A look at a beautiful blue sky!
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My last snowy day at Dartmouth!

Returning home from college is a surreal feeling—it's like unpausing time, unpacking memories, and restarting a life that seems to have moved ahead from you. As I leave Hanover for six weeks, I would like to sit back and reflect on the twelve weeks I spent in rural New Hampshire, completely uprooting my life… ultimately, for the better.

Dartmouth has without a doubt been the most daunting experience of my life. As I've previously talked about, I've thrived as a creature of habit. I've grown to excel in worlds that I know well. College, halfway across the world, posed a challenge to that. I had to learn to adapt, how to socialize, how to think quickly on my feet, and how to honestly be independent. Juggling all those balls is terrifying, especially as an eighteen-year old, stripped away from the comforts I've known all my life. And yet, as I look back on it, I have nothing but immense gratitude for this experience. Was it terrifying? Without a doubt. Was it necessary? Also, without a doubt. The Kabir I see today is more self-assured, calmer, more adaptive, more understanding of the importance of community and the building of bonds.

People always talk about Dartmouth's rural setting and how that can feel isolating. And that's definitely true. But what they often fail to mention is how it pushes you so far out to reach out to new people and make connections. In cities, as human beings, we are constantly stimulated by the world around us. In the woods, we lack the stimulation that we've come to associate with life, and thus reach out to grab it in any places we can find: people, I've found, are a good alternative. I have made such close connections, bonded over such silly inside jokes, and come to understand the people around me in such a deep way through this setting. I thought it would be my biggest weakness, but somehow it's transcended into my biggest strength.

Beyond the socializing aspect, people always talk about how difficult college academics can get. My response to that would be both yes and no. Yes, because an academic institution like Dartmouth does require rigor and a crazy work ethic. But also no, because if you're at an institution like Dartmouth, chances are you already possess that rigor and work ethic. Staying on top of my assignments was not the easiest thing, but it was also the only way I knew how to be. Unlike high school, though, I was aided rather than de-motivated by professors and an environment that constantly gave back to me.

At Dartmouth, I saw seasons like I've never seen before; the part of India I come from doesn't see the beautiful fall or the snow. Speaking of which, I saw snow for the first time. Trudging through the snow with New Yorkers in Patagonia jackets, who complained about how hard it was to build a snowman and make snow angels in this bitter cold, was a core memory I will never forget.

Looking back, and honestly, looking forward, Dartmouth has already started to transform the person I am. I've noticed how I've become more inquisitive, more eager to learn, more friendly, more extroverted, more gentle, more responsive to the environments around me, and more appreciative of the world I'm trying to find my place in.

Who knew rural New Hampshire could do that to you?

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