A Family Weekend... But Without the Fam
Dartmouth hosts a first-year family weekend every year for the families of current first-year students. Because of the pandemic, the Class of 2023 and 2024 were unable to experience their family weekend. Therefore, the College organized a fall term weekend to experience a fully programmed weekend for Dartmouth students and their families.
Starting on Friday, Dartmouth Coach buses, a transportation system that extends from Boston and New York to Dartmouth, arrived carrying several family members. The sidewalks were busy with adults and the streets were busy with cars driving by. While they stayed on campus, they were able to attend dance groups' showcases, listen to acapella groups, tour the campus, shop in Downtown Hanover, engage in outdoor activities, and much more!
Being on campus felt very bittersweet. During meal periods, families could be seen grabbing food from our dining hall '53 Commons (FOCO). As I studied in Blobby (Reiss Hall in Baker Library), I could see students showing their families around the campus they were attending and taking pictures outside in Baker Lawn and the Green. Even after the weekend, photos still lingered around on Instagram.
It was heartwarming to capture those happy moments others were living through, but it was also saddening to recognize that I would probably not be able to get the same experience of showing my parents around throughout the next three years. There were several other families who for some reason, whether it was international, out-of-state, low-income, citizenship status, health reasons, etc. could not attend. Although it sometimes feels like you are alone, there are several other students who undergo similar experiences and you can connect with them.
I think, for me, it was important to address this because it's necessary to address not only the benefits and advantages of going to Dartmouth but also the moments where it may not feel so great. Prior to my senior year of high school, I was a firm believer that I would not be applying to out-of-state colleges because of the obstacles between my family and me. I was terrified of what it would mean and the loneliness I could feel. Although it is a justified reason, I want to let you know that it is possible to go out of state.
Although the weekend was occasionally upsetting, I think I have coped with it by taking time to accept it and knowing that I'm not the only one going through these emotions. Moreover, I am reminded that although this weekend was harder than the others, I've had a great time overall while at Dartmouth and hardly ever feel incredibly homesick.
Yes, it kind of sucks to know that your family won't be able to visit and it is unfortunate. But, I think it also gets easier each year. And if you decide to go to college, close to where your family is, that is also okay! Just know that it is possible to move and it is okay to make that choice.