pumpkins spelling Dartmouth
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Yesterday, having dinner with Sarishka, a fellow Dartmouth ’20 and one of my best friends since middle school, I mentioned having felt sad that afternoon. She knows I have a tendency towards occasional lackluster moments and immediately gave me a hug. “Sarah,” she said, “if that happens again, if you ever need to talk—“ So many of my friends have made that offer. I have made that offer to so many friends. “If you ever need an open ear—“ “If you ever need someone—“ “If you ever need a hug—“ “Please, please, please call me!” The offers are nothing if not earnest. We’ve all spent afternoons under storm clouds; we all want to protect our friends from the rain. When in the downpour ourselves, however, we are downright horrible at reaching for umbrellas. Happy to help others, we fear “burdening” friends by asking for help ourselves. I tell you right now: ditch that idea by the side of the road. Shove it into the mud puddle, speed down the highway, and don’t check your mirrors for miles. The most valuable lesson I learned last year (more valuable even than my realization that bathroom humor hasn’t changed in millennia--thank you, THEA 15: Classical and Medieval Theater!), is to go to friends for emotional support.

girls with maple sugar cone
Meet Katrina, the world's most thoughtful listener and best question-asker. She also gives amazing hugs.
Trust me: college friends are special. While I’m showing my bias, I would say Dartmouth College friends are really special. There’s a spirit here, of adventurousness and curiosity but also of compassion, that breeds recognition that we’re all in this together—that life’s a climb, but the view is great. (Don’t you just love Disney music?)
two girls before bonfire
Here's Lauren and I after running 120 laps around the Homecoming Bonfire last fall. She's my go-to for runs and Harry Potter analysis -- sometimes at the same time.
One of my clearest memories from last spring is walking through the raw evening, through moon and mist and stars, venting to a best friend on what had bothered me for weeks. Her insight untangled knots ten phone calls home had not been able to untie. Another memory, from the following month, is hugging another friend, in the student center, for five minutes straight, my head on his shoulder in complete disregard for whether passerby could see. Five months later, just this evening, two seconds of my friends’ dinner conversation chaos banished all the afternoon's melancholia. If laughter is the best medicine, then friends—for me, Dartmouth friends—are the best doctors, no question.
friends in crazy clothes
Some of my favorite people on this campus...and some of their more creative outfits. The two in sunglasses put together an end-of-year paper-plate awards "banquet" just for fun. This group never fails to make me laugh--and think!
Which is just one of the many reasons why what I love best about Dartmouth is its people—or, more accurately, my people. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find said people and give them a hug.