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Fall in Dartmouth

September.

By this time of the year in Hanover, the rust-colored leaves start their wistful dance from branch to ground. A fine mist hangs in the air in the early mornings and the last of summer petals sway in the calm breeze. Standing on the Green, Dartmouth's historic grass-covered field, you get a front seat to the sunset that paints the sky a vibrant shade of berry-red and gold: fall has arrived.  

In case you couldn't tell, I love falls in Hanover. And for the rest of the year, while I'm back home in Myanmar, I'll think about the smell of the freshly softened mud or the blanket of leaves in front of my dorm steps. Many of us, like me, will also be missing this view as we begin a new, remote academic year unlike any other.  

Fall term is just down the road and there really seems to be no better time for reflection as the present. Whether you will be taking classes on-campus or remotely, soon you'll be adjusting to a new 'normal' and experiencing Dartmouth in your own unique way. While living amidst this ambiguity can be challenging, it's also a goldmine of mindfulness and creativity. As teenagers, we'll need to think of ways to keep in touch with our friends.

Emoji check-ins? Netflix watch parties?

 And as students, we'll constantly be shaping and sharpening our learning styles through experimenting with new ideas for virtual classes.

 More opportunities for one-on-one conversations with professors? Interactive virtual labs?

     

Fall Foliage in Dartmouth
Look at that quilt of yellow, gold, and red! Just who wouldn't jump in to play?
The list goes on. I'm no philosopher but if there's one thing I picked up this summer, it's that it's ok not to have all the answers. Even liberating. This term might not be unfolding like how you've imagined it, whether right now or later, but once you've embraced the uncomfortable, an open mind will keep pushing you to get the most of your college experience. A big part of my freshmen year has got to do with me appreciating the simple pleasures, the little things. I'd be in the common room, having a movie night with my friends, when suddenly I'd get all warm thinking how cozy it was be with those I love. Or, I'd just carried all of my laundry back to my room on the 3rd floor and I'd feel super proud for getting it all done on a school night. Little things matter to me. And what everything going on right now, I think it's more important than ever to try and find happiness in life's simplicities. I can't promise things will be perfect but at the very least, you'll always be able to find a reason to smile and move forward.

One step at a time, right?

For me, fall marks a fresh start: it is the promise of warm showers, twinkling morning frost, and the first snowflake of the year. Similarly, for all of us, this fall will be a new beginning, full of doors and discoveries. Open your mind and heart a little more than you're tempted to each day. Keep challenging. Keep engaging. Keep healing. And who knows? This might really turn out to be the one fall you surely will never forget.  

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