Hello there, friend! My name is Love and I am a '23. Aside from being on the pre-med track, I'm currently interested in studying math and public policy. I have a penchant for old things, learning languages, and the arts. I also love personality tests, irrespective of their actual validity—in case you're curious, I'm an INFJ, Scorpio, dragon, and type 2w1.
BIOL 11.07 (Major Events in the History of Life and the Human Genome) is a very unique class. We learn topics such as oxidative phosphorylation in conjunction with evolution and paleontology. In other words, where and when did ETC come from, and how can we support our hypothesis? Though not an easy class by far, every day the material I learn amazes me with the wonder of life, which is how biology should be!
MES 7.03 (Jerusalem: Vision and Reality) was my First-Year Seminar and such an interesting class to take! We explored Jerusalem through three main viewpoints (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). The class had a bit of religion, literature, anthropology, sociology, and even geography—all things I love to study but don't necessarily have the space for with our three-class quarters. I often found myself going to office hours just to talk with my professor about questions I had outside of the reading!
COSC 10 (Problem Solving with Object-Oriented Programming) is a data structures course and the last pre-requisite for the computer science major. Though I added it as a fourth class on a whim because of COVID-19 and remote learning, it quickly became my favorite class this term because I loved the problem solving that CS has to offer. It is a difficult class but the emotional and academic rewards make it all worth it!
This was one of four classes I took during fall term and it was super interesting! We learned about healthcare systems and innovations from around 4 guest lecturers per week, and were able to do research on our own and propose a new system at the end of the term. Students came from all over campus and the course was very enlightening for me in terms of understanding how care is dispensed in the U.S. and how we can improve it.
Though this was my first "foundation" course in the Biology department and I still found it challenging, I really enjoyed learning the material and found it all super exciting! We learned about DNA replication, mRNA transcription and protein translation, genetics, and had the opportunity to do a literature review at the end of the term.
The dreaded Organic Chemistry sequence of my pre-med track came upon me faster than I thought it would, but it surprised me by being one of my favorite classes to date! I found it intellectually interesting (even though it was time-consuming), probably because I treated it like a STEM-and-logic puzzle instead of pure STEM or pure memorization. Am I great at it? Not necessarily. Do I remember everything I've learned? I'm not too sure! Am I mentally ready for Organic Chemistry 2 next term? Not at all! But I had a lot of fun doing this class and surprised even myself with how I tackled it.
Under the fears of making new friends, dealing with college academics, and being in a new environment lies a common but often underrepresented worry: homesickness. I know that when I was an incoming student, I often felt that this emotion, or even being afraid of growing up, signified immature or childish parts of myself that made it difficult to reach out for guidance. After all, many people's strongest memories of being homesick in childhood were during summer camps or even their first sleepover. Shouldn't we have grown out of that by now?
I am here to reassure you three things: 1) dealing with homesickness or anxiety during this time of your life is not immature or something to be embarrassed about, 2) you are ready to conquer this hurdle, and 3) you are not alone.
Homesickness often occurs when people leave familiar surroundings; this is the reason why children feel homesick at summer camps and new immigrants long for their home country. For many people in the United States, college is the first time that you are faced with the prospect of becoming independent, paving your own path in life, and growing up. Many of us leave our families, our hometowns, and our familiar ways of life. There is excitement there, to be sure, but there is also a fear and a nostalgia that will inevitably accompany you during this transition. This homesickness is completely normal and not a sign of immaturity or not "being ready" for college.
And because this emotion is so common in our society, it means that countless numbers of people have faced this very experience and have passed through it with grace. This also means that you are ready to conquer this hurdle yourself! Things that I know certainly helped me to combat homesickness during my freshman year were: calling home regularly, doing self-reflection and writing, having things around from home, keeping busy and socializing with others, continuing traditions (such as having pancakes on Sundays or going to religious services), finding things that you love about your new environment, and watching or reading media where the characters were going through a similar experience.
And lastly, remember that you are not alone! Though it may not look like it, many people at Dartmouth are going through the same things as you are. Reach out to other students or staff that you trust for connection and advice—community is definitely something that Dartmouth students lean on during difficult times, and we will be there from your first bout of homesickness to your last worries about getting a job after graduation, and beyond.
Making new friends and getting to do the things that I love were the two greatest things that helped me combat homesickness, and Dartmouth is uniquely positioned to give you both as soon as you step on campus. While you can do a lot of self-care and find ways to sort things out yourself, you'll actually find that, over time, you will simply feel homesick less and less. You will make new friends, discover fascinating classes, and find clubs that you resonate with. When you call home, you'll spend less time longing to go home and will spend more time telling friends and family about the funny thing that happened in class that day, the time that you first took a professor out to lunch at Pine, or your very first research or internship offer. You'll start saying you're going "home" when you're going back to the dorms. You'll find things in your new life that you know would make your family at home happy as well, like Cabot Cheese or our famous maple syrup.
And after all is said and done, you will come out of this experience with a greater appreciation for your childhood and an enthusiasm to start this next chapter of your life. It'll take some time, but you will get there. And we will be there right alongside you.
In hopes of sharing my Homecoming in a unique way that will hopefully show you a different side of Dartmouth's biggest tradition, I decided to just share three things. Three nice things that I experienced during Homecoming.