lone pine
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During my first term, the adjustment to college life far from home was, in fact, an adjustment. While acclimating to my new environment, I found myself thinking of home some days, missing my mom's home-cooked meals, strolls through the park with my dog, and movie marathons with my high school circle. But life went on, and as I spent more time in my new environment making new memories, the old ones faded into the back of my mind. Dartmouth had become my dearly treasured second home, which became evident as I said goodbye to my friends and stepped onto the bus headed for the airport at the end of the term.

The things that make Dartmouth feel like home are the things I miss the most. And of course, friends are at the top of the list. In the woods of New Hampshire, Dartmouth harbors a diverse concentration of young learners, still on their journey to discover their paths and determine their field of interests. On one hand, embarking on this journey with classmates intellectually has enhanced my mind and has expanded the depths of my thoughts. On the other, meeting students from all corners of the world and from a wide array of backgrounds has been a breath of fresh air. People aren't afraid to be themselves, which I feel has led to deeper connections and friendships than at my high school where most people tried to fit in. Passing by these strong characters on the way to class, in the common room of the dorm, or in the dining hall is something I miss the most!

Another thing that makes Dartmouth feel like home is the food. While most people might view this as a hot take, I miss FOCO (aka Class of '53 Commons, our main dining hall) food. In the dining hall, Dartmouth ensures that there are a wide range of options, including vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, and gluten free, among others. And for picky eaters, they also have chicken nuggets, fries, burgers, and pizza every day! And FOCO is also renound for its delectable desserts—my favorites are the cream puffs and apple dumplings! And while I missed my mom's home-cooked dinners, I am finding that I miss the diversity of food choices available at school!

In terms of the atmosphere, at Dartmouth, it is easy to feel productive and make choices conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Surrounded by high-achieving students, instead of feeling intimidated, I feel motivated. In terms of lifestyle, since FOCO offers vegetable selections, as well as a salad bar, it is easier to get the greens in and maintain a balanced diet! As for getting exercise, I was the least active person in high school. However, I have grown attached to the outdoors, as there are plenty of opportunities to delve into nature with the Appalachian Mountains and the Connecticut River in Dartmouth's backyard. I look forward to continuing to take advantage of the outdoor opportunities during winter term on Dartmouth's ski slopes!

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