Keep on Discovering
Wonderful freshmen, you're here! Not even Zoom screens can dilute our excitement. If you haven't heard it yet, We love you, '24s!
We know your freshman year may not be shaping up to look the way you thought. I'm not even going to write the words U-----------d T---s.
That said, you're a savvy bunch, and I'd be crazy not to think you'll find a way to enjoy yourselves. Hence the title. Keep on discovering—
What makes you tick;
The What and Whys of your academic pursuits;
Which classes spark your interest;
Who you'd like to be by year's end;
& Who you are now (which is all any of us can be, really).
But when you're not looking to answer A Very Big Question on the lazy rainy mornings of simple staying in, find things to keep you busy. I'm not the only Dartmouth student who learnt to play ukulele over quarantine; I am, however, The Esteemed Most Mediocre Ukulele Player to Ever Play. (According to my infrequent audience of family members who hear the tuneless strumming through doors and wallpaper alike, I'm not a prodigy, but boy, do I love it).
And if you aren't interested in making music, collect some new favorites. Change up your Spotify playlist. Since Folklore was released, I've listened to Taylor Swift's Exile so many times I wake up humming the opening notes. I'm listening to it right now. I don't plan on stopping.
Or start journaling. Your thoughts right now, stale and repeated though they may seem (goodness knows, mine do), are valuable. Truly. So preserve them in ink-and-paper and festoon them with sketches of what you see out your window, or what you'd someday like to see. As my granddaddy says, "You should always keep a journal."
Nimble hands are a calm mind. Someone said that I'm sure, and if they haven't, I guess I did. Keep busy, both mentally and physically. When you're not in class, have something that you enjoy waiting in the corner, a present for when you've finished studying. I discovered embroidery a week ago. Using an old, rusted embroidery hoop shaped rather like an overlarge egg, I set to it. I pricked myself so many times, but it was worth it, for it allows me to impart upon you, dear reader, this advice: Do not embroider a t-shirt for your sister with the words You're Radishing and a sketch of a pink-and-white radish while watching Hamilton on Disney+, because your fingers will become a veritable pincushion and the radish will come out crooked. (But you will enjoy yourself.)
Right now is also an excellent time to reconnect with old friends. I've found myself doing that recently; memories of past conversations were like a perfect old quilt which had lain unused for years, but was still perfectly good, and perfectly comforting, and wanted only a little bit of sunlight to return to its former glory. And during a time of deep reckoning with social injustices, when we must become better and best versions of ourselves, it's good to stay connected, and build little armies of people you love and support.
In summary, over this time inside, I learned such tidbits as:
My sister makes pancakes far better than I do, and the secret is beurre;
I am second place in the race for our cat's affection;
That cloying scent which perfumes Seattle spring is jasmine, and I love it;
I like to embroider;
Everyone was right about Outer Banks;
I love the color yellow;
Your friends stay your friends even if you aren't near them, and are some of the most precious people in the world, and you should never let them go.
And, when you knot the last stich of your embroidered radish or finish that last episode of Outer Banks or wrap up a call with a good friend, you can think about the What and Whys of you.
The world can't wait to see you, and neither can Dartmouth.
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My name is Michael Harrison '24 and I'm from Long Island, NY. Although my first official week as a Dartmouth student has just come to a close, it feels like I've been a part of the Dartmouth 'ecosystem' for a while now!