Vox Populi is Dartmouth Now’s opinion department. It includes commentary written by members of the Dartmouth community that is intended to inform and enrich public conversation. The opinions expressed in these essays are the writers’ own.
Emma Steele ’14 is a modified English major and a neuroscience minor. She sings with the Dartmouth Subtleties, volunteers at Memory Cafe, and is involved in the Department of Theater. This past year she has been the Whitney Campbell Intern at the Office of Public Affairs.
Spring break was over. As I sat at gate A12, waiting for the last time I would board a plane back to school, I began to feel sudden bursts of emotion. First, I felt dread. I looked around the JetBlue terminal, a place I had become very familiar with over the past four years, and suddenly it hit me that in just one term I would be graduating. Fear of the future began to build up as I thought about life after college, and the fact that I was going to move to Los Angeles, a city that is practically foreign to me, on my own. Although I am happy with this plan, the pit in the bottom of my stomach told me I wasn’t quite ready to face the unknown.
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Then my fear turned into sadness. I started to imagine the last “roomie dinner” I would have with my housemates, laughing at how we chose to dine that night at FoCo (food court), talking about all the funny memories we shared from our four years. I tried to put this sadness behind me. It wasn’t time for that yet. I had 10 more weeks to enjoy Dartmouth. I thought about all the beauty that surrounds the campus in the springtime—the budding flowers and the sun that warms your face when you sit on the Green. This cheered me up, and I became excited about my final spring here. I vowed to make it count—to put myself out there, to continue to make memories, and to enjoy being a Dartmouth undergraduate for one last term.
My four years at Dartmouth have involved many twists and turns. At one time or another, I’ve been a varsity athlete, a premed student, a London traveler, I’ve worked for a film festival, changed my major… twice, and created memories, from trudging through the snow to jumping off Ledyard dock, with many wonderful friends.
It hasn’t been a typical Dartmouth experience, perhaps, but it has been unique, and all my own.
With that thought, all of the emotions swirling around in my head began to disappear. Despite the struggle, indecision, and pressure to perform that surrounded planning my D-plan, applying to off terms, and balancing my friendships, I have reached a point in my senior year where I am happy with who I am and where I am going.
Although I dropped the structured premed path to pursue theater, a very uncertain career course, I have found myself in a place of deep satisfaction. I chose a career that I love, and know that despite the different roads I’ve taken to get to my senior year, all of the ups and downs have been necessary.
It was in this moment of realization that I began to feel at peace with graduating, and pleasure in my perfect imperfect Dartmouth experience. When I boarded the plane back to campus, the dread was gone. Spring term no longer seemed like an ending, but the beginning of an exciting new journey.