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Dartmouth campus in the snow

Even after one and a half years at Dartmouth, I still haven't explored all there is to see and experience here - however, I think I've done a pretty good job at finding Dartmouth's most niche nooks and crannies. Though this campus is small in size, there are so many wonderful spots, from study areas to picturesque nature scenery. Below, I present you with my top 5 favorite places that I've enjoyed since fall during my first year!

No. 1: Fairchild, fourth floor

The official name is Sherman Fairchild Physical Sciences Center, but students know this building more colloquially as Fairchild. During my first-year fall, I had a lab section for my earth sciences course in Fairchild, specifically on the fourth floor! I had never been in a building like this on Dartmouth's campus - it's not exactly built in the same architectural style as Baker-Berry, for instance. Fairchild gets a lot of natural light due to its giant windows, which makes it such a gorgeous place to study in. I also find that it's one of the less crowded buildings, since many students choose one of the libraries as their primary study location. One of my favorite memories here was during the end of my first-year fall, where I was working late at night and glanced up to see my first-ever flurry. (I cried because it was so beautiful.)

No. 2: Hood Museum of Art

The Hood Museum has one of the oldest and largest collections of any university in the US! I first visited the Hood Museum during my first-year fall for my Italian I class, where we viewed Renaissance art (and talked about it in Italiano, of course). Many students will find themselves in the museum for a class at one point or another, but students can also visit on their own time, which I love. They are constantly curating new exhibitions and collections; every visit, I see something brand-new! I have unfortunately not been recently, but the last time I passed by, I caught a glimpse of some mannequins with gorgeous attire on. The Hood Museum is also connected to Courtyard Cafe, a popular eatery for students - so, whenever you visit, you can grab some dinner, then meander around the museum, looking at the art!

No. 3: The Green

A Dartmouth CLASSIC. The Green is unavoidable. You will walk on it almost every day of your life. Sometimes it will be icy. And sometimes it will be, hence the name, green! This is our version of a quad, as it's the main green area on campus, lined with benches and trees. When the weather is nice, it's not uncommon to see students sprawled out, doing their work! (There's Wi-Fi on the green!) My personal favorite time to be on the Green is during spring, when the last of the ice has finally melted and the temperature has reached the 70s. When this happened last spring, the Green looked like a crowded beach during the summer! Seeing everyone happy and sunkissed is what makes the cold winter months worth it.

No. 4: BEMA

BEMA stands for Big Empty Meeting Area, and that's quite literally what it is. Most students will go to BEMA during first-year orientation week at an event called the Twilight Ceremony. I won't spoil the magic and tell you what that is, but I promise it's cool. Otherwise, I personally feel like BEMA is severely underloved - and that should change! Every winter, an event called BEMA Lights happens where the entire area is decorated like a winter wonderland. BEMA Lights was truly one of the highlights of my winter - it had been a long and arduous term for me, academically, and I actually remember planning to skip out on BEMA Lights due to an essay I had to write. A friend of mine convinced me to take a break, just for an hour, and I don't regret a thing! And, I ended up doing well on the essay, so all was well!

No. 5: Occom Pond

I lived in the Choate Cluster my first year, which is situated right by Occom Pond! While this pond is not in any way swimmable, it can be enjoyed in other ways. For instance, in the winter when the pond freezes over, students are able to rent skates (for free!) from the college and go out ice skating! Or, during the fall and spring, I loved going on "woccoms" (walks around Occom) with friends. Occom is surrounded by beautiful nature year-round, and it always makes for a great photo-op, in my opinion. Coming from a more tropical place, where I swim in just about any body of water, I was at first shocked to learn that I should not enter this pond, but seeing the cute animals (I saw deer there last fall!) and pretty foliage certainly makes up for it.

If you ever get the chance to visit Dartmouth's campus, I highly recommend all of these spots. Sometimes, as students, it's easy to get caught up in going to class, getting work done, grabbing a quick bite, going to bed, and repeating it all over again. I am also guilty of doing this, and I constantly have to remind myself to get out and enjoy the beauty of where I go to school. Now that I'm thinking of it…I think I'll go on a woccom tomorrow!

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