The Dartmouth Bubble
After being back home in Chicago for three weeks now, I've had lots of time to re-adjust to life outside of campus. It's a little bit strange, as I spent the last 4 months in Hanover: a far cry from the bustle of the Chicagoland area. I expect the shift back to Hanover to be equally as strange - not in a bad way, but in the sense that Hanover is so significantly different from my suburban sprawl.
When I first arrived in Hanover, I was surprised to see how isolated the campus was. While there is a road with shops, restaurants, and a CVS right beside campus, the nearest Walmart, for example, is a decent car ride. Because of this, Dartmouth is frequently described as being a 'bubble.' While on campus, I felt a little bit isolated from the outside world; while the Dartmouth Coach is constantly shuttling in and out of campus, it can often feel like Dartmouth is a world of its own. This has its pros and cons, and I will go over them in this article.
I'll begin with the positives. Because Dartmouth is a bubble, everything I need is a couple of minutes' walk away. Food, laundry, groceries, etc are all within walking distance and I don't need to worry about public transportation to get these needs. Moreover, as a product of its 'bubbleness,' I've formed closer relationships with my classmates because we have the opportunity to bond through the isolation of the campus. This is a tremendous opportunity to really get to know people, as opposed to building superficial relationships centered around materialistic things. To expand on this, the sense of community at Dartmouth is largely enhanced by its rural nature, and I often feel connected to my peers, my professors, and the campus itself because of how familiar everything begins to feel after a few weeks. Furthermore, the Dartmouh Coach serves as a literal and figurative outlet to the isolatory nature of campus, as there are constantly shuttles going to cities like Boston or New York which allow for tons of recreational activities.
However, there are a number of negative aspects that come with the isolation of campus. Multiple times throughout my first term (particularly towards the end of the term as stress amped up), I felt that there was no escape to campus and college culture. It's easy to get into a work-dominant cycle or to get tired of being surrounded by the same people and environment every day, which is why it is important to find personal means by which to relax. For example, I took up the mandolin on campus to give me a way to relax and have some personal time when stress increased. These stress-management strategies largely helped alleviate the issues caused by the Dartmouth bubble.
With 3 weeks left in winterim, I'll be sure to take advantage of this time to relax and rejuvenate before the winter term. I hope to further share the experiences of my winterim and further terms at Dartmouth with everybody!