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What do you wish you knew before attending Dartmouth?

A: Tulio smiling with Dartmouth sweatshirt

Going up to Dartmouth, I had an idealistic view of how college was going to go. I was going to get great grades, I was going to make the best of friends, and I was joining a bunch of clubs (I've talked about this vision of college in a couple of other blog posts that you can find on the admissions site). And though these visions of college are great, and I have achieved them to an extent, this wasn't my reality. College is great, but it can be stressful, tough, lonely, and hectic. You are in a new environment starting school at a world-class institution, and for some (like me), you're just 17. There are a couple of things that I wish I went into Dartmouth knowing that would have made my time more smooth.

First off, I needed to realize that college was going to be TOUGH. Yes, with hard work and dedication, I was able to finish the school year strong, but I didn't realize that that would come with me staying up after midnight in Baker Library finishing up papers. I didn't recognize that I would have to spend hours working on one Computer Science assignment because I couldn't get one concept down. I needed to realize that college came with a lot more work than in high school and that I would have to work harder at time management.

Second, I had to come to terms that making friends could be tough. Don't get me wrong, you can still be best friends with the people you go on First-Year Trips with, but that isn't always the case. I really found my group of people this Winter Term, and it is bound to expand and shift in the upcoming terms. I didn't have to make lifelong friends the minute I got on campus, and that's okay!

Lastly, I wish I knew doing every single club I was interested in wasn't plausible. In the first couple of weeks of the Fall term, I loaded my schedule with a bunch of different activities, from a club sport to a student journal to a Christian group, not knowing that my course load was going to expand a lot in the upcoming days. Though it is possible to join a bunch of clubs, for me, I feel like joining a couple would have been better for my stress levels.

All in all, everyone's first year at Dartmouth is unique. But knowing these three things will help you have a productive and memorable experience on the College on the Hill!

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