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Hi everyone! I just finished up family weekend here at Dartmouth. I toured my parents around campus, visited Woodstock, VT for some shopping, and enjoyed many meals in Hanover at PINE and Molly's. It was a nice break from everyday routine and very rewarding to share this part of my life with them.

In this week's blog, I'm going to be writing about how academic and extracurricular life fare as a (very) undecided student. I am interested in politics, STEM, and computer science, as well as possibly going pre-med, so I was a little worried that I would feel lost when I arrived at Dartmouth. It seemed as if a lot of people knew what exactly they wanted to study, but that is definitely not the case with me.

Dartmouth is the perfect environment to explore your academic interests. Seriously. As a student with a very diverse (and ambitious) set of passions, the liberal arts education encourages experimentation with things you may or may not have tried before. At Dartmouth, we have Distributive and World Culture Requirements, colloquially called "distribs," which are 8 academic areas and 3 cultural areas that students must take classes in. It sounds like a daunting task, but many students complete these naturally, and they can be satisfied in creative ways.

When researching these requirements, I was inspired to take classes outside my comfort zone, trying all (very) new things. I'd never taken a CS course before, so I decided to jump into CS1, and I was hooked. It is comprehensive and (to my surprise) a very beginner-friendly course where I can test my problem-solving skills and apply them to real-life situations. To explore a new type of science, I took ANTH6: Introduction to Biological Anthropology which includes the study of primate and human evolution–it's fascinating! Right now, we're learning about the social and cultural behaviors of primates as well as contextualizing evidence with a fossil record. The professor teaches us the information in an engaging way, highlighting interesting case studies and showing educational (but very, very funny!) videos of the primates' behavior. Highly recommend!  Both classes fill different "distribs" and cover areas of interest that I never thought I'd try.

As for extracurriculars, one of my main concerns was that I wouldn't know what to get involved with because I wasn't sure of my major. With this hesitancy, I was nervous about "falling behind" in club leadership and pursuits. However, this was not the case–Dartmouth's student life is very inclusive. I've dropped into many open houses, information sessions, and workshops without fear of "belonging." Dartmouth encourages this type of exploration, so I'm taking advantage of it. The DOC (Dartmouth Outing Club) offers many trip options that take advantage of the fall foliage, so I've gone canoeing, hiking, and even tried timber sports. I'm excited to get involved in research considering how accessible the opportunities are and can't wait to get started in organizations like Model UN and club ski. Although the many options can be overwhelming at times, I have never regretted saying "yes" to something. That's why I'm so happy: I'm allowing myself to let loose and explore before committing to specific things. That's the spirit here! Everyone's rooting for you in whatever you decide to pursue.

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