Thursday, July 5, 2012

Putting a Dart in my Heart

Could this be the right path?

Today consisted of Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Dartmouth! I honestly did not know what to expect because my knowledge of Dartmouth was very vague and limited.  Upon our arrival, I did not feel much excitement. Even as we entered the information session, my negative energy did not change at all! However the information that I’ve absorbed was important to know. One of these was the D-Plan, or Dartmouth Plan. Instead of a semester system, Dartmouth uses a quarterly system with which each term is 10 weeks long. This way, students may have time off whenever necessary and experience less stress even with rigorous work. Sophomores are also required to attend school during the summer in order to be able to take any extra classes that they did not have time for during the school year. Another topic that really appealed to me was the application process, or to be more specific, recommendation letters. Usually colleges and universities require recommendation letters from faculty members. At Dartmouth, they ask for a letter from the student’s best friend. I think this is a clever way to get to know the applicant’s characteristics on a more personal level rather than just judging them by their grades and test scores. My brain tried its best to take in the information, but it was all so overwhelming that I found it difficult to stand up for the campus tour.

Our tour guide was Michael, a Dartmouth sophomore majoring in Chemistry. The way he led us through Dartmouth made it feel as though he was giving us a tour of his home instead. This stuck out to me because I find it a big deal to feel at home in my future college. He emphasized the safety that Dartmouth secures for each student. In these exact words, he said, “Dartmouth is a really safe place because it’s in Hanover, the safest city in this state, which is New Hampshire, the safest state in the country!” I clearly remember this in particular because I spent most of my life in an environment that isn’t exactly the ideal place to live in if you want to be granted safety and security. Walking around Dartmouth already gave me a sense of peacefulness because of its very laid-back atmosphere. Michael was very open about his own life at Dartmouth. He talked about his preferences in study places, the fraternity that he’s part of, and even his favorite Dartmouth traditions. I appreciated his honesty because I’ve always wanted to get an inside look of the life of a college student. He also mentioned that he is a part of an acapella group. This made me so enthusiastic because I’m in an acapella group myself and learning that Dartmouth supports musical subjects was very encouraging. Throughout the tour, I’ve come up with the idea of minoring in music while majoring in pre-med or pre-dentistry. Overall, the Dartmouth environment was simply so welcoming and heart-warming, specially with the way Michael presented it. 

Michael did a great job as our tour guide.
My empty stomach was grateful that lunchtime finally came around. We had more guests than I've anticipated, but the more the merrier, right? Iris, Aby, Ynah, and I sat with June, Jake, and Caitlin. June is an assistant dean of admissions for Dartmouth; Jake is a Dartmouth alumnus and currently the director of SEAD, an outreach program; Caitlin is a rising junior in Dartmouth who will declare her major in government during the fall. Our wonderful Italian meal was accompanied by many wonderful questions and answers. I mostly engaged myself with Caitlin because I felt that my curiosity can only be satisfied by a current student. Caitlin talked a whole lot about the opportunities that Dartmouth provides for students to travel abroad and learn the language and culture of foreign countries. June was also giving us straightforward facts to further prepare us for what to expect when entering college. For example, she told us to be ready to feel stupid. No matter how high your ranking may be in high school, it's a whole different story in college because you'll be surrounded by many other intelligent students who may or may not come from higher quality education. I was more grateful than intimidated by this because I need to be prepared for the worst. I'd much rather learn the true facts about college than waste my time knowing the sugar-coated things. At a table opposite from mine, Dartmouth senior Adriana explained to us the true meaning of fraternities and sororities. As a freshman she swore she'd never be involved in a sorority because of its negative stereotypes and rumors. However, just like Michael and Caitlin, she changed her mind by the time she was a sophomore. She stressed that frats and sororities are not what everybody think they are. In fact, they are houses filled with people who can understand you and act as a strong support system. Now that she's clarified it all, I can imagine myself being a part of a sorority when I am in college. I think sororities are a great way to connect with a network of peers and develop sisterhood during my undergraduate life.

In the end, I found myself enjoying Dartmouth a lot more than Wellesley probably because of its naturally welcoming environment. Only four days ago, my mind was closed to UC's and... that's all. Now, I'm gradually opening my mind to colleges and universities (particularly Ivy League schools for obvious reasons) here in the east coast. I hope financial issues would not stop me from pursuing the right college. After the tour I immediately sent a text message to my parents telling them about Dartmouth. Surprisingly, they were very supportive of my opinions, and I'm thankful for that. Tomorrow we have yet to explore Brandeis University and I'm more than excited to go!


  1. LOL no no! I didn't say prepare to be stupid! I wanted students to be prepared to witness a change in peer group which just means stepping up to the challenge-- which ALL ILC grads can do!

    1. Oh, I didn't mean it like that! I was trying to sound witty... but I guess that didn't work. Sorry!!

  2. As I go over your daily blogs, let me give you an outline of my impression of your overwhelming tour, boarding, keeping up good friendly relations, updates on academic view, and college finance perspectives. You showed:
    - start good sleeping habits
    - keeping schedule on time
    - Obedience to travel regulations
    - Hotel accommodations knowledge
    - Independence from mom and dad's help
    - organizing your luggage, so things are classified and traceable
    - Safe travel attitude
    - broadening academic horizon
    - meeting good friends
    - Positive preparation for college decision

    Gather more friends to make up a comprehensive trip!

    :) Mama Di