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Dartmouth Homecoming Bonfire

At the time of writing this, homecoming will be long past. But, even after several weeks, I still look fondly on it. 

Homecoming Bonfire
The ten foot homecoming fire! You would not believe how hot it felt on my skin.
At first, I thought that homecoming was something every big school had, only to find out after talking with my friends back home that it's actually something pretty unique to Dartmouth. Essentially, during the New England fall, classes spanning all the way back to 1973 will return to their alma mater (us) to see both how the school has stayed the same, and how it has drastically changed. But, the main theme of homecoming is "Welcome Home," which hangs off the plentitude of banners along the street. For the alumni, this is why they come back to Dartmouth, even 50 years later — it was at Dartmouth where they found the community and values that they carry with them long past graduation. 

Homecoming Piggyback Ride
Me giving my friend a piggyback ride at the homecoming bonfire
For new students like me, that same message marks the start of the next four years of finding our new home and find the same community worth coming back to that these alumni have found. And, per Dartmouth's modus operandi, we celebrated this community through a strange, inexplicable tradition: the homecoming bonfire. The bonfire is exactly what it sounds like, except bigger. It stands at a raging 10 feet tall, and the entire class of 2023 gathers, parades around the entire school, and then walks around the bonfire as one, collective mass. Honestly, it is equal parts beautiful and terrifying.

My Friends and I at Homecoming
My friends and I just before the homecoming parade! Fellow blogger Natasha Raman '23 is also here. Check her stuff out!
The weirdest, and oddly comforting part about the whole thing is that during the parade, looking around the mass of people, you begin to realize that these are the people you're going to spend the rest of these next four years with. The class of 2023 is quite small, around only 1,193 students. Big enough that you won't know everyone, per say, but small enough that you'll be able to meet and know a good percentage of the class, and all their unique stories and experiences.

 

So this is my home now. Beautiful Hanover, New Hampshire. Seeing how tight-knit this community, I can't wait to see how the next four years will unfold. Hopefully, by the end of it all, I'll be one of those alumni 50 years later making the trek back to the Big Green. Who knows? If it's going the way it's going though, let's just say the chances are looking good.

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