Did you walk on to the lightweight rowing team?
What impact did rowing have on your Dartmouth experience?
Nervous, shy, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, and unsure if I had made the right choice: all these feelings were going through my mind when I first stepped onto Dartmouth’s campus for orientation. I found my dorm and began to unpack when a classmate burst through the door saying we had a meeting in 15 minutes across campus. It turned out he was another lightweight rower.
Over the next few days the upperclassman on the team welcomed all of us as D150s - taking us on hikes, jumping off waterfalls, cooking us breakfast at Foley House, and helping us navigate the strange new world that was Dartmouth. I will be forever grateful to those upperclassmen for the warmth they showed. After the first week I had a new family and that shy uncertain kid began to disappear. Over the years since it is this family that has stood the test of time. They came to my graduations since college, they came to my white coat ceremony, they came when I was hurt, they came when my biological family did not.
Dartmouth is home, and the place where a piece of my heart will always be. But, when I visit campus or think of my time there; it is not the Green, my old fraternity, the library or dining halls that I wind up at. It is always the Connecticut River and the boathouse. It is the thing about Dartmouth that always draws me back. The D150s are the embodiment of Dartmouth. They are intelligent, loyal, diligent in the extreme, and above all welcoming of everyone. That is what Dartmouth should be and that is what the D150s are.
What impact did rowing have beyond college?
Over my years as a D150 I learned many things in the classroom - as all Dartmouth students do - but Lightweight Rowing taught me the lessons I use most often in my post-grad life. I learned that there is nothing hard about hard work, except for the idea of it. I learned that taking the first step is the most difficult, but once you begin something it doesn’t seem as hard as you thought. I also learned great respect and compassion for the suffering of others. Lightweight rowing is uniquely difficult sport, but being with so many who handled these challenges in their own way make it a uniquely rewarding one. My teammates first showed me what compassion is, and these lessons inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. I am now a second-year medical student at the University of Virginia, and it is my experience as a lightweight rower at Dartmouth that taught me to study for hours on end, that gave me the skills and drive to walk into a room and connect with a young woman with leukemia or a child with cystic fibrosis. It was the D150s that made me who I am, and helped me to help others.
What would be lost if Dartmouth eliminates the Lightweight Rowing Team?
If Dartmouth Lightweight Rowing team dose disappear so much would be lost. A place where hard work and strong bonds become cornerstones of an individual’s personhood. A network that stretches over generations and beyond the bounds of Dartmouth to other institutions. A group that helps everyone they come into contact with at Dartmouth and beyond. A team that welcomes anyone from all corners of the Dartmouth community regardless of strength, skill, or background. All of these things will be lost along with the Dartmouth Lightweights. Students of Dartmouth College now face a world with unprecedented challenges, I believe that to meet these difficulties many will need all that the D150s have to offer.