Hey everyone! Welcome to a whole new term of Dartmouth craziness, brought to you via Zoom, copious amounts of stress, and a healthy stash of quarantine snacks. While this certainly isn't the spring I had in mind—there was actually no possible scenario in my mind where I had to do college at home because of a pandemic— I am learning to make the best of our circumstances.
Where am I? For the foreseeable future, I am back home in Metro-Detroit, Michigan. This house, on account of it being an open-floor plan and being run by Taiwanese parents, has no personal space whatsoever. I am quarantined right now with my parents, my twin sister, and my dog. Every single day, everyone wakes up at the same time and then spends the entire day in the same area of the house. If I wake up earlier, so does everyone else. Via parental design, my room has no desk and so I work at a table facing my sister with my back to my dad and my mom (who sit behind me). While my dog is extremely happy to see everyone at home, sometimes I just would like some space to myself, but I think personal space is going to be in short supply for a while.
Since all courses are pass/fail this term, I ended up adding a fourth class just to spice things up. So now, I am taking:
- CHEM 6: General Chemistry II
- COSC 10: Problem-Solving via Object-Oriented Programming
- FREN 2: Introductory French II
- MATH 24: Linear Algebra
I was already planning on taking CHEM 6 (for medical school requirements), FREN 2 (for Dartmouth's language requirement), and MATH 24 (prerequisite for the math major). I added the computer science class last minute, and stayed up until midnight the day of add-drop so that I could sneak into the class before all the other students stormed in. The portal ended up crashing because nearly every single student wanted to add a fourth class, so I wound up waking up at 5:30AM later that day to add it because I was worried about it being over capacity. Some of my other friends just emailed the professor to get in after it had filled up. Ah, the joys of being a worrier.
Many of my extracurricular involvements are meeting via Zoom. I did lose out on three jobs that I was planning on starting, but other than that, I am still finding myself to be pretty busy here at home. I've also taken up some other activities that I didn't have time for in the winter because I'm a chronic over-scheduler. Dartmouth students have navigated this virtual term quite readily and many clubs are still trying to communicate with students about how to get involved. Other than that, I now spend lots of time with my sister, make time for hobbies such as art or cooking, and generally lead a "slower" lifestyle than I would at Dartmouth. I still have a weird amount of stress connected to my academic work considering the fact that it's mandatory pass/fail. And now that there is no social outlet for my stress, I'm really needing to dig deep and figure out how to live without a constant sense of doom.
One thing that has helped me a lot during this time has been connecting with all the '24s! As a student employee at the admissions office, I can say that we are working really hard to make sure that you have all the information you need to make your decisions come May 1st. Please feel free to reach out, view all the programming coming your way, and sign up for things such as virtual hosting and calls. Though it can be difficult right now, all things will pass and we will get through this together. Make sure to wash your hands, respect the rules of your locale, and be kind during all of this. I'll see you on the flip side!