Hey y'all, welcome to the woods! My name is Garrett Crouch, and I'm a '26 from Edmond, Oklahoma. Besides blogging, I'm involved in undergraduate research, the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC), as well as the Dartmouth bike shop! In my free time, I enjoy reading sci-fi, listening to 90s rock, and playing video games. Other than that, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to share a bit of my Dartmouth student experience with you, stay a while and enjoy!
For my first term at Dartmouth, I had a lot of fun exploring different courses/areas of study that piqued my interest—EARS 14 is a perfect example. This course in particular was very friendly to new students. I had a lot of fun analyzing the ways in which Earth's weather system works, everything from the tornado and climate labs to black lightning and supercooled ice. Professor Osterberg made the course extremely fascinating and personable! I'm extremely glad I took this course and recommend it to anyone interested in Earth Science.
I had zero programming experience prior to taking this course, and quite honestly, It was a split decision on my part. Nonetheless, I'm extremely glad I took COSC 1, and as a byproduct, I have a newfound love for computers. I came out of the course with a solid foundation in computer science principles as well as programming skills. More importantly, I made my own fully-functioning video game! ; )
I didn’t anticipate this course being all that different from Latin I, but it ended up being a nice surprise. A typical Latin course at Dartmouth involves small class sizes, group work, and the occasional lecture; however, within Latin II, we had opportunities to take a wide variety of field trips and learn more about the history of the Latin language as well as the many people that spoke it. I thoroughly enjoyed stepping outside the sphere of strictly language work (grammar, vocabulary, etc.) and learning more about the history of Latin in Latin II.
Psych 6 is by far my favorite course I've taken at Dartmouth—this course made me decide to pursue the neuroscience major. Whether it was walking out of the Moore Psychology Building with goosebumps down my spine having just seen a human brain in the flesh, or lying in bed rewatching lectures on the cellular mechanisms of long-term memory storage. This course genuinely made me feel like a kid discovering the world again for the first time, I loved it.
What's something you've done at Dartmouth that you couldn't have done or experienced anywhere else?
From the small, tight-knit community to the extremely personable faculty, and even our own ski mountain, due to its size, Dartmouth has a wide variety of facilities, activities, and experiences that aren't found on most college campuses—let's talk about a few things that come to mind!
To start off, the first thing that comes to mind with this question is my experience with First-Year Trips. First-Year Trips is a student-run Dartmouth tradition where incoming students participate in various 3-4 day wilderness excursions alongside upperclassmen mentors before starting classes in the fall. If you've never heard about Trips, check out one of my early fall blog posts—I have some great pictures of my own First-Year Trips experience!
Overall, as I mentioned before, because Dartmouth is a relatively small school, a lot of the school's energy is focused on community and the undergraduate experience, and I believe that's hard to come by in the way Dartmouth does through programs like First-Year Trips.
Dartmouth is also really big on student/faculty relationships which is something I believe is extremely unique in the common sphere of higher education. For instance, Dartmouth has a program that's specifically designed for students to take any given professor of theirs out to lunch on the school's dime. Personally, I have actually yet to take advantage of this program (but plan on doing so which is why I'm including it in my answer); however, I've seen countless students walking around campus with their professors and it just really emphasizes how unique the student/faculty relationships are here.
Apart from more social aspects of the unique experiences at Dartmouth, here are some of the unique physical aspects of Dartmouth that I've experienced so far:
1. As I mentioned above, Dartmouth has its own ski mountain!https://sites.dartmouth.edu/skiway/ This winter, I was able to grab a season pass with a hefty student discount and ski with my friends during my free time. Dartmouth also provided all the necessary transportation to and from the skiway as I didn't have a car on campus. Coming from the south, I definitely wouldn't have been able to experience a skiway in many other places.
2. Journeying around The Upper Valley and swimming in the Connecticut River on campus. Dartmouth is physically unique in the sense that it's situated right alongside the Connecticut River as well as in the middle of the New Hampshire wilderness. Whenever I have free time, the forest and the river are both accessible via less than a 10-minute walk—the opportunities I've had to explore nature and have fun outside at Dartmouth are also extremely unique.
In short, Dartmouth's size and community provide a lot of freedom and availability for a variety of unique experiences that I don't believe you could find anywhere else—a great quote that sums this up, as Daniel Webster famously said: "It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college, and yet there are those who love it."