Recently, I gave my tour test, the final step in my training to become a tour guide. We give a mock tour to one of the senior tour guides, who evaluate us on our energy and correctness, making sure every tour that prospective students go on is full of information and enthusiasm about our school.
One of the criteria for a good tour is being able to effectively communicate why you chose Dartmouth as a high school senior, and why you continue to choose Dartmouth as a current student. I figured, after spending some time thinking about my answer, that maybe it would be a good thing to share with y'all, too, just in case you can't make it to campus for a tour.
My "Why Dartmouth" is two parts.
- Dartmouth scared me. It is 3500 miles away from home, carries the reputation of "most conservative Ivy" (not true in my experience) and was in the middle of rural New Hampshire. Coming from San Francisco, it was as far away from my comfort zone as I could possibly imagine. After living at home for a year, I needed to do something that was different — I knew if I went to school in a city, I would live in a city for the rest of my life. College felt like an oppurtunity to try something new, and I wanted to take advantage of it! Dartmouth has been hard — it's been outside my comfort zone. However, I know I am growing just by existing here and couldn't be happier with my choice.
- At the same time that Dartmouth has pushed me, it's been my place of "and." Dartmouth has supported all the parts of my identity. Here, I can be both a debater and a designer, queer and Catholic, introverted and social. Dartmouth has held me and supported me in the fullness of my identity. I feel like I am learning to make decisions that support all the pieces of me instead of forcing me to choose between them. As a tour guide, I often get asked, "What type of student does well at Dartmouth?" As annoying as it sounds, there is no one Dartmouth student — there are 4400 of us on campus, each streched between 1 million different adjectives and identities.
That's my why, and I think pieces of that are a part of every student here's why.