Welcomed with Open Arms - FYSEP 2021
In late May of 2021, my phone notified me of a particularly long email in my newly created Dartmouth Gmail account. As someone who was getting hit with the "summertime blues" pretty hard, I jumped at the chance to read something potentially related to my future and related to my future it was – oh boy! FYSEP – First Year Student Enrichment Program Summer Session – in beautiful bold lettering was at the top of that email. At first, to be completely frank, I thought I'd received my first piece of Dartmouth spam email, fantastic! Oh, how far from that it was.
The First Year Student Enrichment Program is a program organized by Dartmouth faculty that allows first-generation and low-income students to start their college journeys prior to the rest of their class, get one on one interactions with professors, take (mock) college courses, and so much more as you will soon find out. This meant a couple of things for me; one, I was able to start college a month before the term started (around August 8th) and two, that I could hopefully get acclimated to the Upper Valley's atmosphere before the "real" stuff started. Fast forward to August 8th after deciding if I'm over or under packed, said goodbye to teary eyed family members, and balled my eyes out after saying goodbye to my brother and sister, I was finally at the most mythical place I'd seen in my life – Dartmouth College. From the moment I stepped into my dorm room, said hi to my roommate and other students running around campus and interacted with staff, I knew that not only was I at the right college, but I'd made a wise decision in accepting my invitation to the FYSEP program.
The month of August was filled with so many adventures for me and my fellow FYSEP classmates. We took courses in STEM at Dartmouth, the humanities, and even a course specifically designed to enhance your knowledge on college life, appropriately named "College Knowledge." In addition to the head start on academic opportunities, I participated in so many optional activities like going on picturesque hikes, thrifting at local towns, practical workshops, and even wading through a beautiful back-water stream behind the FYSEP director Jay Davis's house. In addition to the faculty and students at Dartmouth that touched my life in this month, Jay was such an inspiration to me. As the head of the program, he instilled in me levels of optimism about my future that I've truly never had. As you will find, he, like so many others at Dartmouth, cares about you and your well-being, which is truly exemplary of what the FYSEP program is for: to create a sense of community, love, and trust for any student who may have never had it. The FYSEP program is that bridge between the comfort of home and the realities of the real world, with smiling faces and kind-natured people stationed all along it.