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Picture of footprints in the snow that spell out the word mock with a heart above it

I'm coming clean: in high school, I was a theatre kid. A big-time, school musical, show tunes in the shower theatre kid. Entering college, I knew that I still wanted to have some creative outlet involving theatre. However, I was unsure if I wanted to jump into full-school productions immediately in my first term. I got my theatrical fix in a very unexpected place: the Dartmouth Mock Trial team!

I had a vague idea of what mock trial was coming into college, but I was not aware of all the details. I knew you presented a court case as a team and could act as an attorney or a witness (the role I had my eye on). Not having any previous experience with mock trial, when tryouts came around, I figured it would be a fun thing to say that I applied for even if nothing came of it, but to my surprise, I was accepted onto the team as a witness! Something I've experienced with my club involvement is that most clubs and academic teams at Dartmouth are very accessible to people without previous experience—a notion my friends conveyed in my earlier blog post. If you have an interest at Dartmouth, you can find ways to learn about it and get involved, even if it is entirely new to you, and most clubs have fantastic upper-level students who are more than happy to help you out.

From there, I was familiarized with mock trial quickly and started having practices, team meetups, and hangouts with the other members. In the fall, the turnaround from team selection to our tournament was very short. We started working hard dissecting our case, forming lines of argument and ideas, and building witness characters to take to trial.

Spending so much time around the same few (very fun) people daily meant that I made friends with the other team members very quickly! One of the best things about being involved with academic teams is how many great friendships and social opportunities spawn from them. Involvement allows you to find other people interested in the same things as you and to meet upper-level students who have already experienced so much of what Dartmouth has to offer and are happy to help first-years find their way. 

Finally, after five weeks of hard work, it was time. This past weekend, we packed up our case materials, ironed our suits, and drove over to Philadelphia for our first tournament of the year! We had the opportunity to argue our cases four times against other teams and finally see what mock trial looks like in competition. It really clicked into place for me how much strategy, focus, and performance is required to succeed. As we drove back to Dartmouth in the middle of the night, I thought about how much I'd enjoyed my mock trial team experiences and everything I'd learned from the process. I can't wait to see where this activity takes me over the rest of my time here, and I'm excited to begin implementing what I learned at my first competition both in mock trial and in my life as a whole.

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