A Frantic Fall
I woke up today and suddenly, it was week 9.
In these rapid 10-week terms at Dartmouth, each week is its own microcosm. These microcosms pile up into terms that somehow feel both rapid and enormous—gone in a breath yet full of memories and experiences. This fall in particular felt quicker and larger than usual—looking at my calendar right now and seeing only a week and a half left of commitments is truly shocking. A lot of factors have contributed to such a quick fall, and I'm glad for most of them. But I wouldn't have minded a little more time to stop and appreciate things.
As our first fully in-person term since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, this fall was like everyone's homecoming. It all came roaring back—in-person classes, club meetings, social life. I had forgotten how much more time I needed to factor into my day to make it to class on time. The first two weeks of the term were like a crash course on everything I had missed—and I barely had time for myself. Between work, classes, homework, and social commitments, finding time to stop and breathe was a challenge. Dartmouth terms are always hard and fast, but this one felt like something more.
I think that I, and perhaps many others on campus, made the mistake of going all-in when we should have been easing in. For me, the resumption of in-person college meant the resumption of everything—every extracurricular commitment, every class assignment, every social opportunity. Tackling that impossible glut of activity and responsibility was a mistake in retrospect, but I was too close to it all (and too excited about everything returning) to see that at the time.
Which isn't to say that I regret this term—I will take an overcommitted in-person term over an undercommitted virtual term any day. And it feels incredible the way campus is alive again, electric with the human energy it missed for so long. As this frantic fall term eases its way out, I'm glad to be getting a break but even more delighted that my senior year is feeling like college always should feel.