Hey there! My name is Simon and I am a ~Junior~ (which is scary) but 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!
Something that is relatively important to a Dartmouth term that has an unnecessary mysticism about it is the elusive period of testing at the end of every term known simply as "finals." While they are certainly difficult and do take a lot of work, finals in college and at Dartmouth look far different than I ever would have expected, so I thought I would share the format of a few of my finals to show you that a) finals can be fun (really I promise) and b), they are not just sitting in a quiet classroom taking a test (most of the time).
In fact, this term I only have one "in-class" final. It's for my class, Federal Indian Law, and on the day of the final we will tackle an exam that asks us to synthesize our breadth of legal knowledge and apply them to real court cases. Our professor is looking to see if we have a good understanding of the material, but also if we are critically thinking and creating strong logical arguments. He has told us time and time again that this class is just like a law school course, so it has been great practice for me, and a class that has really kept my interest all term. I am sure the test is going to be difficult, but the fact that it is preparing us to perform at the level of lawyers is amazing and something I am very excited for.
But like I said, not every class has a test as a final. My Art History class, Borderlands Art and Theory, has a final unlike any other class I have ever seen; we are all writing a real acquisition proposition for our museum! For this project, each student selected a different artist who somehow connects to the subject of borderlands-art, which is art that deals with geographic, cultural, spiritual, and other forms of borders. I have selected a Dartmouth Alumnus who does traditional Passamaquoddy black-ash basket weaving, and am proposing that the Hood Museum acquire several of his baskets and even commission a basket from him for display in one of the galleries of the museum. After being graded, our professor is going to submit all of our proposals to the Hood and we fully expect that several of our pieces will get purchased!
I like the contrasts and comparisons between these two examples of finals because while they are both serious, difficult, and take a lot of work, they show two very different mediums of evaluation and each gives me different ways to prove what I have learned throughout the term. Some of my friends have never had a sit-down final and some have never had a long research paper, but I appreciate that with what I study, I am usually able to have a good mix.
Sophomore summer is a Dartmouth classic, and something that captures a lot of what makes this school special - small classes and amazing professors, a close community, and boundless opportunities to explore, in all senses of the word.