Shot of the north end of campus from the top of Baker Tower
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Campus photo with trees with different types of fall leaves

As my first fall comes to an end, I wanted to take the time to reflect on my journey during my first term at Dartmouth.

I arrived on campus and got to settle in on campus a month before most of my peers through FYSEP (First Year Student Enrichment Program), a pre-orientation program designed specifically for first-generation, low-income students.

FYSEP was really awesome! I got to familiarize myself with a campus I had never visited in person, as well as get to know other first-year students who came from similar backgrounds. When the rest of my peers began arriving in late August, I felt reassured in the fact that I knew most of Dartmouth's campus inside and out, and I had gotten to know and forge friendships with my FYSEP cohort. I know plenty of people who are still extremely close with people from FYSEP; others are not. I personally find happiness in randomly bumping into someone from FYSEP, saying hi, and stopping for a brief conversation before parting ways to classes and whatnot.

FYSEP group picture standing in front of nature background
FYSEP trip to Nathan's Garden, a peaceful and secluded garden on the outskirts of campus! (Mosquitos were very prevalent and may or may not have been harmed in the making of this image.)

After FYSEP came orientation and trips! I am glad to have met my fellow trippees and trip leaders, and it's nice saying hi to them on a regular basis whenever we bump into each other around campus! You can read more about my specific first-year trips experience here.

Before I knew it, classes began. I had no idea what I wanted to major in (and still don't!), so I decided to sign up for classes that I thought sounded interesting, while also making sure that I wasn't overwhelming myself during my first term at Dartmouth.

This fall, I decided to take Latin 3, COSC 10, and PHIL 1.08. While these may seem like random acronyms and numbers to you, allow me to elaborate.

Latin 3: This is the 3rd class in the Latin sequence, following Latin 1 and Latin 2. I found that I really enjoyed Latin in high school, so I decided to continue my study of the language here at Dartmouth. We read and translated texts in small groups from a variety of authors, ranging from Martial to Catullus, and continued learning about Roman culture and lifestyle.

Small book with Latin text
Our class visited the Rauner Special Collections Library, where we got to handle and read actual Latin texts and manuscripts!

COSC 10 – Problem Solving via Object-Oriented Programming: This has been my most challenging class this term, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been fun! COSC 10 is mostly lecture-based, meaning the professor taught us coding concepts during class, while we applied the concepts we learned through short assignments and problem sets. Every week, I attended recitation, an which is a smaller session hosted by a TA where they give one small coding assignment for us to complete within an hour or so. In this class, I learned how to code in Java, and created cool projects ranging from a webcam painting program, to a rudimentary drawing software.

An illustration created digitally from a rudimentary drawing software programmed for an assignment for COSC 10. The 3 drawings in this image feature a certain penguin character of questionable intentions alongside various other…entities against a predomin
A recent assignment for COSC 10 was to code a rudimentary drawing software that could draw basic shapes, such as ellipses, rectangles, lines, and scribbles. A friend of mine from my FYSEP cohort created a beautiful and compelling masterpiece with said program.

Last but certainly not least is PHIL 1.08 - The Philosophy of Time and Time Travel. I've never taken any sort of philosophy class before coming to Dartmouth, but I always have been interested in time travel, science fiction, and dystopia. This has definitely been my favorite class so far! I gained a deeper understanding of phenomena such as the Grandfather Paradox, and learned that there are a variety of different theories of time and whether the past, present, and future exist according to those theories. In what other class would I have gotten to read, discuss, debate, and write about time travel for a solid 10 weeks?

After some careful reflecting, I also made the decision to take a PE/wellness credit class called Learning at Dartmouth. Coming from a high school where classes lasted all year and were not challenging in the least, I felt unprepared for the academic rigor and fast-paced nature of the quarter system here. Learning at Dartmouth proved to be useful; I learned efficient note-taking strategies, active ways to study, and really analyzing a test or an exam so I could improve in the future. I consistently use these strategies in my other academic classes, and they are both useful and effective!

Schedule of classes for freshman fall
My class schedule this fall!


My fall has been a roller coaster in the best possible way. There is so much to do and so much to explore, yet there are also plenty of opportunities to take some time away and just relax! I've challenged myself, went outside of my comfort zone, and forged strong friendships. I cannot wait to further discover myself through the rest of my first year!

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