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.
What a wonderful (and complicated) question! Applying early decision (ED) is something that a lot of high school seniors worry about since it is such a big commitment that you have to prepare for earlier than normal in the college admissions process.
I will note that I did not apply ED, although I did do an earlier process with Questbridge. However, many of my friends at Dartmouth did ED here and I had read a lot about doing early decision as well. From what I remember, there were some people I knew viewed ED-ing as a sort of short cut or game of chance: you can apply early to get the college application process out of the way, or you can apply early in the hopes of having better chances through the smaller pool of applicants.
While certainly practical, those two reasons do not truly get at the heart of what ED is supposed to be. For students applying to college, early decision is meant to give them the chance to demonstrate their interest in one "dream" school that they know they would be 100% happy attending if admitted. If this personal goal or wish isn't present, it is quite likely that the application itself is not as captivating as others.
Therefore, I encourage you to do some research and follow your heart! You should apply ED if, after all the time spent online or talking with others, you have come to the conclusion that Dartmouth is the place you want to be for the next four years of your life—nothing more (or less) complicated than that. I completely empathize that this level of commitment to a school that you may have never even visited can be daunting, so some questions that can help you decide whether or not to ED are:
1. Do I want to spend my college years in a rural place like the Upper Valley? Do I want to be so close / so far away from home?
2. What would my financial aid look like if I went to Dartmouth? Is this something that I am comfortable with?
3. What do I hope to get out of my college experience personally, academically, and professionally? What do I need to be able to accomplish these goals?
4. How do I feel about small campuses vs. large ones? Rural ones vs. city ones? Liberal arts schools vs. pre-professional ones?
5. What other opportunities (study abroad, internships, industry connections, etc.) do I hope to find at college? Is Dartmouth the ideal place to get them?
Hopefully by answering these questions, doing some research on your own, and talking to Dartmouth students and students at other universities, you can begin to learn about what type of school you'd enjoy going to. At the end of the day, if you find yourself gravitating towards Dartmouth, then it may be worth your while to ED! But if you are still on-the-fence and could see yourself being happy at many institutions, there is also no rush. I myself applied to Dartmouth January 1st like the majority of students and enjoyed the range of choices I had come March my senior year of high school.
College application season is very stressful for many people and can bring about a lot of doubts and reservations about which move is the "right" one. While the system is by no means perfect or understandable to outsiders like you or me, I do believe that everyone can grow in any place that they end up; treat this process as one of self-discovery and a culmination of all your hard work in high school and prior. Through your earnesty, dedication, and genuineness, I am sure that you will find the perfect place.
When adapting to a unique college environment, it is important to open yourself up to new perspectives and meet all kinds of wonderful people! Yet, it is even more important to remember your values and what makes you happy.
For me, having a close-knit community played a vital role in my college search. Dartmouth's respect and love for Indigenous and Latinx students inspired me to apply. These factors all played a role in my decision to ultimately attend Dartmouth.
I'm Luke, an international member of the class of '25. In this blog, I introduce myself as a brand new member of the People Places Pines blogging team and talk about my first few weeks since hitting campus!