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East Wheelock

Now it's time for me to introduce myself, something I've been doing a lot lately: in classes, walking to get lunch, and in floor meetings with my UGA (undergraduate advisor). It's nice to know that many core parts of my identity have not changed since the pandemic started and we were forced to rethink so many aspects of our daily social, academic, and professional lives. My name is Michael Harrison '24 and I'm from Long Island, NY, the only place I'd ever lived in my life before coming to Dartmouth.

I have one younger brother who is in high school, two parents, and two pet parrots back home that I am eager to see again soon. In high school, I tried to dabble in all things (from studying a foreign language like German to learning about political campaigns & electoral politics). I'm not quite sure what I'd like to major in at Dartmouth, but I think a quantitative field like mathematics or economics would be really interesting. Despite having never traveled outside of the United States before, I am really hopeful that I'll be able to participate in one of the College's study abroad programs at some point.

My town on Long Island was quite homogeneous: racially, economically, and educationally. So, it's really inspiring to see people from all different cultural and geographical backgrounds here: in the First-Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP), I was told that the students in my cohort spoke a combined 20+ languages at home! In high school, I always thought of myself as just a 'good student' who couldn't get too involved with things outside of my schoolwork without sacrificing my grades. But at Dartmouth, I've already gotten the sense that a quality liberal arts education is just as much about your contributions in clubs, volunteer groups, and to writing publications (I hope to write for The Dartmouth at some point) as it is about being a 'good student.'

Although my first official week as a Dartmouth student has just come to a close, it feels like I've been a part of the Dartmouth 'ecosystem' for a while now! Over the summer I participated in the First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP), which is designed for students who are the first in their families to go to college. It was great being able to acclimate myself to the social and academic pace of college by taking general classes in STEM and the humanities. (My favorite class was 'Culture, Identity & Belonging.') There were countless social events that allowed me to bond with other first-years and upper-class mentors. (To be honest: getting used to socializing with others virtually over the summer really gave me an advantage when it came to navigating my first week of classes.) Because this is my first blog post, I feel that I should introduce myself while also providing a summary of my first week of the fall term. 

I arrived in Hanover just over a week ago. (I'm not going to lie and say that the drive up to New Hampshire from my hometown on Long Island was perfect, but it went as well as I could have hoped.) There was a very quick turnaround between course election day on Friday and the start of classes on Monday. Fortunately, I got all three of the classes I wanted! I'm taking a required writing class, a mathematics class, and an economics class this fall - we'll see where those subjects take me soon enough. Anyway, I've found the professors and my fellow classmates to be very chill so far in terms of getting the required textbooks and exchanging contact information. Because classes are remote, I've had a good amount of time during the week to explore campus, while still adhering to all of the safety protocols that the College has put in place. This past weekend, I (along with six other students and someone from the Dartmouth Outing Club) was even able to go on a four-mile hike in the morning. The Upper Valley truly is a beautiful place, and exploring the outdoors is fortunately something that is still possible this term. I've been quite busy with my first homework assignments this weekend, but I was always expecting to be challenged once I officially started classes. 

Hiking in the Upper Valley
Hiking in the Upper Valley!

I guess I'll conclude this blog post with a quote I've always liked: "What you allow is what will continue." This term, I'm going to allow myself to step outside of my comfort zone and meet people whose life stories don't resemble my own at all. I'm also going to try my best academically, while also realizing that you can't be miserable outside of class and expect to do well in class. I'm excited to share more of my Dartmouth experience in the weeks to come. 

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