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Student on the Dartmouth Green

The last time I was on the Big Green, I was running across its well-beaten path, desperately trying to reach the other side to say goodbye to a friend before she stepped on the Dartmouth Coach. It wasn't long until it was my turn to get on the bus to the airport and return home.

That was almost 16 months ago. Now, I'm finally back on the Green again, enjoying the summer sun as a new term awaits me.

Boba Milk Tea Drinks
Trying out the new Boba place in town!

It is sophomore summer. And here at Dartmouth, sophomore summer is pretty much supposed to be the cherry on top of your sophomore year. It's a time when campus is almost entirely all sophomores and we have 10 weeks before junior year to make the most of it. Whether it's digging deeper into our majors, getting involved in more club and service activities, or exploring Hanover outdoors, the world really is our oyster at this time in our Dartmouth journeys.

As much as I'm excited to jump right into my sophomore summer, I also feel a small knot in my stomach.  The past year has really been a whirlwind for all of us, hasn't it?  It's still hard for me to process everything that has changed and everything that will change in the near future as the pandemic shows signs of exhaustion and COVID restrictions subside gradually. I think many people might share the same mixed feelings of excitement and uneasiness as me. I mean, it wasn't that long ago when we were desperately counting the days until we see our friends and family and do all the things we normally did before. Although the pandemic crisis is far from over, here we are again, opportunities abound but with a shift in normalcy once more.

The last couple of days, I have found sitting on the Green to be a new hobby of mine. I like the warm grass between my toes. I like watching Frisbee games while I enjoy my lunch on the benches by the sides. Most of all, I love hearing the laughter of students in their sun dresses, comfy tops, gym shorts, and summer outfits. Being back on campus, especially seeing all the faces, familiar or not, somehow help me return to a certain sense of normalcy. Little by little, I'm getting there. And maybe, it's okay if the feeling of complete normalcy is still far down the road.  Maybe, I'll never feel that way again. Maybe, we're meant to find new normals in life to really be making the most of it, whatever comes our way. I'm constantly finding new sides of myself and continuously learning more about who I am. As I write my own sophomore year, I think I will be trying, finding, and enjoying new "normals", even in the smallest scales. 

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