A look at a beautiful blue sky!
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A look at Hanover as winter rolls in.

In my opinion, winterim is one of the most rewarding byproducts of Dartmouth's fast paced quarter system, a facet of student life I've written about earlier on this very blog. 'Winterim' is the portmanteau of the words 'winter' and 'interim', dubbed by Dartmouth students and our penchant for creating innovative words for anything (read: Blobby for Baker Berry Lobby, or Fookie for Foco Cookies!) Winterim is the six-week winter break students get starting from Thanksgiving, stretching all the way to beautiful January, where the last remnants of Christmas time can be seen all around Hanover (including, the thirty foot long tree in the middle of the Green!)

Winterim was a time of rejuvenation and regeneration—one where I understood how and where to move forward with my Dartmouth experience. It was a time of internalisation, and retrospection, as well as a constructive breakdown of fall term and how to make it better. Until I realised … I couldn't.

'Better' had always been my goal when I came to Dartmouth—be better at academics, be better at making friends, be better in your classes, be better at being a Dartmouth student. The retrospection I mentioned gave way to a lot of realisations, the most significant one being: the times during fall term that I remembered the most were the ones where I wasn't trying to be better, or trying to 'succeed' and fit this social mold of what a successful college student looks like.

I was definitely struggling with my classes, but juggling them with a social life, the drive to make new friends, and acclimatising to a country that was 7,000 miles away from mine. And yet, the minute I fell down, made mistakes, and shattered those social molds was when I truly felt like a college student—isn't that what college is about? Making blunders but having the time and environment to get over them?

With this newfound confidence, I thought about Hanover. Ah, Hanover. An undoubtedly intimidating town to begin with: tucked away in the heart of New Hampshire's woods, you tend to hear the word 'isolated' a lot with it. And yet, in that isolation, I've never once felt alone. I've never once felt unseen, or misunderstood. Perhaps, Hanover's isolation makes sure that its residents never are. We have nothing but each other here, and the Dartmouth community is honestly some of the strongest bonds I've ever seen.

As winterim ends and a new term starts, I'm grateful to be coming back home from home. On two opposite ends of the world—one tucked away in the sprawling capital of India, and the other nestled in the Appalachians—I have two homes, each with its own qualities—one a bustling metropolis, the other a New England town—but both bursting with love.

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