaders, and countless other student volunteers make DOC Trips an incredibly memorable and exciting experience for the incoming class.  Each trip has two, well-trained, upperclassmen leaders & 7-10 new students.  Don’t worry if you haven’t been in the wilderness before – we offer trips of all levels and varieties, everything from Cabin Camping to Whitewater Kayaking to Community Service to Mountain Biking.  We have added a lot of different types of trips over the years, so we hope you’ll find one that interests you!

The hiking trip I had the chance to lead as a sophomore!

I’m a member of the (great) Class of 2013, so it was only four years ago that I went on my own DOC Trip – rock climbing! I had never been climbing before, but I had the chance to learn and check out a beautiful portion of the Appalachian Trail.  Three years ago, I got to lead a hiking trip in the White Mountains and had a blast leading a group of freshmen through their first days at Dartmouth.  The experience you can have on your DOC Trips is one of Dartmouth’s most unique traditions — it’s a great way to get introduced to people different from yourself, learn about the Dartmouth community, and get connected to upperclassmen who can help you out during your time at the College.

Everyone’s experience with DOC Trips is different, but we are working very hard to welcome YOU – whoever you are, wherever you came from, whoever you want to be in college – to your new home at Dartmouth.  Registration materials (with dates & details) for Trips will be sent to you later in 2013, but for now – enjoy this moment and get excited for an incredible four years!

I’m looking forward to welcoming you to campus next fall! Enjoy the rest of your senior year!

Chris O’Connell ‘13

P.S. Can’t get enough of Dartmouth right now? Check out our Trips blog for more stories, photos, and excitement!

 

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.

Aug 192012
 

So how did you like Dartmouth?

I think I’ve encountered this question about twenty times during my summer break so far. From my dad asking me as soon as my arrival at LAX to my high school friends who are curious to know about the life in the East Coast, this is an inevitable question that all freshmen who’ve completed their first year will confront at some point or another. Of course, for me, I always took the easy way out with the usual automatic response, “It’s great; I like it a lot” and move on.

While I was at Dartmouth, I never had to think about how my “Dartmouth experience” was. But now that I am back home, where I am constantly flooded with inquiry after inquiry about my life in Hanover, I decided to organize my most memorable experiences from freshmen year.

Interestingly, these times are those not spent on studying, and this is something I am sure every other student can attest to. It was getting sunburned during spring term while being outside all day because the weather was so nice, receiving my first ‘A’ in a class, talking about life and politics with an upperclassmen for four straight hours, throwing frisbees on the Green, mutually suffering in the library with my friends during finals, eating out in Hanover, getting Nutella milkshakes from Boloco or Hazelnut gelato from Morano after every time I ate out in Hanover, and so on.

From this, I realized one thing: none of these memories were made alone. Your Dartmouth experience, as much as it is “your” experience, is only made possible through the collective actions of the peers around you. Based on my encounters with various alums during my freshman year and during this summer break, the one thing you guys are definitely going to take with, years after you graduate from this beautiful school, is the friends and people you meet here. You never know, that tripee you thought was annoying and creepy might just be in your club sports team, or even worse, live right next to you.

So what I’m saying is… when you see people giving that clichéd response to questions like “What did you enjoy most about Dartmouth” as being “The people I met here,” there is a good reason why that question receives a near-unanimous answer. DOC Trips are just a few days away, and I know many of you guys are really excited for it. I hope you guys enjoy yourself and have a great time. You guys are now part of Dartmouth, try make the best of it.

Apr 182012
 

Emily Mason-Osann ’11 is the director of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s First-Year Trips Program.

Hi Class of 2016!!!!

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome! First of all, congratulations on making it through the stress (or not) of college applications and decisions, and welcome to Dartmouth!

I’m Emily, although I usually go by Emo, and I’m the Director of DOC First-Year Trips for 2012.  I’m a member of the class of 2011, and just finished my B.E. degree from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering where I studied biochemical engineering.  I enjoy studying proteins, reading in my hammock, and – now – directing DOC Trips.  I’m incredibly excited about all of you coming to Dartmouth in a few months, and I hope you’re excited to go on a DOC Trip when you arrive!

DOC First-Year Trips started 77 years ago when a few upperclassmen invited some first year students to go on a hike before classes started.  Since then the program has grown and improved dramatically.  The program is run by students, including a program directorate, ~55 support crew members, ~300 trip leaders, and countless other student volunteers.  The primary goal of the program is to welcome the entire class of 2016!

We offer many levels of trips from beginner to advanced, and many different types of trips from whitewater kayaking to yoga to hiking.  We hope we have something that will interest each one of you.  Each trip has two upperclassmen leaders, and four to ten new Dartmouth students.   The trips consists of one afternoon and night in Hanover getting to know your group, two nights out exploring New Hampshire, and then one afternoon and night playing and eating at the beautiful Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (which Dartmouth College owns and operates in Warren, NH).  DOC Trips is a great way to have a lot of fun, meet some of your peers, and explore that beautiful area that Dartmouth is lucky enough to reside in.

My freshman year I went on canoeing a canoeing trip with eight other ‘11s, and last year I led a hiking trip across Franconia Ridge with six ‘15s.  I really want to go on our Nature Exploration trip that we offer because I wish I knew more about my surroundings when I’m in the wilderness. And while you will soon receive paperwork regarding registration for DOC Trips, just know that whatever trip you decide to go on – it can be a really fun and exciting experience!

Trips is a wonderful (in my opinion) and unique Dartmouth tradition, that can introduce you to the college, welcome you to the Dartmouth community, provide you with upperclassmen to help you when you need it and a whole lot more.  Everyone’s experience with Trips is different, but we try our very hardest to welcome YOU, whoever you are, wherever you came from, whoever you want to be, to your new home at Dartmouth.

In the upcoming weeks and months (as you count down the days until you arrive), explore our DOC Trips blog, check us out on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and if you ever have any questions – feel free to contact us Our team of volunteers is getting prepped for your arrival now and throughout the summer, so we want you to have the best experience possible this fall!

I’m excited for Trips and for all of you to be here!

See you soon,

Emily (Emo) Mason-Osann ‘11

Mar 292012
 

A note from Senior Tour Guide Dennis Zeveloff ’12: 

Congratulations on being accepted to Dartmouth! It’s been a great place to learn–the cross-curricular scope, student-professor interactions, and world-class research have really enhanced my academic experience. I can’t think of another place where I’d be able to help publish a textbook, run experiments on the school’s fMRI, travel to Bosnia, and write reports for the government all in four years.

Jan 112012
 

Hello from Hanover, once again!

First and foremost: welcome to all the ED ’16s! Lots of my friends were facebooking and tweeting their excitement about you on the day the decisions came out. As fun as it is being the fawned over babies of the school (usually), we really are looking forward to meeting you all!

Winter break provided a lot to think about. I didn’t go home for Thanksgiving, so these past few weeks were my first time being back in Cincinnati since September. I expected it to feel strange, but it didn’t at all. Instead, I found myself maneuvering through the scene of my pre-Dartmouth life like I was on autopilot. I didn’t forget how to drive or where anything in the house was kept. Though I feel like all the new things I’ve been doing and learning at Dartmouth have changed me, it was startling how much home had stayed the same.

Being away from home made me realize how spoiled we are at Dartmouth. For all the bellyaching about tiny dorm rooms and cafeteria food, I really do feel like the college life is a pampered one. We don’t have to worry about cleaning the bathrooms– the custodians do that for us (tip: befriend your custodian. they’re great people and you’ll need their help sooner or later.) We don’t have to cook our own meals, or even pull something out of the fridge and put it in the microwave. Once we’re finished eating, we put our plates on a conveyor belt and they magically disappear, returning in clean stacks next to the salad bar by the next mealtime.

bye, dishes!

At home, I found myself a bit jolted by all the household chores and compromises I had left behind. I was now expected to walk the dog and make sure she was let out frequently. I had to coordinate use of the cars with my family members, instead of heading out whenever and wherever I pleased. I had to sort out and fold laundry for my parents and siblings, instead of merely taking care of my own clothes. If I wanted clean utensils, I actually had to load and unload the dishwasher. All these things are normal household tasks that should be expected of me– but all the services provided with a college education had let me off the hook from them over the past three months.

This is not to say that we don’t have responsibilities to fulfill in college. We do, just of a different variety. Instead of being accountable to a family team, we are accountable to ourselves and what we are making ourselves into during these four years. College is a self-indulgent time, in that we get to work on ourselves in whichever ways we choose. We can take all sorts of classes to become more knowledgeable about certain subjects, we can join activities to gain new skills, and we can meet new people to expand our perspectives and provide us with companionship. But what we have to remember is how we will use these new selves we are building to help others.

There are certainly ways to help others while still at Dartmouth; the Tucker Foundation, spring break service trips, and many campus-wide charity and activism events all make this an easy thing in which to be involved. They are awesome programs, and I recommend that all you ’16s check them out. But I also think it’s okay if college is in some ways a latency period, where we build ourselves up with the skills and ideas we will need to be generous, productive, engaged members of society for the rest of our lives. We all have certain lifelong humanistic responsibilities to each other, like being respectful and kind. But I also think it’s okay to think of this great Dartmouth opportunity as a time of responsibilities to ourselves and our futures. Eventually we’ll have more occupational and familial obligations to fulfill, but for now we have the resources and time to make ourselves into adults capable of handling those obligations with skill and poise. There will be plenty of time to wash our own dishes after graduation.

Live free!

Dec 092011
 

Hey there ’16s! Congratulations!!! We’re so so so excited to have you, even if we don’t quite believe that the class of 2016 is a real thing yet. I applied ED last year too, and it seems like just yesterday. I know I’m just a freshman and I’ve only been here one term, so forgive me for getting a bit nostalgic. And forgive me if I pretend to know what I’m talking about, since I often feel just as new as you do, but I’d like to add some of my own tips on Dartmouth to all the advice given by the lovely bloggers below. 16 tips, in fact. Here goes!

1. Celebrate! You’ve clearly worked hard to get to where you are now, and you deserve a break. Take the weekend to have fun, hang out with your friends if they’re not going too crazy about colleges, and repeat: you did it!

2. But… you still have school Monday. Relax of course, but remember that there’s a reason you’ve worked hard throughout high school aside from getting into college. Maybe take a class or do a project you didn’t have time for during the application process. I signed up for astronomy and creative writing during second semester of my senior year, and they were both great!

3. One more thing about school next week- a lot of people don’t yet know which Class of 2016 they’ll be a part of. So be proud and happy, but maybe don’t skip and sing down the halls dressed head to toe in Dartmouth green? Or go for it, your call.

4. Dartmouth green is a pretty great color though, and it looks good on everyone! It might be time to order that college apparel you were too superstitious to order before your decision came. I know I was way too scared to buy anything before finding out, but I placed an order that Friday. Nothin’ like a little school spirit.

5. If any meet-ups are happening in your area, you should definitely go. I bet all you ’16s are pretty cool kids, and you should meet each other. You could make your first Dartmouth friends before even getting here! If there aren’t any yet, plan one!

6. You didn’t really have to do a supplement for your application. You were required to have someone else do the biggest part for you! So if anyone asks you to write their peer rec for a regular decision application, go for it. It’s only fair.

7. If you had an alumni interview and enjoyed that experience, you might consider sending an email to your alumni interviewer to let them know you got in. Chances are they put in a good word for you, and they’ll be happy to know you were admitted.

8. Start checking out what’s happening on campus. The website of the Hopkins Center for the Arts will give you lots of great ideas about the types of performances and programs that will be happening when you’re on campus next year.

 

Whew, we’re halfway there! Still reading? C’mon ’16s, you can do it!

 

9. Go on a first year DOC trip. They’re so much fun! You’ll get to meet cool people and eat lots of Cabot cheese. You’ll also learn how to play the trash can game. It’s quite intense.

10. Get in touch with your roommates and floormates when you (finally) find out who they are, because if you’re half as lucky as I am, they’ll be awesome. Shout-out to Russell Sage 3!

11. Before you get here, take a look at some classes you might want to take next fall. Orientation is pretty busy, so it’s good to already have some sense of what you’re interested in when you get that large brick of a book that lists every class we offer.

12. Now I’m gonna give you some advice on what to do when you get here- which will be before you know it! Find a study spot that works for you. I spent the first month only studying on the first floor of the main library (there are 4 floors, and 6 in the stacks, and lots of other buildings and libraries to consider). I still do my work in Baker-Berry, but I also like to go to Sanborn library. I do my work at the Dirt Cowboy sometimes too, which is a really good coffee shop in town.

13. Do stuff. Whatever you like, I’m sure we have it. I’ve joined some pretty random things myself. For example, I’ll be co-chair of the polar bear swim at Winter Carnival this February, a tradition that involves hundreds of students jumping into freezing water in a hole cut into the ice in a pond, one at a time. It’s gonna be cold. But fun.

14. Explore Hanover! Its pretty tiny, but it still has a lot to offer. Brunch at Lou’s, warm bread at Molly’s, gelato at Morano, $5 movies at the Nugget, and whatever else you want to do.

15. In your classes, work hard but remember people are there to help you. Go to office hours, make study groups with friends or go to official ones, get a tutor if you feel you need one, and order all the coffee you need at King Arthur Flour in the library.

16. CONGRATS AGAIN ’16’s!!! Really, you’re making me feel so old right now. But so excited! We all can’t wait to meet you!

Dec 092011
 

You’ve done it! You’ve officially gotten into the best college in the world! You have such an awesome time in store for you! Soon you’ll be in Dartmouth, your home for the next few years. I, personally, cannot wait for all of you to arrive. You’ve made the right decision of choosing Dartmouth, and soon you’ll find out why.

I remember how excited and delighted I was when I found out I had been admitted to Dartmouth. Congratulations to all of you! Applying to Dartmouth was one of the best decisions of my life. This place is literally magical! The best thing about this place is the people you meet here, and now all of you have become part of why Dartmouth is so amazing!

As my personal gift, here’s a list of everything you should make sure you do from now till next September:

1. Start spending an hour a day hugging ice so that you’re ready for the New Hampshire winter. (Not really, at Dartmouth we simply take advantage of the cold. I’ll be skiing next term hopefully. Just bring jackets!)

2. Go Green! Literally paint yourself green. before coming, you need to know the color, love the color, BE THE COLOR.

3. Practice shouting “SIXTEENS!”. You’ll have to shout it as loud as you can while singing the alma mater.

4. Get ready to be “the worst class ever”. Unless you can prove yourselves………

5. Brag. You deserve to. Tell all of your friends that you’re going to the best college in the world!

6. But actually, remember to be supportive of friends who won’t hear back from colleges until the end of March. It can make the winter really stressful for them.

7. Get all kinds of accessories for your room. At Dartmouth you’ll get a dorm room, you’ll need to make it yours.

8. Ask questions. Ask about anything you want! Ask us, ask other upperclassmen, ask anyone at Dartmouth. We all are glad to help.

9. Get ready to challenge yourself, to try new things, to grow.

10. Be super excited! You’re coming to an awesome place! You’re about to start the best time of your life. Soon you’ll be in Dartmouth!!

Once again, congratulations on being a part of Dartmouth. You’ll love this place! Upperclassmen, feel free to add to this list. Sixteens, we know you must be super excited, tell us what excites you the most. Express your excitement. Or just say Dartmouth rocks!

Congratulations you lucky lucky bunch of people. Dartmouth awaits you.

Cheers!