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Montreal buildings

This weekend, some friends and I took a day trip to Montreal! If you've read my previous posts, you know that many students like taking advantage of the great weather during sophomore summer to do some road trips with friends. Since Montreal is only a 3-hour drive from campus, it is an excellent opportunity to see an unfamiliar city. The chance to experience a different country was lots of fun for me and my friends.

I wasn't expecting Montreal to be much different from U.S. cities—like New York and Boston—since it is so close. However, I was shocked to see so many significant differences in demographics, urban planning, fashion, and other cultural details. It definitely felt more European than American, and I really enjoyed the city's cosmopolitan and diverse nature. Furthermore, being in a dominantly French-speaking city so close to home was fascinating. 

Group photo at the botanical garden in Montreal
My friends and I at the botanical garden in Montreal!

Since we had to cross the border to get there, all of us had to have our passports. We left campus at 6 am on Saturday and arrived in Montreal at around 9:30 am. This gave us the time to get some morning bagels, check out a botanical garden, and explore different parts of the city. As the day went on, we spent more time exploring the different parts of downtown Montreal. After being in Hanover for eight weeks, this trip was a nice way to take a quick break from Dartmouth's campus. 

For me, a highlight was trying poutine, a Quebecois dish consisting of fries, gravy, cheese curds, and various meats. In general, the food was excellent across the city! While Dartmouth has a breadth of dining options, I find eating from the same dining halls every day can get a bit repetitive. Breaking up the routine felt great, especially right before finals period rolls around and it is time for me to lock in academically!

Since Dartmouth can feel intense academically due to the fast pace of the quarter system, I think students must allow themselves to take breaks. Being surrounded by high-achieving students, I can sometimes feel pressured to work constantly and center my life around school. However, I have found it's very important to value and prioritize things outside of school and work, such as friendships and having fun. Making an effort to do so this term has made me more well-rounded, fulfilled, and given me a clearer mind to determine the things I value and focus on daily. I urge prospective and incoming students to prioritize a school-life balance, as I think maintaining one can help in all aspects of life!

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