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the view of a snow-covered Baker Library at Dartmouth College during the winter

I am usually not the biggest fan of winter terms; growing up in one of the hottest parts of a country with a tropical climate, I'm still not very used to the cold after nearly three years here. However, as I conclude my junior winter and prepare for my last few terms at Dartmouth, I've realized that this has been one of my most fulfilling and gratifying terms at Dartmouth. I've really challenged myself academically and socially and successfully gone out of my comfort zone in many ways.

Academically, I was quite nervous at the beginning of the term to retake an econometrics class I had withdrawn from during my sophomore winter. When I took the class last year, I was not performing as well as I would have liked to. I believed that I would be able to improve my performance if I withdrew and retook the class at another time. However, I was still nervous about how I would perform in the class a second time. Taking the class with a friend, spending more time at the TA and professor's office hours, working on problem sets more diligently, and revising for exams meticulously made me enjoy and understand the class material a lot more than I had before. I also made the intentional decision to reduce my extracurricular commitments—such as research and tutoring—in order to spend more on class material that I knew I found difficult. Feeling comfortable in an econometrics class, a core requirement for my economics major, also made me much more excited and confident about subsequent economics classes I would take.

a picture of a graphic describing how to complete an economics thesis at Dartmouth

Aside from this class, I also took a history class on modern Southern Africa as well as a government class on Africa's international affairs. My history class gave me the opportunity to learn in-depth about crucial moments in Southern Africa's contemporary history while engaging with thoughtful and interesting reading materials, including films, documentaries, autobiographies, and academic articles. I was also able to connect several of the themes from this class with the rest of my African Studies major. Despite having taken several African Studies classes at Dartmouth, my government class was the first one I had taken within Dartmouth's government department. It does not directly count towards the African Studies major, and I mostly elected it out of pure interest. However, it gave me valuable insights into how the field of political science approaches Africa's world affairs.

This term also gave me the opportunity to make new friendships several terms into my Dartmouth career. As much as the D-Plan gives students a lot of academic freedom and flexibility, it can also be tough not to be on campus at the same time as your closest friends, especially during junior year when many people have formed close relationships. However, divergent D-Plans can also remind you just how many friendly and incredible new people you can meet at Dartmouth. This term, I met new people through my classes, became more involved in my Greek organization, joined new student groups, signed up for random activities, and just became more open-minded and outgoing. 

some members of a sorority at Dartmouth posing for a picture

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