Transitioning from Public School to the ~Ivy League~
Like many of my classmates, Dartmouth is the first private school I've ever gone to. At first, that idea was pretty daunting because, coming from a small Southern town, the vast majority of people I know don't travel more than a few hours away for college. For a long time, I imagined Dartmouth as a place with unbelievably smart students and unattainably high standards. I didn't really believe going to Dartmouth was possible until I actually got in. Still, sometimes I feel weird about being in a place so different from many of my hometown friends, but over my first year on campus, I've learned to adjust and here are my tips for anyone in a similar situation:
1. Shifting My Mindset
Like many people, regardless of their background, at times I've felt myself feeling like an imposter. I used to think "Why me? Out of the thousands of people who applied, why did I get in?" I know I am hardworking and curious, but that didn't stop the thoughts. Now, when I catch myself thinking the way, I try to reframe my thoughts with gratitude. Instead of "Why me?" I ask, "How can I make the most of the opportunities I've been given?" If you also come from a background that makes Dartmouth feel a bit foreign, I encourage you to recognize your worth and to practice gratitude for the doors open for you here.
2. Connect With Others
A large part of college is learning to build your own communities and support systems. For me, that has meant meeting upperclassmen through sports and becoming friends with my floormates. For some of my friends, building a community has meant connecting with peers of similar cultural backgrounds. Others attended FYSEP, a pre-orientation designed to help transitions to college for students from underrepresented communities.
3. Get Ready to Work Hard!
Academics at Dartmouth are challenging, there's no getting around it. Especially, if you come from a place that's super different than a private, elite college campus, classes can be daunting. It's important to keep in mind that you are fully capable of doing the work, even if it means having to work far harder than you did in high school. Especially for the first term, it will be super important for you to rely on your support systems.