To the '24s,
While I waste my (admittedly ample) freetime in quarantine vying for fifteen seconds of TikTok fame, my heart honestly goes out to you. It's your senior year, and I'm sorry it had to end like this.
On the other hand, I envy you and your fresh pair of eyes. You're about to start some of the most magical years of your life at one of the most fun, whimsical, and intellectually challenging colleges. It's exciting! And I cannot wait to welcome you all to campus in the fall.
In this window of time before you meet the majestic New Hampshire wild, I wanted to write you all a welcome note of sorts so you have even more to look forward to when we can all be within six feet of each other again:
First of all, congratulations!! You've probably gotten this a lot already, but going to Dartmouth is a big deal! You got the acceptance letter, thought long and hard, and now you've committed! I still get a little giddy sometimes when I walk across the Green, and I'm almost a senior (that feels crazy to say, I still feel like I just got here).
I'm sure you have a lot of questions. I know I did. Some of my most salient ones were: what will my life look like? What will my Dartmouth experience be? Unfortunately, those are the questions I can't answer with any certainty. No one can... except your future self. You are special (as obnoxiously cliche as that sounds), and because you're so special, you will have a Dartmouth experience that's unlike anyone elses. Thankfully, there is a vague prediction I can give you based on my own Dartmouth experience: you will try (and sometimes fail at) totally new things.
From the moment I initially stepped foot on campus for my DOC First-Year Trips adventure, I got to try something new: manning a sailboat (can't say I was very good, but I had fun!) From there, I walked onto the Parliamentary Debate Team with zero public speaking experience whatsoever and started pursuing a major in a subject I'd previously known nothing about. As a Dartmouth student, I've had the chance to travel to South Africa to judge an international debate competition, conduct economic policy research as a White House (Council of Economic Advisors) intern, and design a mobile app that helps psychologists correlate exercise with cognitive performance at the DALI Lab. All of these novel experiences have given me the incredible opportunity to pursue many identities: a student, debater, blogger, traveller, researcher... I am lucky to have been able add so much more to who I am since I became a Dartmouth student.
I'm not sure what your life at Dartmouth will be exactly, but I know you will be continually pushed to learn more about just how much you don't know. Even today, near the end of my junior year as I write this blog post 2,000 miles away from Hanover, I'm pushed to learn and grow each day in this virtual classroom format. Last week, as I had virtual coffee with an old professor turned inspirational mentor, I realized that I never really left Dartmouth. Sure I'm not on campus, but I still get a whole new Dartmouth experience: one that still includes the same incredible professors and friends just a click away.
So to you, dear '24s: you have so much to look forward to, especially in the wake of all this uncertainty. After all, that uncertainty is what makes the Dartmouth experience so special.
Finally, I'd like to end with this: welcome home, '24s!