[BLOG] A snapshot of college life

Tess Bracken, Class of 2015

To say that the past few years of my life have been a whirlwind would be an understatement.

Walking through the doors of Balmoral Hall School as a Grade 9 student, I could never have dreamed where my life would lead. If someone had told me that in four years, I would be playing Division I hockey at an Ivy League school, I don’t know if I would have believed them; this is mostly due to the fact that I had no idea what an Ivy League school was at age 14, and yet here I am. Really, it’s hard to believe that eight months ago I packed up to move halfway across the continent, following my dreams. When the time came, I was as nervous as anyone moving away from home for the first time, but once I stepped on campus I knew this is where I belong. By now, Dartmouth has become my home.

The pace of my courses, along with the commitments of being on the hockey team, has been the greatest challenge thus far. Having said that, college life has exceeded everything I imagined. I get much less sleep now, and I drink much more coffee than I used to, but being here is so worth it. My courses are both similar and different from those taught in Senior School. I am taking a chemistry course that reminds me of Advanced Placement (AP) chemistry with Ms (Jennifer) Kirk. Then, next term, I will enrol in Philosophy and Medicine to learn about doctor-patient relationships, ethics, and more, which will give me insight to a (possible) future career as a doctor. My favourite thing about college, in terms of academics, is how accomplished everything I do makes me feel. I am taking courses that relate to my interests, and I know that all my hard work is an investment in my future.
The experience of playing for Dartmouth Big Green has been incredible. With teammates I have a built-in support system, which has been helpful for anything from questions about college life to course recommendations (and, most importantly, knowing which are the best cookies from our dining halls). These student-athletes are all amazing in their own ways, and I have learned a lot from them. We are together all the time, and our team is so close-knit that practice is myfavourite part of every day.

Above all, Dartmouth has given me a remarkable appreciation for life that I never knew I had. At the end of every day, as I leave the library at 11 p.m. to walk back to my dorm, I admire the beauty of my (new) home, wondering how I got this lucky.