What Dartmouth Students Do During the Summer
There are a number of things that a student can do during the summer.
The first thing you can do is continue taking classes, courtesy of the sophomore summer requirement that is built into every single person's D-Plan. Even when you're not a sophomore you can elect to do this: I have many freshman friends who are doing exactly that this year because everything is still remote due to the coronavirus. Being in residence in the summer also means that if you want to work or do research in the winter, you can.
Many Dartmouth students also work, conduct research, do summer programs, or apply for internships. Dartmouth itself has a number of funding opportunities for summer programs, such as those through the Dickey Center, Rockefeller Center, or Center for Social Impact. The Dartmouth alumni network is also truly extensive and networking often can get you some great connections. Doing some research before you start applying to research or internship programs can help you plan out your budget. There are a lot of opportunities for you to fund your experiences, so don't be afraid to reach out to an advisor to see what is possible! In my experience, if you want to be busy during the summer, it is 100% possible for you to find something that suits your needs.
Lastly, students also take the summer to explore other aspects of their identity that they may not get to engage with as much during the school year. They may volunteer, take other courses, read for fun, or go backpacking across the American plains. Because everything is online this term, many students are further taking a part of club activities.
As you get further into your Dartmouth journey, "summer" will start meaning less to you because of the D-Plan. As other students at other universities structure their time around the semester system and a mandatory "off" term in the summer, you will quickly learn that summer is just another time of the year. Past freshman year, everyone's D-Plan starts to look a little bit different. You decide what you want to do with your schedule, including how you tackle summer. Maybe you love the Upper Valley and want to stay close, doing classes or a Hanover FSP. Or maybe you hate winters on the East Coast and take those off from school instead. Sophomore and junior year is a lot of bouncing around for many people—nothing is ever stagnant. And come senior year, there are three quarters of stability as everyone completes their last year together before heading off for the summer once more.