Hey there! My name is Simon and I'm a Senior (which is scary) enjoying my time here in Hanover! In addition to being a Blogger, I am a Tour Guide, I am involved with Greek Life, the German community, Performing Arts, Club Sports, and a bunch of other things on campus! I blog a lot about whatever I am interested in at the moment, and also love to use this as a place to reflect on my time at Dartmouth. I hope you enjoy my blog and let me know if you have any questions!
I came to Dartmouth as a Bio-Medical Engineering hopeful, and after my first week in class with Professor Murphy studying the classics of political philosophy, I totally changed my mind! I had never taken anything even close to a philosophy class in High School, so this was an amazing opportunity for me to be exposed to a field that I had never seen, and now love! I also loved bringing in the work I did in my other class (German 1) to this class so that I could read some of the pieces in German!
With my new found love for Political Science, I decided to take one of the biggest requirements for the major, Gov 10. I worked with Prof. Horiuchi to do a really cool research project on the effect of fake news on American voters in the US! We actually looked into getting funding to work on the research and publish it in a journal. I was pretty worried about taking a super math heavy class, but it ended up working out pretty well.
This spring in Hanover was one of my favorite terms! I had my first Green Key (which was my first concert ever) and I got to work in the admissions department with all of our visiting admitted students! I ended up hosting 6 students across the 2 weekends of "Dimensions", our admitted students weekends and ended up getting really close with a few of them. I still see them around on campus and they have hosted students of their own now!
So I did kind of a crazy thing and decided that I wanted my first time abroad to be a fully immersive home-stay study abroad with Dartmouth! I flew almost 18 hours from Hawai'i to London where I stayed with a really good friend and fellow Sophomore before jumping on a plane to Berlin. My host family and I got on immediately over our shared love of Lucky Charms, and I skype them almost once a month still! I will never forget riding down the cobblestone streets in my suburb of Berlin every morning and stopping by the Backeri to pick up a muffin on my way to class. It was such a surreal experience and something I would never have thought of doing before I came to Dartmouth. Also, fun fact, I got my first tattoo in Germany!
I took this amazing class with Susan Brison where we not only analyzed case books and took an in depth look at how the constitution is interrupted in various ways by various justices, but also had visits from law professors from all around the world! The class worked really well for me because it met twice a week during the evening, so I had time to schedule other events during the day.
Through the help of one of my academic advisors and with the information I learned in my fall law class, I was lucky enough to get an internship at a non-profit law firm in my home town! I got the call while I was sitting eating breakfast in Collis, and because I was not in school during a time when a lot of other students are, I was the only intern and the first undergraduate intern the office had ever had. I got to work with the family law unit, and really made an impact that I was happy with.
On a limb, I decided to apply for a class that looked at indigenous ways of knowing and how they proceeded or are intertwined with scientific study. During this class, I got to scrape a moose hide to make a traditional drum, learn from one of the foremost black ash basket makers in the world, and do biodiversity studies on local streams. This class was definitely one of the best I have ever taken at Dartmouth, and professor Reo is now helping with an independent study project!
Junior Fall is turning out to be a really interesting term! I am suddenly an upperclassman and starting to look at what I want to do after Dartmouth, which is a really interesting thing to pursue. I am excited to meet the '22s and do all of my favorite Fall things, but also excited to be off next term and see where my plans take me.
This Winter I am back home, working for a law firm and spending tons of time with my family! My regular day starts with breakfast with everyone, going into the firm and working on some cases from about 9:00am-2:00pm, and then heading to the beach before coming home for dinner. I am super happy to be home, studying for the LSAT and getting some work experience, but am excited to get back to Hanover.
It feels kind of weird to be back on campus because most of my friends were also gone, so its this interesting amalgamation of seeing people for the first time in 4 months but also all getting re-acquainted with the campus we know so well. I'm excited to take some classes that are a little bit different than what I would normally feel comfortable with, and I will share all about them in blogs to come. I am ready for Spring so catch me outside on the Green or in the sun as much as possible!
For the first time since Sophomore Summer all of the '20s are back which can only mean one thing, its senior year! I am so excited to watch peek foliage from inside with some nice cold apple cider. I am taking two seminar classes to finish my double major, and am excited to jump back into academics. Hopefully, the cold will stay off just long enough for me to get some good fall runs in, but I am eagerly awaiting the first snow!
Last week I got a question from a prospective '24 who, after talking with me for a while, got a little overwhelmed with hearing about all of the extracurriculars I spoke about in addition to my seemingly impossible academic schedule. It's true: Dartmouth is an Ivy League school and the education I receive is extremely rigorous, but is so much more than what is entailed in my major/and or extracurriculars. And as far as clubs and sports go, it is so much more than just going to a practice or sitting in a meeting! This week I want to elaborate on some of my activities and involvements to show that some activities and studies are so much more than they seem, and that being involved doesn't always mean being busy.
Firstly, to be sure, being a double major is hard! If you haven't seen my other posts, I am a Government and Philosophy double major. I often have a lot of readings/spend most of my time doing "homework" by reading and trying to draw conclusions from classical philosophical essays, guest speakers, movies, and sometimes even from just going to office hours and finding a new subject to research for a class. This term I am taking a culminating experience in the Government department which entails making professional campaign videos for fictional candidates played by classmates! Last spring, I took a class where our homework was to wander in the woods for a few hours every week and record observations in a field journal, which just goes to show that the academic workload can vary greatly. While it is a lot of work and I would say I spend at least a few hours a day studying, I also have so much time to fill with whatever I want.
Extracurricular-wise, you can do whatever you want at Dartmouth! You don't have to join any clubs, but we have everything from a surf team to a coffee club and everything in-between. What I have really enjoyed is filling my time not only with extracurriculars I enjoy but also with new activities I didn't do in high school to try and grow and experience new things. Just last year I decided to start writing op-eds for our school newspaper, The Dartmouth, and it has turned into one of my favorite activities. It doesn't feel like just another commitment or something I need to do to look busy; it's something I am genuinely passionate about and enjoy spending time on. The same goes for the intramural soccer team I am on, which takes up a few hours every week but is also a way to get outside and stay active. You really do have 24 hours a day (minus sleep!) to decide what to do here, and having that freedom can give you the chance to thrive.
The main point I want to share is that you might feel overwhelmed at first or a little scared when you hear about everything that Dartmouth students "do", but that's because for maybe the first time in your life, all your time is yours! That sort of freedom isn't just unique to Dartmouth, but I think the ability to do whatever you want and not feel pressured to do certain sports or take certain classes is definitely an amazing feeling.