Sunset on the beach - logically this is probably a Seattle beach
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Bea and I posing in Tuk Tuk, a Thai restaurant in Hanover.

There are so many things you learn right off the bat that are standard within the Dartmouth community. First, everyone has a niche interest. Second, everyone from anywhere in Massachusetts feels compelled to say that they are from "just outside of Boston." And lastly, everyone has a sibling at Dartmouth.

I'm not exactly an anomaly when it comes to going to Dartmouth in my family. I'll be the first to admit that my parents met here after my grandfather and great-grandfather also attended. When it came time to pick a school to apply Early Decision to, my sister was already thriving as a junior here. And, as my mom puts it (whose sister also followed her to Dartmouth after she enrolled), "once you visit your sibling at Dartmouth, it's kind of a done deal." While it's impossible to know whether I made my decision to come here based purely on my own conscience or on some Dartmouth gene in my blood, I do know for certain that having a family member at college with me has significantly shaped my time here so far.

A younger Julia and Bea posing on the Green in 2015.
Me and my sister on the Green during a reunion in 2015, WAY before either of us knew that we wanted to go to college here.

For starters, unlike almost all of my classmates (in case you didn't realize, I was kidding about everyone having a sibling here), I came to Hanover with a built-in friend group. At the end of my sophomore year of high school, many of my sisters' friends became my friends, too. I like to joke that in addition to having a real sister on campus, I have a fake sister and a fake brother to watch over me. Paired with a fairly small campus, this support network is ever-apparent; I tend to run into one of my three "siblings" every day. On occasions, these siblings feel like all of my other friends when they invite me to socials and birthday parties. Other times, they act as my parents while making sure that I'm doing well in my classes and eating good food. It's not lost on me how transformative these connections were in making me feel comfortable moving across the country for the first time.

A selfie taken with my sister and Luca. We are all sitting down with heart sunglasses.
My fake brother, Luca, spent the summer working in Seattle. Here we are tailgating outside the Taylor Swift concert in late July!

Having a sibling here can also feel intimidating at times. My sister is wicked smart, and it feels difficult to follow her stellar academic record. Sometimes when I bring up that I'm Bea Cappio's sister, people's eyes will grow wide and they'll say something of the "Oh! She's really smart" sort. It can all feel like a bit much to be siblings with such a star, but finding different interests has helped me make a unique name for myself. While I had to do the same thing in middle and high school, the wider scope of opportunities makes this process much easier here. For instance, I've found comfort in First Year Class Council, where nobody could easily know of my sister. 

At the end of the day, I love sharing campus with my sister. She's my only sibling and it feels really special to get this year with her. My favorite moments of our time together so far have been when we really, truly run into each other when I'm with my friends and she's with hers. Seeing the unabashed joy of college life on Bea's face feels really special. Now, it's just about soaking up every moment before her graduation in June.

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