A First Year Of New Experiences and New Friends

Gifts to the Dartmouth College Fund help make great things happen for our students. Here is one of their stories.

Hannah Burd ’22 is an engineering major from Salisbury, Massachusetts. She discusses her first impressions of Dartmouth; becoming acquainted with college life through classes, new friends, and extracurricular activities; and the importance of financial aid in allowing her to attend college.

I knew right after my tour of the Dartmouth campus that this is where I wanted to go. The last thing our tour guide said was, “Now, go out and explore. Spend your day as if you were a Dartmouth student." It felt like home. And everyone was just so kind. Whenever I passed students they always smiled.

I went on First-Year Trips, and it was so awesome! My fellow Trippees and leaders were great. I met my best friends on Mount Moosilauke on the last day. There’s something about hiking up four miles of mountain at 3 a.m. that really bonds you together. I do everything with them.

It surprised me how accessible the teachers are. I took a biology honors class limited to 20 students. We could post questions for our professor any time online or visit with her during dedicated office hours. We also had an undergraduate post-grad teaching fellow and three teaching assistants—so, five people available to assist us.

I came to college with an open mind and I really want to experience new things.

My undergraduate advisors are both engineers and they have a lot of experience with the engineering department. Engineering is usually a five-year program; when you’re trying to do it in four years and figure out how you’ll get all the classes in, it can be really stressful. They’ve been great for guidance and support.

I am a member of Allen House. We go to the Cube, which is the study space, all the time. It's a great place to just hang out and work. I am on the women's club basketball team and a member of the Dartmouth Outing Club.

I’m also a member of the E.E. Just Program for underrepresented minorities in STEM. They choose about 20 people from each incoming class and we came here for pre-orientation Science Week in early August. We took classes in all of the science departments for a week. Upperclassmen mentors told us about Dartmouth social life, and undergraduate deans explained the academic side. Having that program so far in advance really eased my anxiety about coming here.

I have a YouTube channel where I talk a lot about my experiences with Dartmouth. People have actually come up to me and told me that my videos were one of the reasons that they applied to Dartmouth—which is kind of crazy to hear! I get messages from middle schoolers and high schoolers from all over the country, all over the world, thanking me for being an inspiration. Knowing they look at me like that has made me examine myself and the message that I want to send. Because now I actually have a community who will listen.

I would not be able to go to any college, let alone Dartmouth, without financial aid. I have the Dartmouth Women’s Club of Boston to thank for my scholarship. Without generous donors to the Dartmouth College Fund, other students wouldn’t be able to have the opportunities that I’m getting here and will pursue in the future.

Need-blind admissions and schools that meet a hundred percent of demonstrated need are so important. When I found out I had been accepted and awarded the scholarship, oh, my gosh, it was just like this huge moment of both shock and relief and... just genuine happiness. To finally have a place I knew I was going to be for the next four years, it was such a feeling of peace.

I’m really happy here.