Battling the Homesick Blues
The dynamic of Dartmouth's community and culture makes it easy for you to be fully enveloped in all of the clubs, extracurriculars, research opportunities, etc. However, it has occurred to me that, while it so easy to get involved and to stay involved, your attention may be taken away from those who have supported you to get to Dartmouth – your family! Now, I have made it one of my primary goals during my first term at Dartmouth to get involved with as much as possible, and I'm fortunate to actively participate in many groups and activities. But perhaps it would have been more fruitful to make it an even bigger priority to keep in touch with my family as often as possible.
Transitioning to the Dartmouth environment will allow you to realize one crucial thing – time really does go by fast. Now, that is for sure a cliché phrase that virtually everyone instills in their own life but let me break it down for you: First, you have the Dartmouth D-Plan which takes a regular academic semester of around 16 weeks and creates a fast-paced 10-week quarter, covering the same amount of academic material. I absolutely love this dynamic as it allows me to continually work and set goals each day. In addition to the D-Plan, you have numerous academic and extracurricular activities that you will want to be a part of. Trust me, Dartmouth has everything from rock climbing and hiking to political organizations and acapella groups, you will inevitably find something that you are passionate about! What the takeaway here is, while you are having the time of your life exploring your interests and making lifelong friendships, propelling time to move by faster and faster, you have loved ones back at home that time slows down for when they think about you. It is easy to get so infatuated by everything Dartmouth has to offer that you forget to connect and communicate with family! It isn't an easy task, but there are some distinct ways that have helped me do so:
First off, let's just state this fact: routine will be your best buddy here at Dartmouth. For me, having a set routine through the week allows me to schedule my time to create specific study times for different classes on different days and time slots. In this manner, I can schedule in my workout time, time for friends/hangouts, leisurely activities, etc. Is it obvious where I am going with this? By creating and maintaining a routine specific to your day, you can effectively work in time to communicate with your family! Now, it is also important to share this routine-oriented schedule with your family so they know when to get in contact with you throughout the day as well. Effective communication in this regard is highly valuable. Having family call/text you throughout the day during class can be distracting and not being able to answer said texts/phone calls may lead to miscommunication. Setting up this schedule and frequently connecting with your family is an excellent way to keep a check on your mental health and to remedy those homesick blues! Time goes by when you're having fun (just to instill another cliché phrase) and that point is amplified X10 here at Dartmouth. While that is awesome, it is crucial that you keep in touch with family and adopt a routine-oriented schedule to effectively make that happen!
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