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!
I come from a low-income public high school. What is the transition to the Ivy League like for someone like me in terms of academic rigor and social life?
This is a fantastic question and one that I wish I had seen an answer to before I came to Dartmouth! I'll go into a little bit of detail about where I am from and how my transition to Dartmouth was, but keep in mind this is just the experience of one low-income public school kid, and a lot of experiences differ. My high school is in a very rural farming community on a slightly larger but still very small island in the middle of the Pacific Ccean. More than half of our students were on free or reduced lunch programs, and most of us stayed on the island for college or for career opportunities, so even thinking of going to a school as different as Dartmouth was a big deal for me. My graduating class was 143 students, and I got used to the atmosphere of everyone coming to school on the bus and hanging out before school started, knowing everyone's names and their families, and then going to classes with TFA teachers because we were designated as a "high need" high school. One of the biggest things that scared me about applying to schools like Dartmouth was that I didn't have as many resources as a lot of other kids did - I didn't have an SAT or ACT tutor, I took as many AP classes as I could but there were only 5 at the time, and it felt weird to break the mold of staying close to home.
That being said, I am so glad that I did end up applying to Dartmouth because it is so much more like my high school and home than I could have expected! Being the smallest college in the Ivy Leauge and a relatively small college in general, I still got that feeling that I got at home; getting to see everyone and know them and their friends. The size is something that was super comforting about the transition and made me able to relate to a lot of things from home. That being said, it is obviously really different! Classes are much more academically challenging than they were in high school, but that goes for everyone. I have never felt disadvantaged compared to my peers due to my high school experience, professors really make sure that students all have equal education and a chance to learn. In moments when I felt like I was falling behind or I didn't learn something, I would just ask my professor to explain it in class or meet with them afterward for clarification. Talking to my friends from other schools, it seems like Dartmouth is much more like our high school than where they are going, and I love that feeling of being one community and knowing everyone. It also doesn't hurt that my high school and Dartmouth share the same colors and the same number of letters!
After a six week break, I'm back. My winterim was a fun mix of staying at home, binge-watching Survivor, celebrating the holidays, and enjoying the Southern Californian landscape, so I'm feeling refreshed to dive back into blogging!
A school had to meet three criteria for me to consider it a "good fit": academics, location, and community. After researching about Dartmouth and visiting the campus, I realized that this school was not a good fit for me-- it was a perfect fit.
From the pandemic to the election, to online learning, every month seemed to be a new level of Jumanji. However, we have made it. And though 2020 has given me great lessons and experiences, I am looking forward to this new year and for what it holds.