On to the Next One

I’m going to be completely honest here. I have no idea how to summarize my 1st year at Dartmouth College. But I guess I have to start somewhere (considering my post is already late). Depending on how you get there, Hanover, NH is 1000 miles form my front door, give or take a few. I didn’t know what to expect from this college in, very literally, the middle of nowhere. But when people ask me if I have second-thoughts about being so far from home, I can say with certainty that I’ve never had a doubt in my mind.

As a sort of orientation, I went on a camping trip, as I’ve mentioned before. On my trip, we had to write a letter to our older, wiser, end of 1st year selves, which I completely forgot about until I checked my mailbox. I’ve gleaned two bits of college wisdom from my letter, which I’ll share with you all now.

First, your messy handwriting, or lack thereof, will not improve just because you’re in college. Embrace the scribbles in the same way that you should embrace everything about who you are as a person. You are you; it’s an amazing thing. Second, “Do the new things that you want to do, and don’t feel like you need to stay the same.” If I hadn’t listened to my own advice, I wouldn’t have made the amazing decision to join the Dartmouth Women’s Rugby team in the spring. Without that, I know my first year experience would have been much different.

I took so many interesting classes this year and some that were not so fun, met so many new people, tried out as many things as I possibly could. More importantly, I made a home for myself up in New Hampshire. I know not everyone gets that from their college, but I’m so glad that I did. There’s not a minute of it that I regret: from staying out until a ridiculous hour to staying in to study until a ridiculous hour. Every minute I spent studying in my favorite spot in Sanborn library was worth just as much as every minute I spent with friends. My dorm room was very literally the size of a closet, my roommate continues to be rad, and she and our “honorary roommate” are all living together next year. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better experience; there’s not a thing I would change.

In my move in post, I said that there were so many things, that I didn’t know what I was most excited for. Now that I’ve seen a years worth of Dartmouth, I’m still excited about everything. I can’t get back there soon enough.

To Meat or Not To Meat.

Once upon a time, I was, like most people and the rest of my family, an omnivore. As of the day I’m writing this, I have been a vegetarian for 3 years, 6 months, and 20 days. But who’s counting. (I used a website to figure that out btw.) When I decided to become a vegetarian, it was a cold, rainy night in Valparaiso, Indiana. My family and I went out to dinner, and I decided to get a steak at a semi-sketchy restaurant. Which was mistake number one. I was casually eating said steak when I cut into a piece and saw a vein that was literally as thick as a pencil. It was very gnarly and as a 15 year old, it was quite traumatizing. In that very moment, I thought to myself “nope. Never again, Anissa.” And, henceforth, I have not eaten meat.

A lot of people told me that it would be difficult to be a vegetarian in the dining halls and that I would probably start eating meat again. Honestly, I think they were just trying to scare me. Although, okay, I must admit, I’m a pescetarian. Which really just means that I eat seafood too. I do happen to be very picky about my seafood, and the idea of mass-produced dining hall seafood is pretty much the opposite of appealing. I just say I’m a vegetarian because I never feel like explaining myself. More often than not, I pick the vegetarian option anyway. Eventually I’ll probably just be a vegetarian, but for right now, while other people cook for me, I’ll concede with occasional seafood.

And really, there are tons of vegetarian options. I can’t tell you how much tofu I’ve consumed here. Which is definitely not a bad thing. A girl’s gotta get her protein somehow. Plus, if you’ve already committed to not eating burgers, it’s not going to be too hard not to have them. Especially since you don’t have to cook anything. Just pick from the many choices that your dining hall most definitely has. For example, for lunch I usually have a salad of some sort with tons of different veggies, balsamic vinegar, and spices, and if I feel like I need some protein, I’ll toss a bit of salmon in there, too. Tofu and beans are also always an option for a protein boost if I don’t want seafood.

I’m sure there are cons to not eating meat. But I really haven’t run into many. Maybe 1 time out of 10 there isn’t something that I really want to eat at a restaurant. Those instances are few and far between though.

Not that I’m trying to push the vegetarian/pescetarian “agenda” but it’s much easier to be healthy when a lot of the greasy stuff isn’t an option. Besides pizza. You can never go wrong with a slice of cheese pizza, honestly. And animals! Have you ever seen a baby pig or a baby cow? If not, you’re missing out. They don’t want to be eaten! Granted, fish probably don’t want to be eaten either, but I’m working on that.

So try vegetarianism or pescetarianism for a week. Or maybe two. Or maybe forever. At any rate as Sir Paul McCartney once said “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”

#3 Dude This Class I’m In…

…is sending me mixed signals.

An Open Letter to PSYC 6:

Intro to Neuro, what have I ever done to you? All I want is to fulfill a major requirement! I read and read and read and spend all my free time with you. I go to lecture, and pay attention, except for the few times I fall asleep on you. But even then, I record the stuff I missed and listen when I can give you the attention you deserve.
So why, then, do you treat me so poorly? Is it because you don’t notice me among the 70 other people in the room? Or do our lines get crossed among the 7 chapters I have to know for every test? I understand that you’re worth just as much as any other class in the grand scheme of things, but to me, you’re the real MVP. What kind of Neuroscience major would I be without you? Not a very good one, I’d assume.
We get along so well when it’s just you and I for hours on end. The time seems to fly by as I flip the hundreds of pages that are jammed into each test. You’re really great in that way. Teaching my brain more about my brain is something so confusing that only you can explain it to me. You’ve taught me biology, anatomy, and neuroscience all in the span of 5 short weeks. And for that, I couldn’t be more grateful. You’ll always be a 10/10 in my life. I just wish you could say the same about me.

Confusedly,
~Anissa

Seriously, this class is giving me heartburn. I’m really interested in the material and everything but the amount of material we need to know for every test is obscene. We do one chapter every day and even though the material isn’t exactly tricky, it can get really complex really quickly. It is the brain after all. Right when you think you have it all down, you try to explain it to someone else and become confused all over again.
There are probably people who can learn mass amounts of information with intense specificity in such a short period of time, but I’m still trying to get a hang of it. Not that I have much time to do that. There’s only a month left of class which is strange. The best part about it is that we get to do corrections on every test we take for up to 15 points back. It probably saves everyone’s GPA. Plus, there isn’t any homework. We need to read the chapters to do well on the test, but even that isn’t technically mandatory. And there aren’t any midterms. While everyone else was studying nonstop for midterm week, I was like ‘lol what’s a midterm?’ That was great.
I think I might have the hang of the studying thing, so I should be prepared for the next test. Third time’s the charm, right? Another great thing is that the prof drops the lowest test grade. And you can be a participant in research, which can raise your grade one increment.
What I’m trying to say is that, generally, I really like the class and the material. I’m just not used to the quarter system as opposed to the semester system. All that said, I’d give it a solid 8/10 and majorly recommend it if you’re interested in neuro and are down for a ton of one-on-one time with a library and your textbook.

New to New Hampshire

(Anissa sort of couldn’t figure out how to make her own profile so we’re posting through here.  But yay for the last move-in post!)

Let’s start off with the fact that I had a two-step move in process. The way they orient you up here in Hanover, NH is by throwing you into the middle of the forest for 5 days to bond with some classmates  I moved into my room after that trip, it was a solid 85 degrees, I was all alone, I had no idea how to get to my dorm, and I hadn’t showered for 5 days.

Michelé would say that’s an exaggeration but honestly after like 3.5 days of walking through a forest it feels like you haven’t showered for 10 days. (That’s because she’s a perpetual exaggerator.  It was only 3 days)

I went camping at a Dartmouth owned cabin with a group of strangers who are now no longer strangers. That’s what happens when you spend 5 days with other people and no electronics, electricity, or any other form of entertainment besides nature. We danced and sang and it generally felt like summer camp. And then When my tripees and I (F-50 for life!) got back, it kind of hit me that it was actually college.I was just a little worried that it would stop feeling like camp.

I was very hilariously wrong. I moved my stuff into my room on that ridiculously hot day, and since I was an innocent ’18, took the long way . I happen to live at the farthest possible dorm, and had a very full hiking backpack and suitcase that I had to drag up a very steep hill. When I finally got to my building, French Hall in the River Cluster, it was pretty much deserted. I was worried that I wouldn’t make any friends besides the people on my trip but as I walked up the stairs to my third floor dorm room, this girl offered to help me.  It turns out that she’s a pretty nice person that’s always super friendly and social. I’m actually surprised that she wasn’t appalled by how much I smelled after I came back from my trip. But she got back a day before me, so she understood. It was quiet on campus during those first couple of days of Pre-Orientation. And it still felt like summer camp.

Dartmouth is not, in fact, summer camp. It happens to be an Ivy League school in Hanover, NH. The smallest one actually. We’ve only got about 4,000 undergrads and not too many grad students. New Hampshire is different from Wisconsin in that, like, there is no lake effect breeze. So it’s always hotter than I anticipate from the temperature.

After Pre-Orientation, my parents finally came with all of my stuff! After 7 days of having just clothes, I was so thankful. Plus, I mean, I was thankful that I could see my parents again after 2 weeks. That was cool too. I mean a little more than cool. They drove 14+ hours to come and bring me my stuff. My brother didn’t come because he had football, (at Valpo with Michelé!) but I’m 100% sure that he would’ve come if he could have. There weren’t movers, and the stairwell is small, but I didn’t have too much stuff. It was pretty relaxed for a move-in day since a lot of people had moved in before that due to Trips. Thankfully, nothing broke! It was fantastic!

Charlie, my roommate, is incredibly rad. We’ve got a two room double which is nice since we both have our own space. But it’s cool that I’ve got the perks of having a roommate too. My room is kind of tiny, but I love it anyway. We have an adopted roommate, and her name is Michaela. She actually lives in the basement, but everyone thinks we’re all roommates anyway.There are 7 girls and 14 boys on our floor. It’s a huge change to the all girls’ school thing. I’m digging it so far.

As of right now, my major is Neuroscience, my minor is Linguistics, and I’m on the pre-med track. I’m in Active Minds, which is a group thatadvocates for mental health awareness and de-stigmatization. I also want to get a ‘Women in Science’ internship. The last thing that I want to do is this thing called America Reads, which means I’d be an in-school tutor for little kids.

Three goals that I have for this year are:

To put all of my effort into all of my activities and classes.

To meet as many new people as I can and not be shy.

And to make a ton of good decisions and to live with no regrets.

When I first came here, I said I wasn’t sure exactly what I was most excited for, so I just said everything. After being here for quite a while, I’m still excited for everything. There are so many new classes, activities, and people, that I can’t pick any one thing to be excited about.  What I’m saying is that, so far, I’m loving it up here in the middle of nowhere at this little known Ivy League school.

Niss, Charlie, Michaela sept 2014

Charlie, Anissa, Michaela