Gabriel's D-PlanWhat's a D-Plan?
FallHanover, NHFavorite Class: Indigistory
Taught by Gordon Henry, an Anishinaabe poet and author, this class taught me to explore Indigenous storytelling within digital contexts. I took this class with only seven other classmates, allowing us to really engage with films, comic books, and television shows in Indigenous languages or produced by Indigenous artists.
WinterHanover, NHFavorite Class: Historical Linguistics
Taught by Timothy Pulju, this class taught me how to identify and understand how languages evolve over time and why. I analyzed and reconstructed fictional languages of imaginary nations in order to understand the link between language and culture, and ended up having such an appreciation for the complexity and beauty of language's place in history!
SpringMyrtle Beach, SCFavorite Class: The End of the World
Taught by Lindsay Whaley, this class let me discover a newfound love for ancient apocalyptic literature. We analyzed ancient texts and compared them to modern apocalypses, looking at the zombie apocalypse phenomenon and other apocalypses in pop culture and comparing them to the ancient tradition of writing apocalypses. Additionally, I learned the Greek alphabet and now I can even stumble through ancient Greek passages.
Native Community During 21X!
As a member of Dartmouth's Native community, just a few weeks into my sophomore summer, we've been busy revitalizing our community and making Dartmouth, once again, feel like home.
- No. 1
Saturday Afternoons on the Green
Even though the weather alternates nowadays between rainier days and beautiful ones, I think we've been blessed with some pretty gorgeous Saturdays. When the Green isn't dewy, my friends and I take a spikeball set (or rent one from the nearby Collis Student Center!) to play on the Green. I didn't know this game existed before coming to Dartmouth, but it's a ton of fun and if you're at all competitive, occasionally very infuriating. Especially when your friends are virtual spikeball gods and you can't score.
At any rate, the Upper Valley is blessed with some incredible weather during this time of the year when it isn't raining, and there's no better time to let out some classroom stress through some serious dedication and energy to something that gets your blood pumping. It's nothing short of a wonderful time, always.
- No. 2
Community Planning at the Native American House!
With mostly sophomores on campus, my friends and I compose the summer executive board for the Native community at Dartmouth this summer term — 21X is the abbreviation we use for this term, where 21 stands for 2021 and X stands for summer (S means spring). We meet every week to discuss potential plans and events and figure out fun ways for us to create spaces and events for our community, but also so that we can find ways to connect with other communities on campus.
Because of Dartmouth's size as a school, and because of the passion among the student body about anything and everything community-oriented, whether cultural or linguistics or identity-based or interest-based, involvement is easy. If you're a driven, passionate individual who wants to jump into planning something substantive or organizing, there are so many spaces where that's possible. We're a bunch of sophomores running the show and it's going beautifully — never be afraid to get into leadership positions where your interests and affinities lie!
- No. 3
Dartmouth's proximity to the Connecticut River and so many other beautiful areas in the Upper Valley means that if you're into anything water-related — canoeing, kayaking, fishing, or even just swimming — you're in luck. My friends and I organized a river float for the Native community just a weekend ago from my writing this post, and it was such a great way to cool down and enjoy some serious sunlight. A weekend before that, my friends and I took a little, brief roadtrip to a beautiful spot further away from campus, where we all took to swimming and, as you can see from the picture, a little bit of fishing.
I never had the opportunity to get into fishing when growing up, so I've been blessed with some pretty talented friends whom are trained anglers in their own right. In the picture, my friend Azariah '23 was making some serious casts with some homemade lures he brought from Hawaiʻi. Through the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC), plenty of opportunities for fishing and other water-related activities are common. In my opinion, one of the best ways to relax and forget about all of the readings you've been putting off. Try it sometime!
Breaking It Down: Picking Classes at Dartmouth
Picking classes at Dartmouth is a one-of-a-kind experience. Where does one start at a school with so many departments and an army of classes to boot? Let's break it down.
- No. 1
My interests are easily one of the driving factors behind any course decision. To find classes that simply sound interesting, I tend to start with the academic departments I've come to know and love. The course catalog always has a few classes that, from the onset, sound like they touch on something fascinating. Your interests are your passions: use them! Even if it's a harder class, prior knowledge and love of certain subjects is a great compass to use when you're trying to find classes on your favorite things. Even if they're challenging, rising to the challenge is something we do for the things we love -- no better motivation to study than self-motivation.
None of the classes I've selected based off their course title, surprisingly, have ended up anything less than fantastic. I either have good luck or Dartmouth is good at titles -- either way, it never hurts to have a class you're actively excited for as part of your term. Dartmouth students typically take three classes per term, which gives you a lot of flexibility in choosing classes. For myself, I actually picked all three of the classes I took during my freshman fall based on my interest alone; I didn't let my prospective major or anything else get in my way, and I ended up finding the departments I want to major in instantaneously. Be spontaneous!
- No. 2
By the time you get to campus, it's very likely that you'll have a major in mind. That's awesome! At Dartmouth, you don't have to declare a major until the end of the your fifth term, which gives you plenty of time to explore based off of your interests, or do what's tried and true and take a class in the major you had already looked at prior to becoming a Dartmouth student or simply a field you've dreamed of taking classes in forever. Regardless, after my first couple terms, my major was a constant consideration; even though I knew, as a freshman, that I didn't need to declare my major until later, I wanted to work steadily through the classes that would later constitute my major and I'm really happy that I did.
Every major (and minor!) at Dartmouth has a different set of requirements, and some majors might have more prerequisite classes (we just call them 'prereqs') that you need to take before you can start taking classes that apply to the major. Often, Dartmouth students take their prereq classes early on so as to be able to jump on their major classes as soon as possible. Always a great consideration to make!
- No. 3
If you've been keeping up with my blogs, or honestly if you've read anything about Dartmouth, you're probably intimately familiar with the notion of the liberal arts, or about the flexibility involved and the exploration encouraged. Dartmouth has a very open curriculum, and the way that the school encourages you to try new things is through the use of distributive requirements. Basically, distributive requirements are "types" of classes, and to fulfill your degree at Dartmouth, you need to fulfill every distributive requirement. Distributives range from classes tackling quantitative and deductive science (QDS), international or comparative study (INT), literature (LIT), or art (ART).
If you're anything like me, something like QDS can sound pretty intimidating; I have never once shied away from even suggesting the idea that I could be a STEM person. But the best part about Dartmouth is how easy it can be to fulfill these distributives even in subjects that are pretty removed from your interests. I ended up fulfilling my QDS distributive through my first linguistics class -- why? Linguistics involves a lot of data analysis and deductive science, so even though it isn't a math course, it counts! And ART? I took a creative writing class! Dartmouth is flexible, and more than anything, the distributives encourage you to make your own Dartmouth experience, and though I might gripe, I've learned a fascinating amount simply from trying to fulfill my distributives through classes that sound interesting.