Snow-capped mountains
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Kalina's trippees on the path to Mount Cube

Two things happened this week that inspired this post. Number one, I attended an alumni event at my high-school, where I was told that because I was talking so much about my love for Dartmouth, I was a "college nationalist" (that was a funny remark, gotta give it to him). And number two, after it became clear that I was so adept at practicing "college nationalism," I decided to re-read my Dartmouth essays from a year ago to see whether I was so helplessly in love with that college even then.

I happily re-read two of my Dartmouth essays—the ones in which I talked about reading and writing. I couldn't quite make myself re-read my "Why Dartmouth" essay, though.

The "college nationalist" doesn't want to re-read her "Why Dartmouth" essay? Why?

I was never quite happy with my "Why Dartmouth" essay. I don't think it shows why I was SO excited about Dartmouth a year ago, nor is it anywhere close to showing why I am STILL excited about it now. 

If I could rewrite my "Why Dartmouth" essay, I would talk much more about the DOC (the Dartmouth Outing Club). I'd talk about the many trips it runs EVERY week (which are all absolutely free for students). I'd talk about the many charming cabins Dartmouth owns across the New Hampshire woods (which are also free to rent for Dartmouth students). And most importantly, I'd talk about the amazing people you find in the DOC—from those who walk around carrying suitcases full of rocks and fluorescent fossils to those who decide to go surfing and birdwatching at the same time.

THIS was the part I found really tricky to write in my "Why Dartmouth" essay a year ago. How do you talk about the people you still haven't met, but are absolutely certain that they exist and that they're amazing without sounding corny or delusional?

As a senior in high school, you can't really KNOW that the community at your dream college is in fact the amazing community you think it is. After all, you still haven't become a part of that community to cite it as your main reason for applying to that school. Besides, how do you convincingly explain that hunch of yours, that gut feeling that these are YOUR PEOPLE, when you still haven't met these people?

I don't know how you do all that—you often just write something you aren't quite proud of, like I did. In my original "Why Dartmouth" essay, I focused on real things I could easily put in writing—from the Organic Farm to the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship. But in my revised "Why Dartmouth" essay, I would write about the people; I'd write about the brilliant, hilarious, and fascinating hikers, climbers, archers, birdwatchers, surfers, and skiers that make me grateful every day that I'm at no other school but Dartmouth :)

a room full of tens of people
The first meeting of the Cabin & Trail this year—proof that these amazing people exist and proof that there's LOADS of them!

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