Riverside sunset
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A beautiful Upper-Valley sunrise

Wow. It seems like I just posted my first blog post yesterday, but it's been a wonderful eight weeks since then and it's almost time to go home for "winterim" break. I truly don't have the space to convey all the memories I have already made or touch upon all the experiences I've already had. You can gain a great sense of all that through my other blog posts! What I want to do here is genuinely take a moment to reflect on my time at Dartmouth so far and put things into perspective for myself, and I want to take you with me!

Technically, I've been a Dartmouth student a little bit longer than the typical 10-week term that defines us freshman in the beginning. Our journey starts with FYSEP, a college orientation program for first-generation and low-income students. Please check out my previous blog post titled "Welcomed with Open Arms – FYSEP 2021" for some really cool insight into this program. Further reflecting on my experience in FYSEP makes me realize just how foundational it was for me. It seems like both a lifetime ago and that it happened yesterday, which I cannot explain. I always see other FYSEP students in the halls or walking across the Green and there is always a friendly exchange. I'm so fortunate to have been a part of this program.

As summer started to fade and fall term came into view, first year trips emerged. They were…. a lot of things. Amidst the chaos of trying to figure out what hiking group I was put into, figuring out my schedule during orientation week, and selecting fall term courses, I created a bond with my trip members that I couldn't forget even if I tried – everyday was an adventure with those cool peeps!

First-year trips!
These guys right here made first-year trips such an awesome experience!

As fall classes began, I was, to put it lightly, a bit nervous. In fact, I was fairly apprehensive of beginning my college journey in the Ivy League without the best preparation in high school. I had thought about this a lot before coming to Dartmouth, constantly asking myself if I would be able to keep up or have a social life outside of scrutinizing my academics. I played countless scenarios over in my head about potential ways that I could screw up. I didn't know if I could keep up with the pace of Dartmouth or sympathize with any of the great minds that are here. As you have probably learned throughout my blogs, these fears were irrational.

For one, I don't think it is ever a good idea to directly compare yourself to other students academically for a number of reasons, but that doesn't mean you can't feed off of one another to stay motivated. That's what I've been able to do throughout this term. In addition to being in a supportive environment with my peers, I had no idea about the relationships I'd eventually form with my professors. In terms of the scenarios I'd mentioned, I always viewed them as strict, cold, and distant. This is just the exact opposite of my experiences at Dartmouth. All of my professors have been personable and genuinely enjoy what they teach. That makes for an amazing classroom experience for everyone.

To conclude, my first term at Dartmouth was undoubtedly eventful and it seems like it has gone by in a flash. At the same time, when I reflect on all of my experiences thus far, it seems that I have lived ten years up here in the Upper Valley. I'm ecstatic about coming back to Hanover in the winter. As someone who is looking forward to their first New England snow, I'm so excited! Also, you will get every detail on that experience, so stick with me over these next few weeks! Enjoy the holidays and stay healthy!

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