Mountains, Dartmouth, Simon Ellis
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Collage of Ellis photos

As I got ready to graduate, it was impossible to not reflect on everything Dartmouth. I saw my friends and professors in the people I pass on my runs, my classes slowed to a snail's pace but in a good way, and I hung onto every word each professor had to offer. Suddenly the notes that I took in class were something I didn't want to give up, getting rid of my notebook from this term seemed like it should be illegal. With everything going on in the world and all of the uncertainty, I tried to take some time to meditate and think about what I am grateful for, and everything that I have accomplished and dealt with at Dartmouth. I wanted to reflect on that for my last blog post ever, and just acknowledge the overwhelming gratitude I feel for this place.

Showing up to Dartmouth, I was more nervous than I think I have ever been. I wanted to make friends, I wanted to do the right things, and I wanted to solidify my place as a big fish in a big pond. Throughout freshman year, I began to realize that no one cares about what you do (in the best way). Everyone is so passionate, I do not think I have ever met a Dartmouth student who was "boring" or who wasn't diving head-first into their academics or sports or clubs, it seemed that everyone was fully content with just being themselves. Seeing the confidence displayed by upperclassmen and the ability to sort of do anything they wanted helped me thrive and grow in unimaginable ways. 

Sophomore and junior year were years of growth. I flew across the world to study in Germany, I started new clubs I had never been involved with before, and I explored classes in the Native American Studies Department (which would become a favorite), the Latin and Caribbean Studies Department, English, Art History, and so on. I hiked endless mountains, worked at the Moosilauke Lodge, and spent weeks without my phone in the wilderness just enjoying life. I joined a fraternity, I got an internship, and I spent these two years full of confident listlessness. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew that I could do whatever I wanted.

And all of a sudden it was senior year. I began taking more leadership positions in clubs I was part of, giving back what I could to the communities that I was in. I started to reflect on the amazing people I had met, the relationships I had made, and the love that I had found. Right before winter break, I lost my sister, and had my Dartmouth community to thank for getting me back on my feet. None of the last four years have been perfect, but I would not change the growth that I have undergone for anything in the world. I try to think back to Simon four years ago choosing between schools when I give my tours and tell people why Dartmouth is so special. I think most students who go to or get into Dartmouth could go almost anywhere and thrive, but Dartmouth is a school that makes you grow - that's why I will always be grateful for it.

For the last time, thank you Dartmouth. For everything.

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