Of Note: Orientation Blog

Post Eight | October 10, 2019


Greetings, old friends! I hope you are finding your way through your first fall at Dartmouth, and taking advantage of the many people ready to support you.

On the eve of Homecoming, I wanted to remind you of another tradition we shared a few weeks ago: the Twilight Ceremony. I pulled out a few phrases that struck me as relevant to this time of the term from the remarks by Danny Li '19 and Makisa Bronson '20. I hope you will take a moment to reflect on these comments just as I have, remembering the glow of the candlelight that surrounded you.

• "The Twilight Ceremony is both a celebration and an opportunity for reflection. It celebrates the 250 classes of Dartmouth students who have walked before you, and it marks a transition of that legacy and responsibility to you."

• "I know many of you are worried about finding your 'community' - your 'spot' on campus ... Stay true to who you are. Be yourself and I promise that you will be able to find others here who appreciate you."

• "Give yourself time ... Be patient. Let yourself grow, and your academic and personal qualities will shine through."

• "By being intentional with how and with whom i spend my time here, I have been able to create a beautiful life for myself in what is often a very difficult place."

• "May we allow this community to flourish both for ourselves and others. What an honor and privilege it is that we have in our hands right now."

• "Take in the entirety of this moment, of twilight, and of the possibilities and hopes ahead."

When you entered the Bema during the Twilight Ceremony, you were greeted by upper-level students warmly cheering their welcome and encouragement. As you celebrate your first Dartmouth Homecoming with fellow students, faculty, staff, and alumni, remember those cheers and know that we continue to be so very glad that you are here. You have already made Dartmouth a better place by joining our community; we very much value "who you are" and look forward to sharing your "possibilities and hopes ahead."

Many of the same faces you saw leading New Student Orientation will join you tomorrow night during the first-year “sweep” and on the Green. We can’t wait to see you again. Wishing you a warm and welcoming Homecoming – the first of many.

Take care!


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Post Seven | September 16, 2019


Dear Class of 2023,

As you finish your first day of classes, please consider these "potentially useful musings." These are just a few of the many pieces of advice I am sure that you'll receive; may they help you reflect on your Orientation experience and prepare for your Dartmouth career.

1. Explore, Engage, Excel: I think the title of your first-year academic information guide really speaks to a successful strategy to follow in college. Begin your time at Dartmouth by exploring all of the possibilities open to you as a student. When you find that class, program, or student organization that really interests you, engage with it and the people that are part of it. Go to meetings, blitz professors, and do your research to find the best fit for you. All this preparation will help you excel in your endeavors at the College.

2. Find a mentor: There are innumerable chances for you to get involved and learn new things – which can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. But don't panic: we are ready and waiting to help you when you need it. Contact the Undergraduate Deans Office: they're all excited to meet you and help out where they can. Take full advantage of the student leaders around campus such as the Undergraduate Advisors (UGAs) in your residence halls and Senior Academic Mentors (SAMs). They're an impressive group of students committed to helping you with anything you need. Finally, I am here for you, too. You can always reach out to the Office of Student Life to schedule a time to meet with me or someone on my staff.

3. Be Intentional: Being intentional can mean different things to different people, but the common denominator here is thinking and acting with purpose and conviction in everything that you do. Hang out with your floor and make new friends, but don't necessarily do everything they do. Think about what you want to explore and who you want to meet: don't be afraid to try new things with friends or by yourself.

4. Appreciate your surroundings: Hanover and the Upper Valley are full of natural beauty, and opportunities to enjoy your surroundings will be present each term throughout the year: Fall Term will offer wonderful foliage and quintessential New England vistas; Winter will bring cooler temperatures, yes, but also beautiful snowfalls and great opportunities in the form of Winter Carnival activities; Spring brings with it a rebirth of nature (and spirit) accented by great live music during Green Key; and, once you get there, Summer will warm you with sunny days and high temperatures, perfect for a dip in the Connecticut River or lunch under the shade of the Collis Porch. Don't be afraid to hop on Advance Transit and see where the routes take you: the ride is free and can connect you to shopping and restaurants in the surrounding area.

5. Finally – and perhaps most importantly – don't let anyone else determine your Dartmouth Experience. I can't stress enough that Dartmouth means different things to different people; there is no one Dartmouth experience. Groups from across campus are ready to provide you with the tools and support to intentionally engage with all that Dartmouth offers and find your unique path. Again, it's totally normal to be overwhelmed in your new surroundings. We all know that you might find yourself in unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations as you connect with the Dartmouth community. It is in these moments we want you to know that it's okay to feel unsure: you are certainly not the first or only one to feel that way. We are all here to share in those moments, so that you might learn and grow from them.

Though Orientation is over, do not hesitate to reach out during your time at Dartmouth. I am here for you – particularly during these first few weeks as you adjust to life at the College.

Take care and be well!


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Post Six | September 13, 2019


Hello again new students,

I hope you have enjoyed your Orientation week so far! It has been an absolute pleasure welcoming you to Dartmouth and seeing so many of you at the wide variety of programs and events across campus these past few days. I was particularly impressed by your words shared during the First Meeting of the Class, and by your attendance at important events like Achieving Community Together and Professor Isler's Shared Academic Experience lecture.

You have hit another milestone today by completing the course election process! I know that it can be difficult to pick just three classes, and I'm glad to hear that you have utilized the wealth of resources at your disposal (faculty advisors, undergraduate deans, UGAs, Senior Academic Mentors (SAMs), academic open houses, and many others) in making informed and intentional course selections.

This weekend will be a fun and exciting time. We know just how busy and tiring Orientation can be, so please make sure you take time for yourself and relax: tonight is a great night for that. All of you will be attending Life @ Dartmouth on Saturday; it is essential that you are on time and ready to engage with this important required programming. We will be reviewing attendance logs from events where your ID cards were swiped upon entrance.

I look forward to seeing you again at the Twilight Ceremony on Sunday evening. This culminating event for Orientation comes as we celebrate the College's 250th year; it will be wonderful to see you come together as a class - the newest members of the Dartmouth community. We will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. on the Collis porch. We intend for this event to be profound and meaningful; while you do not have to wear "formal" attire, please dress respectfully and be mindful of your footwear, as we will encounter both a dirt path and (possibly wet) grass at the Bema. You will process as a class from Collis to the Bema; please contact New Student Orientation with any access concerns.

Thank you, truly, for your attention and participation this week. I hope you have a fun and safe weekend, and I will see you on Sunday evening.


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Post Five | August 30, 2019


A Message from the Orientation Team (O-Team)...

Welcome members of the Class of 2023, transfer students, and exchange students to Dartmouth! We are the Orientation Team, and we are working hard to support all of you throughout Pre-Orientation, Orientation and your Dartmouth careers. Eric asked us if there's anything we wanted to say to you, and we wanted to share the following thoughts. We hope that you are excited about your arrival to Hanover – we know we are!

College is a new chapter of your life. For many, it necessitates movement into the unfamiliar. As you finish packing, you may look around and realize that you weren't able to pack your whole room, perhaps the last 17 or 18 years of your life, into a couple of suitcases. You might be uncertain about leaving behind what you've known up until now but also excited about coming to college. This is where we, your friendly O-Team, come in! We've put together a list of things that we think are important to discovering, understanding, and growing who you are throughout your Dartmouth experience so that you can be successful. In no particular order, here is the list:

Something that reminds you of home
What is home? Walking through your front door, being with your family, the beaches where you would spend summers with friends, the gym across the street, or your well-loved teddy bear? Wherever and whatever you call home, bring some of that with you for the days when you miss things you left behind. Remembering where you come from is important to establishing your roots at a new place.

An open mind
College is about trying new things, and in the process, learning about yourself: simply by coming to college in Hanover, New Hampshire, many of you have demonstrated some willingness to try new things. Try to continue exploring new things while you're at Dartmouth. It's often when you leave your comfort zone that you learn the most – both about yourself and others. Whether you're one or one hundred days into college, it's never too late to brave a new experience.

A resilient spirit
As you jump into all these new things, you might face some challenges. Challenges are an inevitable part of life at college, just like homework or catching a cold. What's more important is how you react to those challenges: being able to confront them, learn from them, and keep moving forward. This creates positive ripples in your life, turning what were challenges into a series of successes. As Dory would say in Finding Nemo: "Just keep swimming."

A positive attitude
How exactly do you move forward during what might be a rough time? It starts with a positive attitude! College can be challenging, and there will be times when you succeed and times when you struggle. Whether they are educational, personal, or social, challenges will surely arise during your time here. Being able to keep an optimistic mindset about the situation at hand will help you out in the long run even if things do not improve immediately. Rather than just keeping you afloat, positivity will push you towards the necessary resources to make things work.

Time for yourself
It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Dartmouth term – there's so much going on and so little time, and you may feel like you just have to do everything! Between it all, don't forget to give yourself time to do the things that make you happy, relaxed, and de-stressed. Whether that is taking a walk outside, taking a nice nap, or watching a movie or playing cards with friends, these moments help you recenter yourself.

Awareness of yourself and your surroundings
Dartmouth is a whole new world, with thousands of people to meet and places to explore. Be cognizant of the spaces that you and those with you occupy wherever you go. Your experiences are entirely your own and completely valid – as are the experiences of those who surround you – to the extent that everyone has something worthwhile to share. Being mindful of yourself and of how others feel and function will make your interactions with others more genuine and fruitful in the end.

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back – be curious and ask questions! Think about why or how something may be the way it is or work the way it does. Immerse yourself in new ideas so you can form a richer understanding of the world around you. Don't fall into the trap of settling with what's comfortable or easy to follow. Have conversations where you deconstruct your norms and hear the perspectives of those in this community. Ask questions about things you want to know without fearing judgment, because gaining knowledge is what college is all about.

We can't wait to greet you when you arrive – look out for us in our matching O-Team shirts! Until then, you can start following our adventures on Instagram: @dartmouth_oteam. See you soon, and good luck packing the rest of your suitcases!

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Post Four | August 28, 2019


Hello everyone. This time — mid to late August — is an interesting time for you all. Many colleges and universities on the semester system begin their fall terms earlier than Dartmouth. Some of your friends and/or family may have already left for college, while others may be leaving this week or next. I don't mean for you to panic when you think about this, or to feel sad when you think about the summer coming to an end. Rather, I hope you see this as an opportunity, much like how I encouraged you to view sorting through all the information we've sent you in the weeks leading up to New Student Orientation. It's the beginning of a new chapter.

I know this can be a weird time and thinking about how to wrap up the final summer before your college career may seem like an impossible task. I challenge you to use this time for all the things you said you'd do and haven't done, both for yourself and for those around you. Plan a meal with your family or supporters, and with your friends. Invite everyone you've been promising to make time for and make an evening experience out of it. Grab your siblings, your cousins, your closest friends or your favorite aunts and have a Netflix marathon, or visit a local place that is important to you. Look back at that summer bucket list you made all those months ago and start checking things off.

I do ask, though, that you balance your bucket list with your college checklist. Go through DartHub and double check your deadlines. Read through the Local Placement Exam information — it's important that you carefully consider the available exams and plan to take any that you feel would be helpful in determining your courses. Re-reading Explore, Engage, Excel in conjunction with placement information will be a great step in preparing for course election during Orientation. And use the Snapshots sent to you all summer by New Student Orientation to start learning about departments, programs, and resources.

Within the next few days, we will announce the Shared Academic Experience, curated by Professor Jedidah Isler, both on the New Student Orientation website and via Canvas (Dartmouth's Learning Management System). We are looking forward to joining you — and Professor Isler — during Orientation at your first Dartmouth lecture.

In the meantime ... my final thought for today: Some of you will participate in First-Year Trips, and some of you will not. Some of you are here already for athletic teams, and others will participate in one of our Pre-Orientation programs (for First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP), International Students, or Native and Indigenous Students). It doesn't matter how and when you arrive – you will all come together on September 10 to begin your journey as new students at Dartmouth. First-Year Trips and the various Pre-Orientation programs are integrated with New Student Orientation and build towards its culmination.

If you are not participating in First-Year Trips, fear not – New Student Orientation has so many opportunities to meet and connect, and we can't wait to welcome you and support the beginning of your Dartmouth experience.

Regardless of when you're joining us: enjoy your final days at home, say goodbye (for now) to your loved ones, and get ready for the start of your Dartmouth adventure. We'll be ready for you!


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Post Three | August 22, 2019


Hello everyone – Can you believe it's already near the end of August?

By now you've received a lot of great information from New Student Orientation and our campus partners to help prepare you for your arrival at Dartmouth.

I will write more next week with news about the Shared Academic Experience and some other things "to do" but right now wanted to share a brief message from a wonderful group of current Dartmouth students.

Once you arrive on campus, there will be a lot of folks eager to welcome you and support your transition to Dartmouth. One very important resource will be the Dartmouth Orientation Team (O-Team). You will hear from them again as we get closer to New Student Orientation, but we wanted to introduce them now (you can get to know them here) and share a message and quick request they had for you.

Enjoy their note, below, and we will talk again soon! 


HELLO!! As the student leaders of the Dartmouth Orientation Team (O-Team), we wanted to introduce ourselves and get to know you all better before you arrive in Hanover!

We would LOVE it if you would send us a postcard to introduce yourself to us and your classmates and share a hope you have for the coming year! You could pick a postcard from where you live, somewhere you go this summer, somewhere important to you, or just decorate a card yourself. Then write us a short message and send it in.

If you aren't able to put one in the mail, feel free to use this form to send us a picture (not your headshot, just of some place or thing that is important to you). Add your message and submit the form, and we'll turn it into a postcard FOR you!

Postcards from new students will be displayed in the Collis Center during New Student Orientation.

Please address your cards to:
Dartmouth Orientation Team
6181 Collis Center Suite 303
Hanover, NH 03755

If you have already sent us a card, thank you so much! We look forward to meeting you in September!

 ❤ Nidhi, Edward & Jacob

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Post Two | July 14, 2019

Welcome to July!

Wow – it's been a busy few weeks, with new information coming your way and plenty to consider. How are you doing?

As you can probably tell, Dartmouth is buzzing with preparations for your arrival this fall; we are very excited about what we have in store for you. The folks in the Office of Student Life — along with colleagues across campus — are organizing New Student Orientation programs for you that will allow you to experience the breadth of Dartmouth's opportunities, always with the goal of ensuring your successful transition into the Dartmouth community.

Our journey together will begin in earnest when you arrive. But as that day approaches, my campus colleagues and I are spending a great deal of time thinking about you: where you come from, your unique and diverse backgrounds, and the amazing perspectives you'll bring with you. Learning about academics and electing Fall Term courses will be your highest priority during Orientation. However, we are also focusing on what we want to share with you about living here — not only all the amazing aspects of our "College on the Hill," but also all the things you need to know to fully participate in our community, understand your rights and responsibilities as a member of that community, and feel connected. This is no easy task, and none of us takes our responsibility lightly. We all care very deeply about you and will work tirelessly to ensure that you have every opportunity to shine in your time here.

I wanted to highlight the importance of watching for emails from New Student Orientation and the Undergraduate Deans Office over the next several weeks, as well as updates on DartHub. We will all work together to keep you on track!

Speaking of which: New Student Orientation will soon be emailing a series of seven Snapshots that will outline campus resources as well as provide a brief overview of Dartmouth's academic departments and programs. The first in this series will focus on timely campus resources and include departments and offices with upcoming deadlines and useful information that you might need to know now.

One last thing: later in the summer, you will be introduced to Dartmouth's Orientation Team (O-Team). These students will play a large role in helping you transition to campus life. But before you meet them, they would love to meet you! O-Team asks that you send a postcard that introduces you and shares a hope you have for the coming year. Postcards will be displayed in the Collis Center during Orientation. You can send your postcard to the address below.

Dartmouth Orientation Team
6181 Collis Center Suite 303
Hanover, NH 03755

SO – with our commitment to your successful transition in mind, I will continue to write to you in the weeks leading up to Orientation. Be sure to bookmark this page; I will post little pieces of advice or recommendations that resonate with me personally. Sometimes the posting will be something that is on my mind; other times it may be an update on Orientation. Mostly, the Office of Student Life and I want to put a face to the communication you receive and help guide your introduction to Dartmouth.

To help me formulate my blog, I want to extend an invitation to you: ENGAGE. Let me know what you're thinking and feeling. Share your hopes and dreams, and your fears and questions — especially your questions. You may find that your questions shape a future posting.

Take care and talk again soon!


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Post One | May 19, 2019

Hello incoming students!

Let me first introduce myself: I'm Eric Ramsey, and while I wear a few different hats at Dartmouth, right now you'll know me as the Director of New Student Orientation.

Your official Dartmouth "new student" communication has begun! I hope you have claimed your account and started working on the Pre-Arrival Instructions and Checklist via DartHub Pre-Arrival.

Here in Student Life, we are about to go silent for a few weeks. We'll be as busy as you: while you are finishing your academic year, we are graduating Dartmouth's great Class of 2019 – and then we will all catch our breath!

We'll talk to you again in July. Until then, we wish you the best possible conclusion to your secondary school careers and some well-deserved rest and celebration.


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