Riverside sunset
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Me taking a selfie in front of a local lake enjoying the sunset

This is my second off term at Dartmouth, and my plans are going to be a bit different this time around. My first off term was back in the summer of 2022 after three quarters of enrollment at Dartmouth. From there, I immediately participated in a rigorous internship that was an essential step in my career and academic trajectory. A full year of Dartmouth classes later, I've reached my second off term during the fall of 2023. Fall term at Dartmouth is one of the most eventful times of the year, with events like Homecoming, First Year Trips, New Student Orientation, and much more. So, I'm certainly missing Dartmouth at the moment – the campus, the events, and most certainly the people. However, after I've gotten over two years of college under my belt, I've realized that it's time to take some time for myself – time to cool off, rejuvenate, and reorient for the next few years of my life.

My brother and sister holding a bass that we caught as a team while fishing!
Enjoying all the time I can get with my siblings is very important to me at this stage in my life. Who knows how much I'll get to see them in the next couple of years!

The best way I can describe it, from my point of view, is through the lyrics of Billy Joel's song "Vienna" when he sings "You'd better cool it off before you burn it out." I'm sure that the next couple of months will be the longest stretch of free time I will get in my life until I retire. So, even though I still have that "go getter" attitude, I fell that it's wise to do what Billy says and cool off before I get back into the swing of things. That's not to say that I will be totally off the grid; For example, I will be doing weekly blog posts, doing part time research, and being a grader for the Mathematics department at Dartmouth. So, I won't go too stir crazy during the fall. I gave this a great deal of thought as I pondered which internship I would accept for the fall. I applied to a few scientific laboratory and congressional internships, but I ended up turning them down. I need this time to reset and revitalize my mind.

So, when it comes to having a productive off term at Dartmouth, I think it looks different for everyone. From my experience, I've heard a plethora of plans for someone's off term – everything from consulting internships to rest and relaxation. Everyone is on their own journey, and they need to go at their own pace. I highly suggest that you remain mindful of where your mental health is, how close to burnout you might be, and to take inventory of your personal needs before you try and advance your academic interests or put something on your resume. Taking some time for yourself can be just as productive an off term as putting some prestigious internships on your resume. It just depends on where you are on your journey. This is the kind of advice that I've gotten at Dartmouth during my first couple of years, and I'm immensely grateful for that knowledge. Now, I hope I'm imparting a bit of that wisdom to you! 😊

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