People silhouetted on the summit of Moosilauke
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Picture of the Baker library at night

Coming into the USA, I could feel the 'American dream' in the air. Landing in Boston and seeing the massive buildings, cars, roads—well, essentially everything. First, I was stunned by the lack of sustainability; it is as if most people were competing to be less sustainable (sorry about getting off point). More importantly, I was filled with an overwhelming sense that in this country, anything was attainable. It was a feeling I hadn't fully grasped until that moment, despite reading about the concept of the 'American dream' in books like "The Great Gatsby" and "Of Mice and Men." That dramatically changed the second I landed in Boston and came to Dartmouth. 

Fast forward three weeks, and I find myself at Dartmouth College, where the opportunities seem boundless. The sheer number of student clubs, more than 2000 classes to choose from, and approachable professors ready to support and collaborate with students are overwhelming. Joining student groups is often free, and the range of sports you can explore feels endless.

Honestly, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the abundance of choices. It's like walking into a supermarket and deciding what you want to become for the next four years. However, what unifies all these options is the prevailing sense of hopefulness and freedom, the belief that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. In other words, Dartmouth has made me feel like I could join the mountaineering club and become a professional climber or dive into the investment club and become a Wall Street banker. In these three weeks, the 'American dream' has transformed from an abstract idea into a tangible reality.

But I can't help but wonder, is this experience the same for everyone? This question began to nag at me towards the end of New Student Orientation. During a presentation by Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, the class of 2027 played a straightforward game: stand up if a statement applied to you. We started with simple questions like who was from the US and who was from abroad, but then we delved into more complex and thought-provoking issues, such as the racial makeup of our class. However, one particular statement struck me: "Both of my parents have a university education." Almost the entire class stood up, and I realized how privileged we all were. Globally, only 4-7% of the world's population attains tertiary education, and most of my class belonged to that small percentage. Now, that's what I call food for thought.

Before I conclude, I'd like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to those who made it to Dartmouth despite facing various disadvantages. To the students from minority backgrounds, single-parent households, or other underprivileged circumstances, I'm genuinely proud of your resilience and determination.

And to you, dear reader, whatever background and country you are coming from, I commend your dedication and hard work that brought you here. I look forward to meeting you in person, too. You are on a remarkable journey.

Lastly, I commend Dartmouth for inviting Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington and organizing that workshop. It's not easy to acknowledge the privilege that a significant portion of the student body holds, but it's an essential step in shaping well-rounded, socially aware individuals.

So, kudos to Dartmouth for fostering an environment where the 'American dream' is a tangible reality while also recognizing the need to address its complexities and inequalities.

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