Riverside sunset
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Me and the siblings - repping Dartmouth!

I remember the way the winds picked up the sandy soil and whipped across my skin as I went for a run down my dirt road. I remember the fleeting moments when I would sit on the fence in the front yard and watch the sunrise before school. It was simple. I especially remember the light-hearted conversations I would have with my nana and my best friends back at home. Sometimes, simplicity is beautiful. That being said, my life became much more complex after moving to college, and I'm sure yours will also. Don't worry, this is a good thing. I suppose it goes without saying but I think the mental shift going into college shouldn't be glossed over. In fact, I think it's something you should consider and be aware of well ahead of time.

You're going to make friends and maybe some enemies along the way. You will start making independent decisions that you may not want to make, face hardships, have the deepest laughs you've ever had, cry the biggest tears, and find yourself in situations that may prompt you to ask yourself "how did I get here?" That's okay—it's a part of finding more about yourself and who you are meant to become. I have no doubt that you can achieve all of the great things you aspire to. You will check off all the boxes necessary in order to succeed. You will stress, sometimes fail, and of course succeed in the process. This dynamic drives you. You think of the next accomplishment and strive for it until you're there. When we use that drive and ambition to fuel us, it's easy to get lost in that quest. So, I challenge you to remain present in the moment.

View from the top of Shattuck Observatory
Notice the things around you—the clouds, sun, grass and your place in it all.

Take into account the people around you, how you know them and what they've done for you. Think about how you felt when you woke up in the morning. What was your first thought? Why do you think that was on your mind? Breathe. If you're anything like me, you put more focus on the future without giving weight to the present moment. Look around you and find something to appreciate. What comes with a more complex life in college is developing a more complex system to maintain your mental health all the while finding and sculpting out your future self. For now, instead of focusing on what the next accomplishment will be, think of a way to acknowledge what you've already done and how far you've come. It's only when you figure out who you are in the present can you carve out your future self. My life has certainly changed in profound ways in the past year, and I'm grateful. I've been tested, fell down, and picked myself up time and time again. The mindset I've described isn't my own, unique perspective I thought of overnight. Rather, it's the stitching together of advice I've gotten from peers and mentors from my time at Dartmouth so far. No matter what your future holds, I hope you will remain present. Once you've developed this skill, there's no limits to your potential.

Fishing during a sunset
Fishing at dusk is a great way for me to be in the moment. Find the hobby that allows you to be removed for a while!

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