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What experience/class/program at Dartmouth has been the most memorable for you?

A: Jenny with crossed arms

One of the most memorable experiences I have had at Dartmouth was sophomore summer. If you don't already know, sophomore summer is a concept unique to Dartmouth, whereby a majority of students spend the summer after their second year on-campus taking classes. Looking back at my ten weeks in Hanover this past summer makes me feel nostalgic, considering just how special the term was for a number of reasons.

Firstly, on a professional note, sophomore summer proved itself a step for me. It was my first time working as a Learning Fellow for Biology 13 (Gene Expression and Inheritance). My responsibilities included attending all the classes, reviewing material before class, attending weekly huddle sessions with the professor, and facilitating collaborative group dynamics. Besides the fact that I got to experience one of my favorite classes all over again with the same professor, it was incredibly rewarding to witness my peers engage with the material and grow as team members.

I also decided to take a course on sex, gender, and society - one which widened my perspective on so many issues, including queer theory, gender performativity, and patriarchy. Every student had to present on readings and connect them to some sort of media (short video clip, article, or artwork), then lead the class through a discussion. My presentation incorporated themes from the movie Crazy Rich Asians. I analyzed the concept of the patriarchal bargain and how it manifests through the mother-son relationship in the movie. I got to know the other students well and I can definitely say that this class has had lasting impressions on my perspectives of gender relations and power dynamics.

Something else out of my comfort zone was where I lived. For the first time, I was not in the McLaughlin cluster (conveniently located next to the Life Sciences Center and Vail, where my research lab is). Instead, I decided to live in my sorority house for the summer! I ended up loving it - it was right across from the gym and although it was farther from the dining halls, my bike certainly helped. Moreover, I found it refreshing to break up my daily routine and experience campus from another point of view.

It wouldn't be sophomore summer without a bit of fun though. At the beginning of the term, I made a master bucket list of all the things I wanted to do. I thought I wouldn't get to most of them - I was still taking three classes, interning as a Presidential Scholar in a genetics lab, and working as a Learning Fellow, communications intern, and blogger for the Admissions Office. Nevertheless, I tried to squeeze in fun activities and managed to check off a whole 18 out of the 26 items! It was truly a lesson in how to balance work, academics, and enjoying time with friends.

I'm writing this as winter creeps up on us, mid-November. Snow litters the ground outside and I never go outside without my heavy parka. In a week, I will be leaving Dartmouth for ten months, something which saddens me. Yet I know the internships and studying abroad programs I have in store will be amazing. I'm glad to have so many heart-warming memories to look back on, many from sophomore summer, but others that span my entire time here at Dartmouth. From going up a hot air balloon on the Green my freshman year, traveling to Chicago for a conference my sophomore fall, and competing in an air mattress competition across the Connecticut River, if there's one thing I can say, it's that the past few years have not been boring in the slightest.

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