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!
How hard are classes? Have you ever failed a class?
Let's be honest, I don't think anyone is ever 100% ready for the academic transition from high school to Dartmouth. Whether you come from a small public school like me, a big private school, an international school, or whatever it may be — the Dartmouth system is super unique, and so when I get asked questions like this I try to first prepare prospective students, maybe like yourself, that no matter what it is going to be different. I wanted to address some questions about academics this week and talk a little bit about how my transition was and what you might expect, given my personal experience, from academics here!
First of all, I want to stress that my transition was not easy. I was used to getting great grades with very minimal effort in high school, and even classes that challenged me always felt manageable. Everyone's high school is different, but I found mine to be much slower paced and easier going than Dartmouth classes my freshman year. The quarter system moves very fast and it definitely a challenge to get used to only taking three classes rather than the seven a semester I took in high school. I struggled a bit, and although I didn't fully fail any classes, my Freshman Spring I dropped down to two classes due to the difficulty of one of them and got grades that I would have been appalled at in high school.
Luckily, there were tons of resources that I began to use Sophomore year to bring up my spirits and my GPA. There is a fully free student tutor service where students who have gotten good grades and are approved by professors in a given class can tutor you and help you understand concepts a little bit better. There is a reading, writing, and rhetoric center called RWIT that helps you edit your essays (also free), and on top of these two student-run resources, I started meeting with professors to change my expectations for each class. I found that my friend had also been academically struggling, and that even though everyone here seems to be (and are) super smart, a little help now and then never hurt.
By now I feel much more comfortable with the pace of the quarter system, adapting to different styles of classes such as lecture or discussion-based, but I still have my ups and downs. I took a class this Winter called "The Ethics of War and Peace", and I was super excited because it was my last Government Class ever and I had a very close relationship with the professor. In that class alone, I found that I had to re-write essays on 3 different occasions because I scored so poorly on them. This was pretty devastating, but all the work I put into the course paid off not in the form of a fantastic grade, but when I had discovered the professor had given me a citation. Citations are given very sparingly (this is the only one I have ever gotten) to students who produce really exemplary work. Academics are definitely something to be thinking about when applying to Dartmouth — after all, we are a college before anything else! Hopefully this can help give you some insight if you are nervous, and feel free to hit me up with any questions about the ethics of war and peace, I got you covered ;).
Have you ever wondered what a Dartmouth freshman's course of study may look like? The beauty of the D-Plan is everyone can customize their own schedules, so this term I'm taking International Politics, Global Health & Society, and Expository Writing.
Professors at Dartmouth really love their discipline and want to share their knowledge with as many students as possible through a variety of resources. I'll walk you through some of the ways they do this while telling you about my classes this term.
Dartmouth's Center for Social Impact has several opportunities for students to be involved with the Upper Valley. This year, I have the privilege to be involved in Foundations, a first-year program, and can't wait for other opportunities!
While taking four classes at most other schools with semester-based calendars seems like a breeze, Dartmouth's unique D-Plan and quarter system make my efforts to take four classes this winter a bit more challenging.