Riverside sunset
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Snowy Shattuck Observatory picture

Transitioning to college out of high school is a huge feat, and there's no script spelling out how it will go for one person. When I was applying to colleges, I knew I wouldn't thrive at a bigger university. I'm from a rural farm town of around 600 people and had a graduating class of around 40 kids. I can see myself in a larger city one of these days, but my four years of college wasn't going to be that time. I wanted something smaller, a little quainter, and dare I say…. rural. Something that I've grown to appreciate over my twenty years of life is open landscapes and the ability to see nature when I walk outside, not a busy street corner or construction sounds. That's just who I am, and living in the South made me accustomed to that lifestyle. I knew I wasn't ready to give that up when choosing to go to college, and that's something you should factor in when you apply. Academic focus, cost of attendance, etc., are obviously important factors as well. Just remember, you're spending the next four years of life at this place. Do you want to live there? That's what I was focused on out of high school.

In many different circumstances, I've heard Dartmouth's rural campus described as being a "con" out of the pros and cons list or something that detracts from the rest of the college experience. For me, the opposite has been true; I think Dartmouth's rural campus is something so special, and it's easy to take it for granted. If you grew up in the city, you might take a different perspective. I've come to realize that living in the bigger cities in the Northeast U.S. has its perks—going to NYC for this and Boston for that, and I think that's great for some people. If you come from a background remotely like mine (small rural town vibes), I truly don't think you'll get a better college atmosphere than Dartmouth. It truly is in the middle of the woods, and I absolutely love that (this is another thing that people talk about negatively sometimes). Even if you don't come from a small, rural town, I'd challenge you to give this rural college vibe a try—I don't think you'd regret it!

Looking back, I think I took Dartmouth's rural campus and outdoor scene for granted when I first got here. I was so focused on academics, finding my friend group, etc., that I forgot how important my surrounding environment was. I could have easily gone to college in a much larger city, and I sometimes think about what my life would be like if I did. After visiting a few of the larger cities on my way to Dartmouth, I feel like being in them 24/7 would be stressful. There's a sense of pure bliss here that I don't think you could replicate anywhere else. When you're stressed over deadlines or you're just plain burnt-out, you can always open your window or take a brisk walk across campus and see the surrounding mountains and a beautiful New Hampshire sunset. It truly is something special. Just take a look for yourself! 

Snowy view from the Shattuck Observatory!
Snowy view from the Shattuck Observatory!

Wooden trail with snow and bushes
Snowy pictures of the woods just yards from my apartment is something I cherish.

Selfie of me and a snowy background of Dartmouth's Campus
I had to include a selfie as a sort of validation / signature. Dartmouth is Gavin-approved for sure!

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