Michal Demeter Tvrdoň
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Navigating Campus Life and Building Genuine Connections at Dartmouth (Finding friends at Dartmouth)
It has been six weeks since classes started, and I still haven't found friends. Jokes!! I found some, and today I am gonna share a few lessons that I learned not only as an international student here at Dartmouth but also as a person who changes his surroundings quite often. Let's assume you become a Dartmouth student:
- Be active: Upon your arrival at Dartmouth, your new home, The first step is to contemplate what you want to achieve and the kind of person you aspire to be. The activities you choose will not only influence the friends you make but also shape your values while allowing you to learn new skills.
- Be curious: Always be curious and expect the best from people, especially at Dartmouth. For example, as soon as I came to campus, I really wanted a bicycle, but I didn't feel like buying one, so I went to Dartmouth Bikes and made a deal with them. I would help them with fixing bicycles, and in return, they would give me one for free.
- Lastly, be yourself: authenticity is the cornerstone of genuine connections. Pretending to be someone you're not may lead to social success, but it won't bring you the profound sense of belonging and inner peace that true community offers. Embrace your unique self and let your authenticity shine. It's the only way to build authentic relationships.
All of these suggestions manifested in my path towards climbing. I was always interested in climbing, and one day on trailhead (Dartmouth's website for signing up for Outing Club trips) I saw a trip to go climbing, and I signed up! Once I met the leaders, I was hooked, and I asked them to teach me how to belay. One of the leaders, Tulula, actually trusted me enough with her life that I ended up belaying her down a tower. She then told me about the climbing gym, and I suddenly started becoming part of a community of something greater.
While these suggestions may seem obvious, they are fundamental, particularly for incoming first-years and international students who may find themselves feeling isolated. Dartmouth, with its rich tapestry of experiences, has shown me that building connections, being curious, and staying true to oneself are the keys to a fulfilling and transformative college journey.
So, no matter which college you will end up at, I hope you find these insights helpful as you navigate your own unique path. If you end up coming to Dartmouth, make sure to reach out to me, so you can find your first upperclassmen friend.
PS: The entrance to the climbing gym is free for all Dartmouth students, and the college subsidizes all the Dartmouth Outing Club trips. Arguably, that's one of the best things about being a Dartmouth student, apart from the great food, beautiful nature, and caring professors.
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