Not a Goodbye, Just a "See you Later"
I could write a book of all the things I've seen and experienced in my life, and that's no exaggeration (actually writing a book is something I'm working on). Prior to starting college, I thought the next four years of my life would merely be a chapter in my book of life up to that point. However, I've realized that Dartmouth's role in my book isn't just a chapter. Instead, it could be a whole other novel. I've only completed three terms here, equivalent to one academic year, but it's shocking the things I've done and all I've experienced. First, I'd like to take a trip down memory lane and give a brief overview of my time here so far. Then, I want to impart a tiny bit of wisdom from things I've learned in the past several months. So, let's get into it:
FYSEP was a wonderful introduction to Dartmouth. I was surrounded by bright and talented students from all over the country and the world who shared common hardships with me. I could tell we all had a chip on our shoulders to excel in whatever we wanted to achieve. Whether it was growing up in poverty, dealing with political issues from one's homeland, or struggling with self-identity, I found a community with FYSEP. It was inspiring to be enveloped by such amazing students.
First-year-trips is an experience that I just won't be able to convey through text very effectively. It was a perfect introduction to the broader Dartmouth community come the Fall of 2021. It wasn't about hiking in the forest amongst the lush vegetation or even admiring breathtaking views of the Upper Valley that created the strongest memories. For me, it was creating a bond with the few other members of my group. Whenever I see them around campus, it never fails that we have a brief chat and catch up. It was my first friend group beyond FYSEP and I'm so grateful.
When the first academic term hit, I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know where I would match up intellectually or in terms of work ethic. What I came to realize is that you can match up to anyone if you're willing to put in the work. It doesn't matter what level you're at when you start; what matters is how far you're willing to climb up the latter to reach your goal. Thankfully, I surrounded myself with people who pushed me to be better, much like high school. I got involved in research Fall term and got my first proposal approved. That was a dream come true. I did the weather observations each and every day since I started FYSEP. I worked for the Dartmouth College Radio. I witnessed a bonfire of epic proportions that I can confidently say will never be matched in my lifetime. Fall term was like being immersed into a whole different world, a different world from the summer even. Although it was chaotic, it was wonderful. I made some great friends and became more familiar with Dartmouth overall.
Winter term was something of a blur and a trek all at the same time. With snow up to my knees virtually every day, it was a bit different than back at home in Arkansas to say the least. But it was beautiful. This place is meant for snow. Everything was so crisp and quiet. Then campus erupted with the festive winter carnival activities and ended with the snow slowly receding. I began to find my social and academic niches as well. My classes were great, and I formed relationships with some wonderful people. I worked on my research project and took an upper level climate science course I wasn't sure I was ready for. Winter term was all about taking risks, and I think that's a good philosophy to live by, to a certain extent.
Spring term is somewhere in between the chaotic nature of Fall term and the quaintness of winter; I went home over spring break to some unfortunate circumstances and left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth coming back to Dartmouth. However, I was quickly greeted with the same smiles I was during the summer and everything seemed to be at ease. I took a lighter academic load so that I'd have more time to enjoy spring activities like fishing and golfing. I took time to figure out more about myself, like who I am as a person, what I stand for, my faith, my character, and I rekindled my journey for success. I do not regret a thing in this past year, but come Fall of 2022, I'm going to push harder than I ever have before.
I will miss Dartmouth this summer, but I know it will be waiting for me and the new Dartmouth Class of 2026 come Fall of 2022. I'm looking forward to taking leadership positions and guiding others through such a scary transitional process. Although, I think it will become apparent to them that transitioning to Dartmouth is quite pleasant.
Now, for those few words of wisdom I mentioned. It's easy to get lost no matter where you are in life. For me, I became lost soon after I lost my grandmother on Christmas Eve and when my family started to deteriorate. However, in life's hardest moments, that's when the true people in your life come out. The friends and family that genuinely support you will show themselves. Keeping that in mind, I want you to remember why you are on your journey. What has propelled you to get this far? Why are you fighting the good fight? Remember those questions when you get down. You've got a heck of a journey ahead of you, but you're not alone and you never will be. Get ready, it's going to be a fun ride!