I looked at other schools in the area because I wanted to be a day student. I was attracted by NMH’s size and its established academic tradition. I was also drawn to its mission of educating the head, the heart, and the hand. I didn’t want a place where the focus would be on academics all the time. Also NMH has the work program, which I think is very important. Fulfilling the "workjob" requirement brings everybody together. We all do it—nobody gets out of workjob.
Before my first year here, I was able to fill my workjob requirement over the summer on the farm. We harvested lavender and dug up giant weeds and took care of the cows. Then, in the fall of my junior year, I worked in the kitchen. I’d clean up after lunch and dinner and help with preparing food: I’d de-stem mushrooms or chop vegetables. That was definitely interesting because I’m not necessarily gifted in the culinary sense. The kitchen work and the farm work were both physical labor that needed to be done, and it felt good to be providing a service that NMH needs.
The students here are always very passionate, whether it’s about music or math or sports, or a combination of many different things. I have friends from all kinds of backgrounds: from Indonesia, Japan, the western US, and right here in Gill. I have friends who are affluent and friends who are not. I find myself attracted to people who are really kind, and there are a lot of those here.
I’ve become more comfortable with myself, as cliché as that might sound. I used to be more reluctant to share the quirky side of myself, but then I discovered that people here don’t judge you as much as you might expect. There are many like-minded people who are also interested in fantasy books or Celtic music or whatever their passion might be.
A lot of times the teachers know what’s going on in your life and really support you. When I was applying to colleges, they all knew I was applying early decision to Dartmouth. They would ask how it was going, and they encouraged me and expressed confidence in me. I had a teacher who made of habit of having the whole class announce on Mondays what they’d done that weekend in terms of performances or competitions. The support is from all around—not just your fellow students, your friends—but from your resident leaders, advisors, teachers, and coaches.