lone pine
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Julie with the Dartmouth pumpkins

As the end of my first term in college arrives, a retrospective, reflective kind of mood has got to me. One year ago, as I clicked submit on my Common App, I would never have imagined my freshman fall would have been like this. I took classes in departments I didn't even know existed; joined clubs I had never thought about before; I met the most exceptional and unique people; and, lastly, I applied for the most fun and rewarding campus job: writing for People Places Pines.

Personally, not much has been going on in my life these past two weeks. I have been studying hard for my finals and hanging out with my friends before we have to say bye — especially as some depart to a term off-campus. Although I have finally fallen into a routine — with a set time to wake up and go to bed, classes and clubs to attend, places to be, and people to see — I find myself excited to leave. Of course, I'll miss the campus, the people, the social scene, and, to be honest, my classes. Nonetheless, I feel like the time has come for me to step away, regather with the people I love, and prepare for winter term!

Thinking back to September, I was surprised to see that Darmouth was not what I expected. I wasn't disappointed, to be clear. But I very genuinely had pictured a whole other thing. I had done some research before applying: I knew I was signing up to be surrounded by woods for the next four years; that classes would be academically challenging; that I would have to adapt to a whole new environment and culture. But, when all of this hit, it was still a surprise. What I had failed to predict, however, was how supportive the college community would be. Because of the friends I made here, going through all of this was much easier. And here I include not only my friends from the class '25, but also the upperclass students I had the opportunity to hang out with and the faculty members who have so dearly helped me.

One of the best advices I got this year came from my faculty advisor, prof. Michele Tine. During the course selection process, she told me that, in my freshman fall, I should allow myself to explore. And so I did. I took classes that had nothing to do with my intended major and signed up for clubs that I had never seen myself in, but where I ended up meeting some of my best friends. I am overall really happy with my term and, through this blog, I can now find a little journal of my time here. My heart is full of joy when I come back to read the stories I have shared with you all, and I hope 2022 brings many more of these!

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