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And just like that… I'm wrapping up the fall term of my sophomore year here at Dartmouth. It's amazing just how much has happened in the past year – how many blog posts I've done, assignments I've submitted, and friends I've made. It's remarkable how fast everything goes. Granted, Dartmouth is a busy place and time sure flies when you're having fun, but I'm not so sure I want it to go by so fast. Something I've been working on during my time here has been the ability to remain present. Not just looking forward to the next task or anticipating what grade I'm going to get but keeping myself grounded in the present moment. Here are a few things I've done that have helped me succeed on this front during my first four terms on campus:

  1. Journaling has been my best friend

So many things happen to you on a daily basis that fills you with emotion and jumbles your mind with all kinds of thoughts. I think it's important to take a few minutes each day and jot your thoughts down. Looking back, it allows you to see where your mind was and what worries you had. Then, you can work towards adjusting your mindset in a more positive light each time.

  1. Sitting at the front of the classroom

I could have gone really broad with this point, but I want to leave it as sitting at the front of the classroom. Although I should emphasize, that's not the whole story. Sitting at the front of every classroom I've taken a course in has encouraged me to be vulnerable, speak up, and hone in on my leadership skills. It may be uncomfortable, but it's worth it. It shows your peers and your professors that you're okay with being vulnerable – that you're okay with being that one brave soul, and that shows courage.

  1. It's okay to eat or study by yourself.

I've always been the type of person that keeps to myself. I enjoy social interaction as much as the next person I suppose, but I enjoy the time to collect my thoughts and decompress. For me, this time comes when I eat a meal. I like to sit down, listen to a podcast, and eat. I see so many people in the dining hall who sit with other people, and it seems like everyone had made plans with their friends except me. Guess what, it's okay to feel that way. There's nothing wrong with sitting by yourself. It just takes a little bit of vulnerability to say you're okay with that.

  1. Don't be afraid to talk

I went really broad with this one, and I need to elaborate. This advice rings especially true in a classroom setting. If the professor asks a question to the class and everyone is either too nervous to answer or no one has a clue what's going on, be the person who puts forth a guess, or asks a follow-up question. Find a way to show you're not afraid to take initiative! I think this applies outside the classroom as well. If you're walking down the sidewalk or down a corridor in the library and you see someone who has a jacket you really like – speak up and say it! "Hey, I love that jacket on you!" I think this sets you apart from a lot of people, and it's just a way to embrace kindness and leadership.

  1. Be. Kind. To. Everyone.

This goes hand in hand with the previous piece of advice. Whether it be holding the door for someone or giving the passing stranger a smile on your way to class, there are so many ways to be kind to others on campus. I think we often underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness. It's easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget everyone else has their own struggles. Simply cracking a joke with someone in line at 53' Commons or saying hi to a classmate you don't really know is all it takes to have an impact on someone's life.

I suppose I could go on for another 20 points or so, but these are the nuggets of wisdom that have resonated with me this term. I'm sure there will be so many more life lessons I learn throughout the next few years, and I'm here for it. Maturing is a part of life, and I'm learning a lot by being at this wonderful college!

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