Every year The MV Times asks several recent high school graduates to write about their experiences during their first year after graduation. Emerson Mahoney, a 2016 MVRHS graduate, is attending Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.
I arrived on Dartmouth’s campus for Native pre-orientation on Sept. 2, 10 days before the start of classes. Over the course of the five-day program, students were given insight into helpful programs and guidance on how to choose them effectively. We were given tips on how to manage time properly, study with efficiency, and we were advised to choose our extracurriculars conservatively, because new students often overwhelm themselves by committing to too many activities. Native pre-orientation was a sort of new awakening for me, because I had never been surrounded by so many Native American students at one time, coming from a community with so few of them.
On Sept. 7, freshman orientation began, and the week was full of events until the Sunday before class started. The week passed quickly, and before “20’s” (students who will graduate in the year 2020) were able to remember probably more than 20 different names, orientation, or “summer camp” as we called it, had zipped past us. Daily activities consisted of tours, speeches from members of the administration, activity fairs, and class bonding. We spent hours a day playing pool, hanging out at the local lake, and eating unlimited food in the class of 1953 food court. I think I actually gained three or four pounds in my first few days on campus, but my days of weight gain were ephemeral. Butterflies fluttered through my stomach on the night of Sept. 11.
Classes started on the 12th; I woke up on that day to go for an early-morning workout and went outside to find myself confronted by a temperature in the mid-30s. Almost immediately, I was back in my cozy bed. My first class that day was at 11:30, economics. I scribbled pages of notes down off slideshows made up of supply and demand curves that were novel to me. Next on my agenda was introductory linguistics, where I learned about phonetics and articulated glottal stops to the best of my ability; I could not wait until Wednesday to go back to another lecture.
My other class this term is called “Mediating our Everyday Lives.” It is a writing-based class related to social media. Students at Dartmouth take three classes per term, but the minimal number of classes is nothing less than a red herring. Within the first two days of classes I was spending five or six hours per day doing homework, studying, and in my only free time I went to boxing and hockey practice. A discovery I have made within the first few weeks is that being engaged each and every day in class is essential to learning in such accelerated classes. As much as I would love to be able to say the transition from high school to college was seamless, it has been difficult, and recently strenuous.
My favorite ways to avoid stress here at Dartmouth include boxing, club hockey, and hanging out with my newly made friends, who have all been going through similar transitions. If you have ever seen the movie “Creed,” you understand how easily I fell in love with boxing. Some of the highlights of my experience so far include an on-campus concert in which the Mowgli’s performed, a band who sings one of my favorite songs, “San Francisco”; a classwide game of Capture the Watermelon; late-night talks with friends, and a hockey trip to the University of Pennsylvania, where I was able to bond with my new teammates and eat the famous Philly cheese steak for the second time in my life. The foliage in New Hampshire is incredible, and although a lot of campus is undergoing renovation at the moment, it is hard to take my eyes off many of the orange, bright green, and bright yellow leaves on the ubiquitous foliage across campus. Although it is tough to describe all the wonderful experiences I’ve taken part in thus far, I look forward to keeping my home community updated, and sharing pictures of the beautiful spots on campus where I spend a lot of my time.