A look at a beautiful blue sky!
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Me and my friends at an ice hockey game!

Firsts are a daunting thing. Especially because I'm a creature of habit — I thrive off knowing that I've ticked off many firsts in my life. Maybe it's because I've lived a life of comfort, one where firsts were presented as opportunities rather than challenges. Last year, I ticked off many firsts — college (check), dancing in sweaty dormitories (check), making new friends from all over the world (check), falling behind on classes … you get the point.

But winter term, for me, has been especially amazing: it's been a term where I've learned how to find comfort and challenge; a term where I've understood the meaning of friendship and the meaning of selfhood; a term where I believe I've come into my own while exploring new facets of myself. Through this (strenuous) process, as I reflect, I realised I've ticked off a lot of firsts through this term — and we're only halfway through it.

Firstly, I learned how to ski! Well, that is a lie. I attempted to learn how to ski. Armed with my friends' old skates and a daunting bunny slope ahead of me, I set out one especially chilly morning to try my hand at learning a new sport. It wasn't perfect. I fell more times than I can remember and my stomach did more backflips than I can count. But, somehow, in the chilly New Hampshire winter, I realised that this was something I would have never done before — putting myself out there (at my own physical risk!) and trying something new, because I could. Dartmouth's ideal location in the winters makes it a perfect place for first-time skiers. There are also classes you can register for, but I missed the deadline for that! Next winter, for sure. I'm hoping my (below) average ski-skills will do  me good.

Secondly, I joined a theatre production as an assistant director. I cannot divulge too many details because the play is still in the rehearsal stage, but I plan to go into great detail once it's been staged! It's an adaptation of Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, and boasts of a fantastic director, ensemble cast, and stage management team. My time on The Decameron so far has exposed me to Dartmouth's deeply artistic side — the way that the college uplifts the arts and encourages students, even those with little to no experience, to try their hand at something new is unlike any other college in the United States.

Thirdly, I became a barista! This is also something that I will talk further about in another blog post, but I started working at Novack Café this term — a coffee shop in Dartmouth's Baker-Berry library. If you're a prospective/future student at Dartmouth and are worried about money, know this — there are plenty of opportunities for students to work on-campus, and make a huge set of friends while doing it. Also, the free blueberry muffins and iced matcha lattes while I'm working are just a bonus! ;)

Finally, I braved inhumane weather conditions for the first time … but had a fun time doing it! This past weekend, the Northeast experienced a polar wave of cold — temperatures at Dartmouth dipped to nearly - 20 F. Bundled up in innumerable down jackets and N95 face masks to protect my face, I went to a hockey game with my friends in the bitter cold! Though we couldn't feel our toes and had a hard time speaking, this Arctic expedition of sorts (it was less than 1/10th of a mile!) showed me the unique (albeit, challenging) bonding experiences that Dartmouth gives me.

This has been a term of firsts. We're only halfway through, though! I'll keep you updated about the rest of my firsts as they come!

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