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!
Okay, I have to admit that whether living in Hawai'i has inspired my love for warmth and the sun or it's just an upside that I live there, I tend to gravitate toward warm places. At this point you might be asking yourself; then why Dartmouth, a place where it can snow from October-May? Well, quite honestly, Hanover is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life, and I have adjusted to the weather quite nicely. From experiencing my first fall foliage, to the flurries of winter snow, and the hot days capped with swimming and popsicles, Hanover has it all. Don't get me wrong, Hawai'i is beautiful, but it doesn't hold a candle to the range of seasons I have experienced at Dartmouth. This week I want to highlight some of my favorite parts about the weather of this tiny New-England town.
Starting with the fall, it tends to speak for itself with its beauty. Crisp cold fall mornings with frost on the ground and a latte in my hand make me feel exceedingly collegial. There's something about sitting in a warm classroom while the leaves are coaxed out of the trees by a cold autumn breeze. Running in the fall is just about the best it gets all year, because its just warm enough that you can still go out in a t-shirt and shorts but cold enough to push you hard enough to stay warm. Fall also tends to be "tradition" season around here, with the homecoming bonfire, the annual first snow snow-ball fight, and celebrations of winter holidays before we head home for the Winter Break.
Interestingly enough, I have only been at Dartmouth for one winter so far. Due to a study abroad program I did my freshman year, it has just so happened (and with a little bit of luck and planning on my end) that I have gotten to spend the coldest months of the year at home in Kona. My freshman winter was marked by lots of lots of snow, cuddling up by fires, and learning how to ice-skate! Luckily for us, the first snow usually happens a couple weeks before the end of the Winter, so I have still gotten to appreciate it before I head home. One of the coolest things that I associate with winter is the ability to take time off from Dartmouth when it makes sense for you personally. Being off in the winter has allowed me to be home for the birth of my youngest niece, get internships that are uber-competitive (because other colleges are still in session), and helped me get my dose of Vitamin D.
While I love fall and winter, spring and summer are probably my favorite times at Dartmouth. I love watching the buds come to the trees in the spring and celebrating the end of a long winter with our annual Green Key concert. My first concert was actually at Dartmouth, and it was headlined my freshman year by Sage the Gemini. If you think the winter in Hanover is beautiful, you should make an effort to come up during the summer. Hanover comes to life with beautiful days and warm summer nights marked with stargazing on the golf-course and smores by the fire. My favorite part about Sophomore Summer was being able to head to the river right after class and take a dip, retreating to the docks to lay in the sun and warm up right after.
Hanover has plenty of good weather, and although it can be hard to try and get used to the new climate in a lot of different ways; everyone is going through the same thing. Even my friends from Boston have to get used to the large amount of snow we get up here, or my friends from Seattle have to get used to the hot and humid summer conditions. As far as winter is concerned, a cup of hot chocolate and a nice warm winter coat can get me through, but ultimately the beauty of the season outweighs minimal costs.
During a recent conversation with my HS friend who also goes to college in the US, we discussed what it's like experiencing culture shock especially as international students. I'd love to share the tips we developed to combat this feeling.