Hi there! I'm May and I'm sooo excited to share my Dartmouth experience with you! I love basically all types of food, binge watching Asian shows, and cozy movie nights! Find me in gym playing badminton, with my friends in the common rooms, getting coffee at Collis (my favorite), or volunteering at local service projects!
Quantitative Social Science
Favorite Thing Right Now
Finally having Stir-fry from Collis after a looong year...
This class was my introduction to quantitative social sciences but it definitely won't be my last QSS class at Dartmouth! We worked with datasets, from global wealth distribution to most popular ramen chains in Japan, and learned how to make graphs/visuals through the programming software R.
Do we really live in the best of all possible worlds? This course explores pessimism and the values of human existence from Greek literature. I've never had much interest in the classics but Prof. Lurie's passion and enthusiasm in his lectures had me up reading Plato at 2am. This is a class which will surely stimulate your intellectual curiosity and push you to ask questions about even the most mundane of things.
As the name suggests, BIO12 explores the nature and function of cells and the class covers a lot of material through lectures and assignments. Through Zoom break-out groups, we discussed and solved practice problems together, an approach I wasn't very familiar with, especially virtually. We also used online databases and findings to compile our own data to analyze for labs, which I found extremely insightful!
My first geography class at Dartmouth and first introduction to GIS technology, something that I've always been intrigued by. Prof. Xun Shi takes the time to go over each conceptl to make sure his students have a solid understanding of the fundamentals. We also had lab sessions where we used ArcGIS to work with spatial data, geographic information, and maps in group projects.
Arguably one of the best classes at Dartmouth! Whether you are a computer science major or not, this class is a "must-take". Beyond coding, I felt as though I gained a whole new outlook on problem solving and creative thinking. Some of the problem sets Professor Vasanta gives the class are really fun and interesting and she herself is a phenomenal teacher. You won't regret taking this class!
What do you wish you knew before attending Dartmouth?
Looking back as a sophomore, one thing I wish I knew about Dartmouth is that the people you meet here are genuinely willing to talk to you and find a way to help you. Right off the bat, from freshmen DOC trips and orientation, I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming my international student mentor and trip leaders were. There's a lot of work that occurs behind in scenes in welcoming the freshmen class, and both faculty and upperclassmen really put in their time and effort to make sure you have plenty of access to resources on campus. Seeing their bright smiles and hearing their offers to grab coffee together at Collis or lunch at '53 Commons was incredibly helpful for an anxious freshmen like me.
Take advantage of having upperclassmen in your classes or club events! It wasn't until winter term of freshmen year when I started reaching out to the upperclassmen and getting to know them. It's absolutely normal to be shy, overwhelmed, or nervous about approaching upperclassmen. But once I made the first step to reach out to a junior in one of my tougher classes for some homework help, the rest, as they say, is history. You really get the best study tips, advice, and insider knowledge of secret menu items from upperclassmen!
Another thing I wish I knew, or be more prepared for, about Dartmouth is the quarter system. A disclaimer: It. Is. Incredibly. Fast-paced. Three classes a term might not sound like too much, but the rigor of each course always keeps you on your toes. You really have to work your sleep schedule, eating habits, and social life around the 10-week term. The first midterms approach around the 3rd week of classes and continuing to propelling yourself forward to be on top of assignments and projects can be challenging.
One last thing I wish I knew does not particularly pertain to Dartmouth, but with starting college in general: it's very common for us to appear calm and collected on the outside while in actuality, we're frantically trying to keep up. As students and young adults, we're easily influenced by those around us and thus, we can't help but compare ourselves to friends and peers. But doing so traps us in an unhealthy cycle where we forget to pause, breathe, and give time to check up and take care of ourselves. Maybe one of the biggest things I've picked up the last two years is that everyone has a unique path to take. And when you believe in your own growth and pace, it's so much easier to not only be genuinely happy for yourself, but also for others.
Starting college is both daunting and exciting. For many of us, it starts with a mental picture of university life that we've put together from the advice we've collected from counselors, teachers, or family members, what we've read up online, or even from what we've seen in the movies. Chances are, even if you start college equipped with a handful of resources and testimonies, there's always going to be surprises and realizations. There really is no one truth or story. Yours will likely be full of twists and turns, ups and downs, backtracks and sideloops. But that is really what makes the whole experience so amazing.
One of the coolest things about Dartmouth is the D-Plan! It is an amazing and flexible system that allows your academic life to flow seamlessly around your future plans. Here is an international student's perspective on it.