Exploring Your Niche Academic Interests
Let me start by giving you a little bit of insight into my academic interests. I am, and always have been, fascinated with all aspects of the weather. From climate variability and its impacts on extreme weather events to disaster planning, I love it all. The initial criteria I set for my future college around a year ago today was that they must, above all else, have an atmospheric science and/or meteorology program (meteorology, the study of the weather, and atmospheric science being used synchronously in this regard.) I explored some of the best programs in the country for these disciplines, but every time I researched these various universities, something didn't quite "click" with me. In the most literal sense, I wanted to "click" off their website as soon as I found it. Beyond their academic programs in my areas of passion, I didn't feel at home with them. Now, I've expressed in some of my past blog posts that Dartmouth was the first college that I looked into where academics weren't the first priority, and this is the truth. When researching Dartmouth, I was lured in by what the institution actually stood for: a broad liberal arts education with great emphasis on the well-being of the students, a supportive community, and undergraduate focus. I did not need to even think about any other colleges after Dartmouth.
Now, it was all glitter and rainbows for a good time after deciding to apply. Fast forward a few months and I was able to get into my now dream college. I'm still shocked. Nonetheless, I set aside the awe and started to think about things realistically. "Dartmouth doesn't have a traditional meteorology program, so how do I still maintain my chosen career path?" My concerns were legitimate, but oh how I wish I knew how involved I would be in the weather industry by my first term on campus. For one, if this story has resonated with you whatsoever thus far, I really want to encourage you to research your niche discipline under the college website. I can almost guarantee you that, even if there isn't a major or minor dedicated to that discipline here at Dartmouth, you will have several opportunities to get involved in whatever you want to pursue. In my case, this was meteorology. I knew Dartmouth didn't have a program and I was initially distraught by this, but then I realized just how many opportunities there really are for me here.
First off, I was able to get in contact with some amazing people in the Department of Physics and Astronomy where I landed my daily weather observation job at the Shattuck Observatory which is my dream come true (every day for the past three months and going strong!) Additionally, I have been able to get involved with professors in the Earth Sciences department who I will be doing research with regarding climate and weather impacts – also a dream of mine! Furthermore, I have even been able to acquire the position as the meteorologist for Dartmouth College Radio (shameless plug: check out WDCR news at webdcr.com) where I give the weekly forecast and touch on notable weather events in the nation. A third dream come true!
What I really want to emphasize to you is this: If you are thinking about choosing another institution solely because of the lack of a major/minor here at Dartmouth, I wholeheartedly implore you to really research your interests within the Dartmouth domain, or contact me and I can help you out! There are incredible amounts of opportunities here, you just have to find them. And when you do, it really is a dream come true. Dartmouth is a liberal arts college that allows you to explore a breadth of disciplines, which is truly an amazing opportunity. Take advantage of this while still being able to explore your passions! Again, it has been a fantasy made real for me thus far!
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