lone pine
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Last winter

It's surreal that two terms of my freshman year already swung by. The last six months were filled with important lessons and personal growth. And I wanted to share what some of my "key" takeaways were!

  1. It's crucial to realize who you are not, as much as who you are. 

On campus, my three closest friends and I have disparate interests: from an economics major desiring a career in Wall Street and a computer science, engineering enthusiast to a biochemistry-lover, hoping to work within the R&D sector in big pharma. As a student on a pre-medical track myself, my extracurriculars and classes don't align with them in the slightest. And at times, seeing my friends excelling in such (personally foreign) fields, I felt compelled to join similar organizations or apply to similar internships. I questioned myself: what if I will enjoy finance? How about industry research? However, taking STEM courses required for medical school admissions, participating in human biology-related research, and consulting with advisors and upperclassmen, I realized that I simply have a different domain I excel in. There is no "need" to excel in every field or the same field as others. It's okay to admit that we aren't good with certain subjects or fields, which are, in essence, what "we are not." 

  1. We are in control of our learning.

Learning doesn't passively come to us. Simply enrolling in and attending classes will not automatically make us "learn." What was exciting for me coming to Dartmouth was the flexibility within its distributive requirements. I was able to take classes that are of my interests, without necessarily thinking about whether this will hinder me from graduating on-time or not. The classes I took so far, each and every one of them, truly pushed me to want to learn—making me want to pose more questions or further collaborate with my peers. And the same classes better solidified my future goals as well. Learning only stems from our efforts and level of determination and motivation!

  1. Some opportunities are better to experience now!

Certain programs, organizations, and leadership experiences are restricted to freshmen, and at times, better to begin as a freshman. Although there is a stigma towards "overloading" freshman year, it can be helpful to take advantage of these opportunities as the same opportunity might not be open once you enter sophomore year! For example, I'm so glad I was able to join the Primary Care Progress organization this fall; I applied for the (first-year only) communication chair position and will be promoted to the executive board next year! Cold-emailing many research directors within the Geisel School of Medicine, I landed an exciting research position I want to stay with throughout my four years at Dartmouth. There are a wide array of opportunities on-campus, so take advantage of them as early as you can.

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