After 18: Emerson Mahoney

A bittersweet synthesis.

The Dartmouth hall is illuminated with colors for pride month. —Emerson Mahoney

For the past four years, The MV Times has asked four recent high school graduates to write about their experiences during their first year after graduation. High school graduation is upon us again. During the following few months, we will be introducing readers to four new graduates, and saying goodbye to the four we intermittently heard from this year. Over the summer, we will also be checking in with a few of our After 18 alumni.
Emerson Mahoney attends Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. This will be his final After 18 dispatch.

It is 7 on Monday morning when my Kodak Black alarm goes off. I leap out of bed across the room. My body is exhausted from boxing club, working out, and a lack of sleep, but I am fully aware it’s time for my workday to start. The average day at college is more important and, fortunately, more exciting than any previous day I have experienced. With no more than three hours of class in one day, the rest of the time goes into decisionmaking, planning, extracurricular activities, studying, and making memories that will never be forgotten. Many of these memories are made early in the morning, either with or without having slept.

I get called a lunatic for getting up at seven o’clock, or even earlier occasionally, on the weekends, but when there are limited hours in the day, I find it hard to let them slip away while I sit in bed letting worlds of possibilities pass by.

I recall one of my favorite mornings from this past term with perfect clarity. I woke up at 6 o’clock with unexpected energy, and decided to go for a run through the drizzly, humid campus. After about 20 minutes of running, I made my way to the Connecticut River, where I enjoyed the blissful silence on a dock in the still water. Shortly after, the rowing team started to launch boats into the river. As they approached, the synchronous sound of oars slicing through the water and the heavy breath of the rowers broke the silence. I felt like I was in a virtual reality. I wished the moment could last forever. My senses elevated, I watched and reflected on how fortunate I have been to be able to get my education while enjoying moments like these at the place that I am proud to call home.

In my first year at Dartmouth, I learned “a lot about a lot,” including a variety of disciplines, people, and most important, myself. I arrived as a student wanting to study either economics, linguistics, or cognitive science, or a combination of the three. I left Dartmouth for the summer as a student with growing interest in the fields of computer science and economics. Disciplines I have studied in my first year include computer science, economics, linguistics, environmental science, architecture, and two writing-based classes. I have been fortunate enough to befriend amazing people who have influenced me inside and outside the classroom. One of them has been debating for the past five years, finished Top 10 nationally this school year, and can read words off a page faster than Eminem can rap. Others are world-class musicians, published authors, have the ability to speak nine languages, have visited over 50 countries, will be working at the White House or with top financial firms in the country this summer, and are designers of aeroponics (able to grow without soil) systems and photograph-filter applications. These are the people that I have been privileged enough to call my family, and those who have converted me radically from a 3 am to 10 am sleep schedule to an 11 pm to 7 am sleep schedule.

A slingshot Emerson designed for a two-week-long “wearable architecture” project this term. —Emerson Mahoney

I have been lucky enough to be granted the opportunity to leave the country for the first time and work for an organization called Ivy League Camps in Shanghai this summer, with some of my peers from Dartmouth and students from other Ivy League schools. I will be there for seven weeks teaching young students, and planning and coordinating activities. Subsequently, I will be spending 10 days backpacking around Thailand to visit temples and beaches that I hate to admit look a lot more appealing than South Beach. While I have a lot to look forward to this summer, I cannot help but feel heavy-hearted knowing that this is the last time I will be able to share my experiences with the community that has supported my growth and succession from second grade until now. Being able to write about my experiences this year has taught me the ability to see myself from a third-person perspective, a skill that I wish to keep for the rest of my life. Last summer I began journaling at the beginning and end of every day, and although having written my last “After 18” article feels like I am losing a dear friend, it has been a pleasurable and rewarding experience sharing excerpts of my writing with the people who have seen my every move for the past 11 years of my life.