Tuesday, March 29, 2011


...and spring term is here! I honestly can't believe I'm only a term away from finishing my first year at Dartmouth. It's unreal. Winter term was practically over before it started, and I spent my spring break at home with my dog, watching movies and sleeping until 3 pm every day. Unfortunately, I'm already tired of waking up early... I'm trying to avoid becoming the nocturnal caffeine monster I was at the end of winter term, but let's just see how that pans out come finals.

Thankfully, my leg has FINALLY healed, so I can walk around campus with two shoes for the first time since starting at Dartmouth. I swear people don't recognize me without my crutches and boot, and I think my a cappella group will always refer to me as Boot. But I'm so relieved to finally be able to enjoy Dartmouth's campus without worrying about my leg. I think I'll even get my first P.E. credit this term? Only problem is that after not walking on my leg for... 8 months, all the muscle is literally gone. My leg is now a piece of bone and skin, and it's unbelievably sore every night. Hopefully physical therapy will bring me back to normal?

Finally, an update on the new dining hall. It's really nice, but SOOOO crowded, especially during the dinner-time rush around 7 pm. Hopefully the crowds will die down soon? It's actually difficult to find a seat sometimes, but once all the seating areas are open again in the fall, I think everything will be back to normal.

ALSO, good luck to everybody who hears from Dartmouth today at 5 pm! I'm crossing my fingers for all of you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I realize I haven't even addressed the point of coming to college: the classes!

Fall term I took:

  • Math 23 - Differential Equations 
  • Writing 5
  • Biology 11
Of the three, my favorite by far was Writing 5. The class is a introductory writing class required of most Dartmouth freshman. Each different section of the class focuses on a different topic, but the overall primary purpose of the course is improving student writing. Mine was on medical ethics, and I only decided to take it on a whim. However, the readings were fascinating and surprisingly eye-opening. My professor, Andrea Kremer, led wonderful discussions, and she was absolutely dedicated to helping out her students. Everyone had 30-minute one-on-one conferences with her to go over each essay before the due date, and she consistently made herself available to meet student demand. Overall, I loved the class, and I feel like my academic writing improved significantly in a period of only ten weeks.

The other two courses were much more traditional lecture courses. Bio 11 was huge (~170 students), and it's probably one of the biggest classes I'll take here. Here's a link to an explanation of what Bio 11 actually is - it's not at all like normal introductory biology. Math 23 was a normal math class: lots of lectures and problem sets. As a possible math major, I really enjoyed the class.

This winter, my classes are:
  • My Freshman Seminar: The Pentagon Papers
  • Spanish 10
  • Biology 13
I'll write more about these courses closer to the end of the term!

The Perfect College Town

Last week I got really sick for my first time at Dartmouth. I woke up on Sunday with a bad fever, chills, aches, and a sore throat: the classic symptoms of the flu. I tried to go to class on Monday, and after suffering through Spanish, I decided to get myself checked out at Dick's House. Shockingly, I had a 103.1 degree fever, and I quarantined myself to my dorm room. I did not leave my room once on Tuesday, and instead spent the whole day watching the entire first season of Dexter (12 hour-long episodes from start to finish). It was a lazy day.

My mom, being the worrier she is, was freaking out over how I'd be able to get anything to eat. Living in the River, being sick, and having to walk on crutches make eating a difficult feat. So my mom decided to call Lou's, a restaurant in Hanover, and beg them to bring me food. Apparently my mom and the owner really connected, because she ended up bringing me a care package of food and drinks all the way to my dorm. She even walked up three flights of stairs to help me get everything to my room. The restaurant doesn't normally deliver, but the owner was willing to bring me food on her own time to ensure I could eat.

Obviously, Dartmouth and Hanover really do go hand in hand. The town is such a part of the Dartmouth experience, and I've already started to feel such a connection to this tiny place.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Break

I'm back at Dartmouth and finally taking the time to write a new post!

Winter break was fun, but also strangely exhausting. All in all, I was so ready to head back to Hanover by the end.

The Dodecs always go on a winter tour, and this year we chose to get away from the cold by visiting Miami and Key West. When we left Hanover on December 9th, weather.com actually reported a temperature of 3 degrees. Miami was... in the 80s? It was wonderful. We spent about a week in a hotel right on Miami beach, splitting four rooms between the 13 of us. Obviously, we spent as much time as possible on the beach, but we also had a lot of fun singing  at various venues - alumni clubs, schools, restaurants, etc. Here's a great picture of us after a high school performance. We're looking out over the water at the Miami skyline:

After Miami we drove about four hours to spend two nights in Key West. Our hotel was incredibly nice, and once again, situated right on the water. And I think we stayed there for free (maybe it was just a discount) because we performed for the hotel guests. On the last day in Key West, a friend and I spent our final hour lounging by the pool. I couldn't help but feel lucky that after only one term in college, Dartmouth had already let me spent ten days vacationing and singing basically for free. I only had to pay for meals and my flight home!

ALSO! In Key West we met one of early decision admits to the class of 2015! She was from Isla Morada, and I can't believe Dartmouth already has some 15s! In case you haven't figured out, Dartmouth loves prospies (prospective students), and we all were so excited to welcome the ED-admit to our school.

After tour was over, I flew back home (after being stuck in the airport for 8 hours...) and finally got some time to relax. I saw my most of my friends from home, celebrated Christmas with my family, and didn't have to worry about schoolwork at all. However, because of tour I only had two weeks at home, and I had to rush to get in time for all my friends.

Coming back to Hanover was great, and I already feel like I've been here forever. I just finished with my first class of the winter, and I had no trouble getting back into the academic routine. Unfortunately, I'm on crutches because of a stress fracture in my leg, and I have to survive two more weeks of limited mobility. I'm currently holed up in the library because it's just not feasible for me to head back to the River (SO FAR from everything else). I guess that's a legitimate excuse to have already spent hours in the library after the first day of class...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baby Show

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, but I never got around to it until now! Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, my a cappella group (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dodecs - the site now has my picture!) held our first on-campus show of the year: our baby show. All the upperclassmen refer to us new members as "babies," and the first show is meant to feature the freshmen.

The upperclassmen had previously told us babies that everybody in the group dresses in flair (see my first post) for the baby show, so on the night of the show the other freshmen and I show up to Collis (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~sao/) looking completely ridiculous.

I was wearing:

  • Orange swim trunks
  • A stretchy, skin-tight, blue polka-dotted shirt
  • A shiny pink vest
  • Elmo slippers
  • A tiger hat meant for a child, complete with ear-flaps
  • Angel wings
Again, I looked ridiculous. 

Soon after meeting up with the rest of the group, we quickly found out that the other group members had somehow "forgotten" their flair in their rooms and had all coincidentally decided to dress in jeans and black shirts. Of course that makes sense. They had successfully tricked us, but I didn't care at all. Flair is so common at Dartmouth, people get used to seeing giant banana suits (not even joking) walk through FoCo (the food court). Besides, it was my first time wearing flair, so I felt like I had successfully completed a Dartmouth rite of passage.

When we got to Sigma Delt (a local sorority; we have shows at fraternities/sororities multiple times a term), the place was PACKED. We could barely squeeze through the door, and once we entered, everybody started cheering and screaming. The atmosphere was electrifying, and the place erupted after every song. The other babies and I performed Justin Bieber's "Baby" with new lyrics to introduce ourselves to the crowd, and I swear we would have gotten cheers just from smiling -- the atmosphere was that exciting. 

And this definitely wasn't unique to my a capella group. I went to a lot of the other freshman shows, and every one had the same kind of turnout.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's Getting Colder...

Currently, weather.com informs me to expect a 60% chance of snow showers tonight. It's November 7th. I'm from Virginia. Snow shouldn't fall until late December.

Although I know I haven't yet experienced the true cold, I'm already scared. I find it almost unbearable to bike home from the library late at night, and gloves are a necessity. At home, I never actually had to experience the cold. I quickly ran from warm place to the next warm place--my home to my car, my car to school, etc. My forays outside were infrequent, short, and bearable. Unfortunately, that's not possible at Dartmouth. I actually have to walk to class (unless I can dupe Safety and Security into transporting me because of my stress-fractured leg). And even though I realize it's only early November, I'm already feeling the cold.

I wonder what January's going to feel like.


Biking around on campus on Friday before the bonfire, I could legitimately feel the spirit on campus. Everybody was wearing green, and the campus suddenly seemed crowded due to the influx of visiting alumni. Plus, the leaves had suddenly decided to change colors the day before, so the beautiful New England Fall had just hit campus. In short, I could sense Dartmouth's excitement for Homecoming.

Looking back on the weekend, I can say that both the freshman sweep and the bonfire were both unforgettable experiences (Homecoming traditions: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~shmen/dartmouthtraditions.html). Since I live in the farthest dorm cluster, my dorm-mates and I started the sweep. Therefore, I was at the front of the pack once all the other freshmen had joined. Whenever I happened to look behind me, all I could see was a sea of (Big) Green. Literally everybody in the parade was cheering and yelling, and I felt such a strong bond to my whole class. Perhaps the most exciting moment of the sweep occurred while marching through Hanover. Every time we passed by a group of town residents, they would respond enthusiastically by cheering and waving. It was obvious they were so excited to witness the initiation of another freshman class at Dartmouth.

After the sweep, we all marched into the center of the green and waited for the bonfire to be lit. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about the fire. In case you don't know, it's Dartmouth tradition for a mob of upperclassmen to surround the bonfire and taunt the racing freshmen. I'd heard stories about jewelry getting ripped off, people getting tripped, and even clothes melting from the heat (doubtful?). I'd even recently read an article in the D (http://thedartmouth.com/2010/10/15/news/bonfire), claiming that some upperclassmen wanted to change the whole bonfire experience because it was too stressful for some freshmen. Although all my older friends assured me that I would never forget the bonfire, I still found myself a little scared/nervous as the fire started to creep up the wooden structure. To top it all off, I'm currently in a walking cast because of a stress fracture, so I really didn't want to be forced to run at all.

Thankfully, the bonfire did not live up it's (dreadful?) expectations. Sure, the upperclassmen screamed at us, but I had just as much fun yelling back at them and being proud of my class! No, my clothes did not melt, and traffic jams of people gave me the opportunity to hobble around the fire a few times before anybody could actually run. Upperclassmen in my a cappella group even sprinted into the ring to do a lap with me!

Homecoming was the first time I witnessed the depth of the student body's passion for Dartmouth. It couldn't be any more accurate that everyone here LOVES Dartmouth, and I know I feel exactly the same way.

P.S. the bonfire was HUGE. Here's a picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dartmouthflickr/5128189653/