21X Opening Thoughts: I'm Back at Dartmouth!
Hello everyone and welcome to 21X, sophomore summer for the '23s!
In general, coming back onto campus was really surreal for me. Perhaps most surprising to me was that, on stepping out onto the Green for the very first time on Tuesday, it really felt like nothing had changed.
It has been more than a year since I've been at Dartmouth; I've spent every term at home during the pandemic. In some ways, I expected to feel more restless and anxious when I got to campus because of how long I'd been away. And yet, as soon as I got off the Coach, I felt like I was back in a home-away-from-home—I felt comfortable and like I was back where I belonged. This week, I crossed the Green like I had done a hundred times over freshman year, said hello to familiar faces every thirty steps at FoCo, and lugged myself over to the gym for dance auditions just like I had done my first few weeks here as a new student.
Things aren't going to be all easy-going this term, of course. For one, my courses seem to be a little more hands-on this time around, with multiple midterms in Organic Chemistry 2 and Abstract Algebra. Last term, all three of my classes only had one midterm and one final, which helped me a lot personally since I sometimes struggle with test anxiety and would rather have fewer, larger assignments instead of more, smaller ones. Additionally, there is no getting around the fact that I now need to take care of myself once more, remembering to feed myself regularly and fit other "adulting" things into my schedule, like doing my laundry, washing my dishes, and making sure that I am safeguarding my mental and spiritual health during these next ten weeks. And lastly, being at college will always mean that you're getting tested on your boundaries and your principles because you're surrounded by so many different people and so many different ideas. It can be easy to lose yourself in the process, or somehow get frustrated with your own personality when it feels like you're not fitting in. This can all sound a little scary, but what's growth without a little bit of pressure?
And so those are my opening thoughts for 21X! This term, my three largest goals are to
1) be engaged in my courses, attending office hours and getting to know my professors and classmates
2) develop and maintain my own hobbies, such as music, dance, and literature
3) be spontaneous! Go swimming in the river with friends, head over to Norwich for brunch, or go hiking on a Saturday afternoon—summer in the Upper Valley is one of the best times to be a Dartmouth student and I'm so excited for what this term has to offer.
If you're interested in seeing how the rest of 21X unfolds, stay tuned! For now, I hope you are having a wonderful day and a wonderful summer!