By Abby Horowitz, Guest Columnist
Published on Friday, January 12, 2001
They told me all the fabulous features of the off term: all these wonderful internship opportunities just waiting to be snatched up by capable Dartmouth students. And along with all the other unique, if perhaps slightly exaggerated, advantages of Dartmouth, I eagerly endorsed the idea of the off term when I was a prospective.
But now, just one week into my very own off term, I am finding out that there is a lot they didn't tell you, like how much it can, in fact, suck, to be "off" and away from Dartmouth. It started a couple of days before people were headed back to Hanover, when I was still gloating about the extra couple of weeks I had to relax at home. But it only took a day or two before the tides of jealousy reversed, thanks mostly to the mounds of e-mails filling my inbox. Although it is always nice receiving that e-mail loving, the messages leave me missing Dartmouth intensely. A simple mention of the Hop and the nostalgia begins. Then there are the reports about classes; even after messages about the not-so-thrilling Econ 10, I start to yearn for reading! Essays! Midterms! On that first Friday afternoon of the term, I received the "Weekend Update" in my mailbox, giving me a detailed report of exactly what kind of fun all my friends were having that weekend. And how about the numerous invitations to dinner at 6:30? I can only moan at the computer screen "But I'm not on campus!" and then slump off to take my seat at the dinner table with good old Mom and Dad. Even the random messages that make their way to me, like the reminders about forestry practice on Wednesday afternoon, leave me with a pang of longing.
By choosing to attend Dartmouth, I accepted that I would not share the typical school schedule of all my high school buddies. In August, I wait at home after these friends have left for school. In December, I wait at home for them to return from school. The problem is that now, I am not even in sync with other Dartmouth students! I should have returned to Hanover over a week ago; instead, I am still passing the time in my hometown.
They told me all the wonders of this magical off term -- but they forgot to mention that it is not quite so easy to take "off" from a place that you have such connections with. The only positive thing about my reaction so far is that my parents are ecstatic to finally have concrete proof that I really do like Dartmouth, after all. Maybe by the time I am an upperclassman I will be ready for some time away, but for now, I guess I have to deal with the fact that I have become attached to this place. I am sure that once my internship adventure actually begins (and I'm counting the days), I will be too preoccupied to think about all that I am missing at school. In the meantime, to those people who persist in including me in blitzes to meet at Thayer for dinner --please continue. They are a nice reassurance that I am not completely "off" from Dartmouth.