Jenny's D-PlanWhat's a D-Plan?
FallOn CampusFavorite Class: Sociology 001
I looked forward to this class every week, partly because of the professor and partly due to the content. We read books on a wide variety of topics, ranging from privilege and how it affects our interactions with others to restaurant kitchens and the hierarchies inherent in surgical residencies.
WinterOn CampusFavorite Class: Biology 013
Biol13 is structured so that you have to work as a group on difficult class problems and even on some exams, which was novel to me and pushed me to really understand the material. This class inspired me to pursue research (both off-campus and on-campus) related to genetics.
SpringOn CampusFavorite Class: The Body: The Nude in Western Visual Art
Although this class was daunting to me in the beginning, given that I had little to no experience in either Women's, Gender, and Sexuality or Art History, it was also one of the classes in which I became the most engaged in. For our final project, I investigated the history of allegories in Western art and why they were so often portrayed as women.
I interned at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA under Dr. Livingston. I explored the mechanism by which BRCA1 acts as a tumor suppressor. It was really rewarding to be able to apply what I had learned in Biol13, including specific procedures and techniques we had been tested on, to a real-life laboratory setting.
FallOn CampusFavorite Class: Organic Chemistry
This class is notorious for its difficulty, and I would not call it an easy class. Nonetheless, it was my favorite class because I loved Professor Jacobi, who has taught at Dartmouth for 22 years, and I appreciated learning mechanisms behind why certain reactions happen. Instead of rote memorization, this class relied on being able to predict the products of a reaction, a skill picked up from lots of practice.
WinterOn CampusFavorite Class: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Although this was an introductory class, Professor Craig made it more dynamic and interactive, with several visits to the Hood Museum of Art, ethnography labs, and weekly discussion posts. I learned about everything from the Gebusi culture and their rites of passage to the opioid epidemic. For my final paper, I conducted an ethnography studying the social dynamics that take place in Baker Lobby and how that relates to the exchange of capital.
SpringOn CampusFavorite Class: Introduction to Programming and Computation
Though I had taken four years of computer science before (mostly in middle school), I did not have a very good experience with coding prior to taking CS1. However, the professor was one of the best professors I have had, explaining jargon in understandable ways and even giving out chocolate bars to students who answered the most difficult questions she would ask in class. I was certain that there was no way I would be able to create the lab assignments (such as a revolving solar system animation and map of Dartmouth that calculated the shortest possible route between two points), but she enabled all of us to through exercises, short assignments, and exams.
SummerOn CampusFavorite Class: Sex, Gender, and Society
I took this class for a distributive requirement and ended up loving it. Each student was assigned a day to present on a certain topic - mine being patriarchy. I decided to analyze relationships in Crazy Rich Asians through a lens of the patriarchal bargain. We explored transgender issues, the history of feminism, gender identity, and so much more. Would highly recommend!
FallOn CampusFavorite Class: Sports Analytics
As someone who didn't know the rules to pretty much any sport, I tentatively signed up for this class. However, the professors made it clear that everyone had a different sports background, so I never felt at a disadvantage. We used Markov chains to predict winners of tennis matches, analyzed field goals kicks using logit models, and listened to guest speakers from a variety of industries.
I spent the winter at the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health, studying epidemiology and global health. I was first involved on a project using data surveillance and social media to model Ebola outbreaks in the DRC, but as soon as the COVID-19 outbreak started, I transitioned to that. I was even able to publish my first paper!
I was planning to study in Rome for the term and practice my basic Italian skills, but unfortunately the program was canceled. Instead of taking classes, I decided to continue working at my winter internship at NIH. Some of the research I conducted involved analyzing data on excess mortality as a method of estimating the true burden of COVID-19.
I continued my research at Fogarty while also working part-time as a Learning Fellow for BIOL13 (Gene Expression and Inheritance), a job I also did my sophomore summer. It was great to see some familiar faces and help with transitioning this very interactive class into something Zoom-friendly!
FallOn CampusFavorite Class: Design Thinking
I had heard about this class long before taking it my senior fall, as it's one of those quintessential Dartmouth classes. We had a total of six projects over ten weeks, many of which were group projects. They included everything from building rollercoasters, creating Photoshop posters to combat harmful misconceptions, and designing prototypes to improve student dorm life. I learned so much about what it means to design ethically and purposefully, and will definitely carry these lessons forward with me in my future endeavors.
Embracing a Liberal Arts Education: Confessions from a Pre-Med Student
I know, I know, I’m pretty late to the game. Why am I just now writing this post?
How to Choose Your Off-Term
You may have heard of the unique opportunity that all Dartmouth students face – choosing when to take their off-term.
- No. 1
It depends on what you want to use your off-term for, but for students intent on graduate school, oftentimes they plan on spending at least part of their off-term in junior year studying for entrance tests (MCAT, LSAT, etc.). In that case, the off-term has to be after you have finished all the courses associated to those tests.
- No. 2
Since the D-plan is so flexible, it’s possible to search for internships for numerous seasons, and then choose the one that you receive an offer from or the one that is the best fit for your interests. Some of my friends have interviewed for sophomore summer internships, but if they do not hear back, they will stay in Hanover and take classes instead. There is usually less competition for internships during the fall, winter, and spring.
- No. 3
There are so many other factors that might influence when you want to go off, including other obligations you may have, such as athletics, student groups, and jobs. Although the vast majority of people who work with Dartmouth students are accustomed to the D-plan, and the rotating schedule of people going on and off during various terms, it’s still important to keep in mind.
Five Things I Loved about Fall Term
The autumn season at Dartmouth is quite stunning visually, as you may have gotten a glimpse of from other blog posts or our Instagram. But it’s also an eventful time of the year.
- No. 1
Friends from the beginning
It was easy to maintain friendships I made last year, despite the changing circumstances that accompany a new year. I still had classes with many of my old friends, and given the small class size, this meant I was able to chit chat with them almost every day. In addition, the small student body size made it very common for me to just run into friends while grabbing a meal or walking through the library. Needless to say, everywhere I looked, a familiar face was there to ask me how I was doing.
- No. 2
New friends and new energy
People told me that after freshmen fall, it’s hard to make friends. I believed it, thinking that students simply get busier and don’t have time to foster new relationship. I was surprised when that was proven wrong. I have made so many new friends, most of whom I feel really grateful to have met, even if it’s already my sophomore year. I met them through my sorority, classes, and mutual friends.
- No. 3
Courses and professors
This fall, I took organic chemistry (CHEM 51), human evolution (ANTH 41), and an introductory statistics course (PSYC 10). I loved all of them, especially because my professors were very available and accommodating, holding several office hours a week. I never felt like I was being thrown into the deep end or expected to manage everything on my own. Freshman me would barely ask questions or go to office hours alone, too intimidated by the professors. Now I understand that they want to help and will gladly answer any question on my mind.
Exploring our Origins - One Fossil at a Time
We launched our first class by going back in time seventy million years to the origin of primates. Every week, we move along the timeline and learn about the evolution of our ancestors, from primates to catarrhines to apes, and finally hominins.