Autumn Dinh's D-PlanWhat's a D-Plan?
FallOn CampusFavorite Class: JAPN 1 - First Year Japanese
I just love my professor and my classmates! (I had to wake up at 7:15 everyday to go to drill, but it was totally worth it) We were so close that we had breakfast together every morning, and called ourselves the Brekky Club!
WinterOn CampusFavorite Class: FILM 33 - Screenwriting 1
I've always loved writing scripts and seeing my writing being materialized into several scenes, so I thought this class would be perfect. Also, I'd love to take up some challenges in my second term at Dartmouth!
First day in TOKYO!!!
Yessss! I'm finally in Tokyo!! I just moved into my host family's this afternoon, but in the first two days, the whole squad and I stayed at a really nice hotel and visited most of the tourist-y places around Tokyo.
My Japanese final project -- starring us!
It's amazing how this felt very scary at the beginning of this term, but now I can easily write a 11-page move script in Japanese with barely any help from Google Translate or any kind of dictionary.
Testing out our Japanese skills with native speakers
Last Wednesday, we had a very unique Japnaese LSA+ (study abroad) orientation: we had a Skype conferen
Paperwork is Easy!!!
Okay. That's an exaggeration (at least for me). Paperwork may not be easy, but it's doable at Dartmouth because there are a lot of resources to help you complete all those forms with all those super ambiguous professional phrases.
- No. 1
So international '22s, you're about to receive a very heavy package which has all the information you need to know about your F1 visa from Marcia Calloway, your visa consultant at Dartmouth. Take a deep breath (you'll need it), buy a coffee, and spare a leisurely summer morning to go through each page carefully. Marcia will probably highlight all the important categories for you, but I suggest you make your own notes of the required documents so that you won't have to keep referring to those intimidating and densely-written papers. After that, make all the calls you need and start processing. You should expect that the whole thing may even take you two to three weeks, so plan smartly and start early because you won't want to spend your entire last summer before college at home stressing over your visa. If you have questions, email Marcia; you can find her contact in the business card she attaches with the package or on the OVIS website. The best thing about Marcia is that she responds to emails very quickly, and she's one the best resources at Dartmouth for international students because she knows everything about visas and immigration. My last piece of advice is to double check all your documents carefully before you go to the visa interview or leave home for Dartmouth. Last summer, I forgot my ID card when I went to my visa interview and was almost late for my appointment (I legit almost cried because it was already late July and my traveling schedule in August was very heavy, so that day was basically my only chance to have the interview). You may feel very stressed about the visa application process, but things all work out in the end, so don't freak out too much like I did.
- No. 2
Bank account and I-9, W-4 forms and Social Security Number
In September, you'll arrive on campus and get super excited about starting classes and meeting new friends. Your inbox will be exploding with tons and tons of invitations to club meetings, events, and on-campus work opportunities. If you want to earn some extra money to satiate your online-shopping cravings (trust me), those work opportunities are perfect for you. So you'll get a job and will be looking forward to your first paycheck. But before getting paid, there is some paperwork waiting for you! First, open a bank account. There will be an information session about that during Orientation, so definitely go and ask questions! Most students on campus use Bank of America, which is right on South Main Street so it's very convenient. Make an appointment on the bank's website, then show up with your passport and I-20, and you'll have a bank account after one hour. Easy right? Next, go to the Payroll Office at 7 Lebanon Street and ask about the I-9 and W-4 forms. Your employer will email you all the necessary details, so you don't have to memorize all the details in my blog. The people at the Payroll Office will walk you through the forms super carefully, so don't panic if you don't know what to fill in in each box. The office closes at 3 p.m, and things are busy in September, so make sure you have time to get the forms done quickly. The last thing is the Social Security Number -- during Orientation, people will tell you that it isn't mandatory, but you'll need it to file your taxes in spring term, and it is mandatory to do that. OVIS has two trips to the Social Security office in the fall and possibly one in the winter, so look out for OVIS's emails (they're super important) and sign up for the trips because seats fill up quickly. Before the trip, Marcia will send you an email about necessary documents and even help you double check everything before you hop on the bus, so you shouldn't have any problem applying for an SSN.
- No. 3
File your Taxes
Around the middle of Winter term, I received a very very long email from Marcia or OVIS about filing taxes. I freaked out when I received the email, because I didn't understand anything written in all those intimidating forms. Don't be like me, and read Marcia's email carefully. She'll say that Dartmouth has purchased a tax prep app called Glacier, which basically fills out the forms for you, so tax filing is actually pretty easy at Dartmouth. It only took me half an hour to complete all the forms with the app, so phewww!
The sun is back in Hanover!!!
Finally spring is back in Hanover! This morning, I felt extra motivated to leave for my drill class at 7:45 am because (1) it was sooooo sunny outside and I could wear T-shirt and shorts without freezing and (2) it's second dimensions!!
"Constructive feedback" - it's not that scary!
I'm a shy person, so I used to have a very hard time receiving feedback in front of many people -- like my face would turn completely red because of embarrassment, and I would have to fake an awkward smile to the person sitting next to me to prete
- No. 1
Pair workshopping in my writing class
In Writing 2-3, I did a lot of pair-workshopping with both my classmates and my TA. At first, I was super nervous when I saw another person reading and marking comments on my paper. It wasn't that I hated comments: I was just really scared of the idea of having someone read my paper in my presence, like I was afraid they would laugh at or judge me. However, I realized they would never do that. They were always very careful with their words when giving feedback while still able to keep the quality of the comments. I think the key point was that my class was a safe place, and no one would negatively judge me from a draft of my paper. Moreover, when my friends and my TA gave me feedback, I realized that they truly wanted me to improve. I've gradually gotten used to receiving feedback directly from my classmates.
- No. 2
Having my scripts read out loud in class
Last term, I took Film 33, and the class was basically workshopping everyday. At the beginning of the term, I would send my assignment to my professor and my classmates and the next day everyone would give me comments in class. I didn't struggle that much receiving those comments, partly because I got used to it in my Writing 2-3 class. However, when we progressed into writing actual scripts, I had to assign characters to my classmates and have them act out my script, which felt like a nightmare. My heart was racing and my eyes were sticking to the table every single time my script was read, especially when someone was reading an awkward dialogue. But my classmates were very thoughtful with reading out each other's scripts. They corrected my occasional typos when they were reading so that my scripts didn't sound messy. And they even added intonation to the dialogue to make the script more dramatic and realisitc. Even when they gave me feedback afterward, they always made their comments cheeky and casual so that I would feel more comfortable. I really appreciated their thoughtfulness and also came to realize that having my scripts read out loud in front of my class was not that bad.
- No. 3
My professor picked my paper to show to the entire class
In the first day of my First-Year Seminar class, my professor said, "In this class, after you all submit your papers, I will randomly pick one of them for the entire class to comment on together." And yes, the first paper to be put on the front-line was mine - and the paper wasn't even anonymous. (How lucky!)
I was basically horrified. I don't really know any other way to describe my feelings then. However, a girl sitting next to me turned to me and smiled, "You got this!." I really appreciated the fact that she was trying to make me feel better, so I took a deep breath and smiled back at her. And when everyone was staring at the screen and reading my paper (my professor didn't even print it out -- he projected it on the screen!), I gave myself a pep talk: "It's gonna be okay. It's just one hour. And right after that it'll all be in the past. And tomorrow you'll look back at it and laugh it off with your friends. It's not a big deal." And I did feel a little better. And my one hour of receiving feedback didn't feel that bad. I guess the key point is that, if you start looking at feedback positively, it isn't that scary.
It took me more than two terms at Dartmouth to figure that out. And even though I'm pretty sure that I'll still freak out the next time I have my essay screened in front of the entire class, I'll treat it as more an improving opportunity than a nightmare. Moreover, I think that Dartmouth students benefit a lot from regularly receiving feedbacks in class. After college - which now I consider a safe place - we will receive a lot more feedbacks from all kinds of people and circumstances, and a lot of them will be much harsher than the feedbacks we receive from our professors and classmates in a writing class. Therefore, I believe that by having students getting used to feedbacks, Dartmouth professors are not only training the students' mentality, but also urging them to perceiving those feedbacks as opportunities to grow.
Tokyo this summer - How did that happen??
!!! Attention here 22s !!! Dartmouth will take you anywhere in the world !!!
From absolutely no experience in academic writing to nomination for freshman writing prize
My spring term started with an email from my Writing 2-3 professor, announcing that my final paper from last term was nominated for The Albert I.
The Dartmouth - America's oldest college newspaper - is one of the major reasons that urged me to apply to Dartmouth ED!