What I've Gained from Dartmouth's Profound Sense of Place
This term, I've truly cherished the opportunity to live and learn on Dartmouth's 269-acre campus. I've grown so much – academically with my three amazing classes, socially with my new college friendships, and intrapersonally with learning more about myself every day!
Before touring colleges the summer before my senior year in high school, I thought I wanted to attend a big city university. However, I unexpectedly fell in love with Dartmouth during my visit when I discovered that its rural surrounding environment is what makes its campus so special. Dartmouth is located in Hanover, New Hampshire – a charming quintessential New England college town of around 11,000 residents. Every day, I wake up and appreciate the campus's walkability because everywhere from downtown Hanover to the Vermont border (and everything in between!) is walking distance from my dorm. In broad daylight, I usually can't walk outside for longer than five minutes without exchanging a nice hello with someone I personally know in passing.
Dartmouth's constantly changing scenery offers so many ways for students to center themselves in nature. I've experienced so many exciting milestones over these past nine weeks – kayaking in the warm early-fall months, swimming across the Connecticut River to Vermont, hiking Gile Mountain with friends, standing on top of the Quechee Gorge, thrift shopping for Halloween costumes, and experiencing my first New England snowfall. At Dartmouth, there is never a dull moment; I feel like I'm constantly exploring and creating new memories. For example, my friend and I walked to the Mink Brook Nature Preserve last Friday to celebrate our final midterms of freshman fall. A dense forest of pine trees and crisp New England breeze surrounded us as we trekked deeper through the woodsy trail. This one example goes to show how the sheer vastness of Dartmouth's campus has made me more mindful and humble of my place in the world. In the middle of a global pandemic, I've appreciated the little things that make life so beautiful. I've met friends here that come from all over the country and the world – Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Singapore, Switzerland, and many more!
Dartmouth is a safe, familiar, and close-knit community that emphasizes traditions and cultivates lifelong friendships. As I pack up my belongings and head home for winterim (the six week break we have before winter quarter), I'm really going to miss late night runs to CVS, early morning study sessions at Baker-Berry Library, the sound of freshly-fallen leaves crunching on the pavement, and renting Zipcars to explore the Upper Valley. Farewell for now, Dartmouth!
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