Walking back to my dorm just now, Iron & Wine singing sweetly in my ears, their guitar strings tangled up in the barren treetops, I couldn't help but smile. I knew I wanted to write to you, but I'm not sure I have any grand and sweeping revelation to share; merely a moment of happiness, of having dinner with friends you run into, of hearing a good song, of knowing you have a hockey game later; of walking down the slushy path of Massachusetts Row and all-of-a-sudden emerging onto Tuck Mall, looking down the snowlit hill towards the mountains, trying to count the number of paths that some anonymous person in the early-morning wrought through the snow and how many people after them followed in their unsigned footsteps.
You know how I say over and over that Dartmouth is incredible? I was all wrong, readers. I thought that for something to be incredible, it had to be perfect; that I had to like every single aspect of Dartmouth for it to be an amazing place. But somehow in the time between Collis and Fahey I realized: I don't have to love everything about Dartmouth. In fact, there are quite a few things about Dartmouth that I don't like (that, perhaps, given the chance, I would change; although I don't know if there are such chances to be had) - and, dear readers, there are going to be things about the schools that each one of you go to that you won't like, either.
But I think that might be tied up in loving something: perhaps before I was just in love with Dartmouth, blind or deliberately ignorant of its faults and failings, embracing it for all that it was and wasn't so that I might doubly ensure my happiness. Now, though, now I think I could love it here - even in the dead of winter (when the high temperature for the day is five degrees and over everything there sits a few feet of snow), even though I have more work this term than I've ever had before, even given all of the weird and nonsensical subtleties about Dartmouth that no one in Real Life could possibly understand.
For whenever people ask me how my term is going, I always reply, "Great!" - and it's always sincere (I feel a twinge of guilt if I answer with anything else). Because it is. Because slowly but surely, even if I haven't found exactly what I want to do, or exactly what I love, I know I'm on my way. With each new grey day I feel hewn out a bit more my place here; my place amidst that which I would change and that which I hope always stays the same; my place amidst my fellow sons and daughters of this bleak and snowy New Hampshire town; my place at Dartmouth, good and bad alike.