When the Friendship Sails
By Mary Liza Hartong, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, February 1, 2013
All the lonely people — where do they all come from? Winter term at Dartmouth of course! While Princetonians and UPenners are linking arms and singing kumbaya at the sight of each other for the first time since winter break, many Dartmouth students have no one to embrace but the nearest snowman.
A significant portion of the ’15s and ’14s have flown south for the winter, but what about the rest of us? Whatever happened to “birds of a feather freeze together?”
Facing the winter is enough to break most people, but facing it without your trusty sidekicks can be especially daunting.
Suddenly you have no one to barrage with emoticon-laden are-you-going-to-KAF texts, no one to commiserate in the cold with, no one to snuggle with while watching “How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days” on dateless Friday nights.
Returning to campus and finding your closest chums gone can be “disorienting,” according to Ben Nguyen ’14. The experience is not, however, debilitating.
“It forces you to meet new people. There are so many interesting people here and Dartmouth is small enough that you can always make a new friend, especially with extracurriculars,” Nguyen said. “The challenge is to keep up with your friends who are off, especially if they are gone for more than one term. It’s your responsibility to maintain the friendships.”
Caeli Cavanagh ’14 noted that though it is difficult to part with friends, knowing they are pursuing their interests makes the absence easier.
“I miss my friends but I also know everyone is off doing cool things,” Cavanagh said. “The great thing is that you get hear all about them when they get back.”
Not falling short of cool things of her own, Cavanagh used her D-Plan last year to tour with the Apassionata Horse Show, an equestrian act that has performed across 15 countries.
“I like the D-Plan because it allows me to do things like that and come back for the next term instead of missing a whole semester like at other schools,” Cavanagh said. “I can adjust my schedule to my life. If I have offers that come up, I can accept them and I know when I get back people will be here.”
Dan Berman ’14 said while his D-Plan is subject to change, his friends are constant.
“You always have friends,” Berman said. “Yeah, people are off but you know they’ll come back. I don’t know what my D-Plan is. I just kind of go.”
Berman spent last Winter and Spring as a writer’s research intern at “Saturday Night Live.” Though he only planned to intern for the Winter term, he was later offered the chance to work through May and accepted.
“Turns out you can do whatever you want on Banner with your D-Plan if you put it in within 60 days,” he said.
Ben Ferguson ’15 plans to take his junior Spring and Summer off to hike the Appalachian Trail. He is currently doing the “psycho six:” six terms in a row in order to make his Appalachian aspirations come true.
Unlike other students who have fled the frost and relative loneliness, he isn’t making a run for it during winter term.
“I was worried nobody else would be here but once I got here I didn’t even notice,” Ferguson said. “I’ve met a lot of new people. I like all the terms here because there are special things each term.”
Aylin Woodward ’15, a member of the women’s ski team, is especially enthusiastic about the Winter, regardless of the fact that many of her amigos are AWOL.
“I want to yell at my friends because Winter is the best term,” Woodward said. “I love the snow and skiing, plus the fact that Dartmouth offers a lot of opportunities to get out of your comfort zone, like skating on Occom Pond. Even if you don’t want to do it your friends do so they will make you.”
The weather, a deterrent for some, shouldn’t be enough to keep people from enjoying more than the mandatory two on-campus winters, according to Woodward.
“Winter is just as fun and valuable even if people [complain] about having to wear more clothes,” she said. “I live for the Winter term!”
If your best friends are wintering in a tropical climate and you can barely feel your toes, try an attitude-and-sock-adjustment. Grab a rando from Berry and trek on over to Occom Pond. You may just find 13W is the best term ever.