This was the last weekend before Dartmouth homecoming.
It was a coincidence that before I spent most of the weekend elsewhere. But after all, in order to come home to Dartmouth, you have to leave first.
So I went to my real home in Lyme.
We Hanover High graduates are made fun because we could do our laundry for free if we wanted to, but the truth is that most of us get sucked into campus life and don’t spend much time with our parents.
I only go home about twice a term, and it’s usually on a moment’s notice. Sometimes I don’t even bother to warn my parents I’m coming (hi Mom and Dad).
I’m not the only one. A lot of my friends on the ski team are from Vermont and are grateful to be able to go home if they want to.
Freshman Sophie Caldwell headed back to Peru, Vermont this weekend to recuperate after being sick ever since she arrived at Dartmouth.
When Sarah Van Dyke had mono three years ago, she went to her parents’ house in Stowe, because it was nicer to spend all day in bed there than in a noisy dormitory.
Illness is one of the most obvious reasons to go home. There’s nothing quite like sleeping in a quiet house, in your own bed, with your parents and making sure you take your cough medicine and eat enough meals.
But it’s not the only reason we seek comfort outside our dorm rooms and apartments.
Kristin Dewey and the women of the Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority met, greeted, and deliberated over potential new members until 4 a.m. on Thursday and 2 a.m. on Friday.
By the time Saturday rolled around, Kristin wished she could go home to recharge. Unfortunately, our Sunday morning practices made it impractical; while I can drive down from Lyme by 8, she would have had a challenge.
“I think going home on a weekend or something is a really good way to relax and chill out and kind of re-group,” she told me. “I only go home if I have free time to hang out with my dog and my family… I’m glad I live close by.”
Pavel Sotskov’s family just moved from Gilford, New Hampshire to Meriden, where his father is the new athletic director at Kimball Union Academy. Even before the move, Pavel spent the majority of his weekends with his parents.
“I tend to relax more when I am at home – I can sleep in and get a good breakfast cooked. On the other hand, most of the time I don’t get as much work done… I get carried away with stuff I want to do at home, from going to the store to tinkering with bikes.
“If I didn’t live so close I probably wouldn’t go home as often, but I think it’s a convenience that I might as well use.”
As I left my apartment on Saturday, Hannah Dreissigacker asked, “are you going home? I’m so jealous! It’s going to be beautiful up there!”
And she was right. Our family has the kind of house you are probably familiar with: an old farmhouse with a barn that’s sinking into the ground, miles and miles of decaying split-rail fences and crumbling stone walls, and more grass than our animals can possibly mow.
I spent Saturday afternoon sitting in a field across the driveway, with my dog, Bravo (who is only partially mine after four years of college), sitting next to me watching over the farm.
When I looked up from the biology papers I was reading, I could see across the valley to Thetford, where the hills were blanketed in color.
Did I do as much work as I might have on campus? No.
Elsa Sargent would head home before final exams and finish her term papers days before the rest of us. I’m not so focused. To me, mental recovery is more important.
Hannah and I discussed how a lot of students forget that there is a “real world” outside of campus. Maybe going home isn’t the best way connect with the real world, but at least you get out of the Dartmouth bubble.
Hannah hails from Morrisville, Vermont, but her family has a farm in West Fairlee. “It is my absolute favorite place to escape to. I like going there with friends to pick apples or tap the maple trees for sugaring, and it reminds me that school is not really that important after all. The only problem is that it makes it hard to go back to classes.”
Right, classes. Maybe I should have spent more time on them this weekend.