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A photo of a tall tree illuminated by light taken in the summer

I remember "Ivy Day" clearly; on my high school's spring break, my family and I were on vacation. A hot afternoon, we entered the hotel room to prepare to go to the swimming pool, and the notifications on my phone were a nerve-wracking sight. I opened all my portals, and with low expectations, I opened one result right after another. As I opened Dartmouth's, the thought of going to the swimming pool all but vanished.

Dartmouth. When first researching the school during college applications, I looked at the location of the school, winced, and closed the tab—I didn't want the college I would attend to be cold. But as the research process continued and I took a second look, I realized that everything except for the cold was intriguing; a flexible music program, a proximity to nature, extraordinary undergraduate focus (I mean, they had a blog for current students to share their experiences. That's cool). Perhaps I could let the cold slide. And let it slide I did—Dartmouth has been a whirlwind of experiences, from little things like having bagels or breakfast sandwiches every morning and tranquilizing fruit flies for a lab, to meeting new people and re-evaluating what I might want to do with my time here.

Sometimes, I feel the novelty of the school has faded a bit (and the cold!), two terms in. The intensive routine of meeting new people, taking new classes, and joining new groups has settled in. I'll be honest, I'm a little nervous for the upcoming term: without a long 6-week break, will I be able to be ready for this term? The long nights studying for the next day's test? The slight embarrassment when trying to find a seat in the dining hall? The exhausted late-night walk back to the dorm, knowing I'll have to wake up early for class the next day? The new introductions, the old-new introductions?

And yet, I remember the leaves in the fall term as they lit up the Green with warm colors; the quiet snowfall in winter term as I walked to my next class; the laughs I hear and share in the hallways. The people that I've met here, who I still see around and say hello to, even if we haven't talked in a while; the friends who I'm always glad to see around.

Three plants illuminated by a large window in the Fairfield Tower
A peaceful morning in Fairfield Tower

And I remember that that's why I choose to go to Dartmouth, every day I'm here. It's quite beautiful here.

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