Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Getting back into the Swing of Things

After spending the past three months in South America and then abruptly returning back to Hanover, I have come to realize Dartmouth offers the most incredible and unique opportunities for its students. One minute I was putting on sunscreen before walking to bus stop and then subway station to make it to the university in Buenos Aires and a week later I'm putting on my sweater, scarf, gloves, ear muffs and winter coat for my three minute walk to class at Dartmouth. Being away for so long made me miss Dartmouth-- the atmosphere, the people, the volleyball, the weekends, and the english language. I really missed my Psychology courses after taking three classes all taught in 100% spanish. The biggest adjustments I had to make in Buenos Aires was having to take multiple forms of public transportation every day (coming from a small southern town and Hanover doesn't exactly prepare you for that), standing out like a sore thumb (being taller than 5' 3" and blonde was equivalent to being an alien), and the lack of efficiency. In Buenos Aires, you had to jump up and down and wave your arms around to get the attention of the waiters and nothing was open before 10 or 11 AM except for Starbucks and McDonalds. 

Going to sporting events at Dartmouth and going to sporting events in Buenos Aires was also night and day. For example, today I went with a couple other DVB girls to the baseball game. We calmly sat and chatted and occasionally  shouted "Woo Hoo" whenever someone hit the ball. When we went to go grab a hot dog, we all left our backpacks on our seats with our laptops and cellphones in them. But when a group of the students and I went to the River Plate soccer game in Buenos Aires, they have several check points where security guards patted you down and kept you in separate sections like herds of cattle. I have never seen so much security in one setting. In the stadium, they had metal fences all around the seating with barbed wire on top so the fans couldn't get on the field-- I felt like I was at the game in The Longest Yard surrounded by thousands of convicts. Apparently, at the end of the game, nobody is allowed to leave the stadium until the opposing team has boarded their buses and departed because there have been a couple of instances where the fans tried to kill the players. Luckily I learned this after I had already survived the game. 

Eating dinner was also a very different experience compared to at Dartmouth. In Buenos Aires, I would sit down with my host mother and sister at around 9:30 PM (or 21:30 as they would say) for dinner. A typical meal consisted of milanesa (thin fried steak basically) and potatoes and cantaloupe for dessert. We would finish eating around 10 but then sit at the dinner table until 11:30 or 12 just talking (this custom is referred to as "sobremesa"). Here at Dartmouth, the team usually heads to Foco around 6 pm and then we are out of there at the lastest by 7. I must admit, I miss the laid back atmosphere at times, just shootin' the breeze and unwinding for three or so hours, but at Dartmouth you don't exactly have the time to do that. 

Seeing my teammates for the first time once we all got back on campus gave me indescribable happiness. We literally all screamed and jumped around like 5 year olds for a solid 10 minutes, which I'm sure those around us really appreciated. Its crazy how being away for so long made no impact on the relationships with all my girlies :) Glad to be back with the people I love. ¡Chau!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DVB . . . .Assemble!

         A slightly tanner (or in my case, more sunburned) Dartmouth Volleyball returned for spring term from various adventures around the world. We heralded from Orlando, Buenos Aries, Barcelona, Texas, and San Francisco; eager to delve into new classes and prepare for spring tournaments.

          Our first night back together on campus, the 16s celebrated Kaira’s 20th birthday and then met up with the 17s to tell us all about their LSAs. Language Study Abroad terms, or LSAs allow students to totally immerse themselves in a foreign language through homestays and classes in a foreign country. Our 16s spent time in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Barcelona, Spain improving their Spanish and gleaning an invaluable, first-hand look into South American and Spanish culture. They gushed about their host families, great food, and funny run-ins with the language barrier.

             Dartmouth Volleyball is unique because we are allowed to take off-campus terms. Most D-1 programs deprive their athletes of that opportunity in exchange for more reps in the gym. While visiting a foreign country may not improve our hitting percentage, it has the potential to make us better people. Allowing athletes to go abroad speaks volumes to the value placed by the Dartmouth Volleyball program on our well roundedness as people and athletes. The 17s are applying to abroad programs in Barcelona, Argentina, France, and India. Personally, I am extremely excited to go abroad (assuming I get into the program), but I’m really going to miss the team next winter.

              We could have listened to the 16s talk about their LSA adventures for hours, but eventually we returned to our dorms to prepare for the first day of classes. Many 17s are taking their first language courses at Dartmouth in preparation for their LSAs next winter. Kaira and Emily Astarita geared up for Physics 14, a course about electromagnetism that frankly, gives me a headache just to think about. Holly and Maura are taking a class about Russian theater and both have roles in a Russian play at the end of the term. As a whole, DVB girls are spread throughout a variety of academic disciplines. When we do homework together, the tables are covered in readings with topics ranging from psychology to econ and chemistry to Latin.

            This term, I am taking Intro to Judaism, Intro to Archeology and my freshman seminar about letters written by Beethoven and Mozart. Having never taken a music class at Dartmouth, I was apprehensive about my seminar selection. With the professor’s help I’ve been able to keep up despite my musical illiteracy. Archaeology so far is my favorite class because I’m a huge nerd about old stuff. We are learning about dating methods, mapping the dig site, and different archaeological discoveries around the world… I’m in heaven! To make the academic part of the term even better, my classes only fall on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which has been lovely.

           After the first few days of class, we started spring season practices. The spring practice load falls somewhere between that of fall and winter. We have conditioning, lift, individual/small group practice and 10 whole-team practices. Later in the term, we will have two tournaments-- one in Albany and one at home. Spring season emphasizes a return to game speed after a slower, more tactically focused winter season. With help from the specialists at Dartmouth Peak Performance, we are continuing to work on goal setting and mental toughness.

            Looking forward, we are excited to use this term to improve on the court, kill it in the classroom and make more great memories with each other… some warmer weather will be nice too…!

Lottie MacAulay ‘17

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hola de España

March 10, 2014

Hola de España! With less than a week left of our term abroad, we are doing all we can to see, taste and live Barcelona. What an incredible opportunity we've been given! It has been the trip of a lifetime.
We have experienced much since Katie's blog. We've had the opportunity to see some of the famous architecture of Antoni Gaudí, like La Sagrada Familia, which was the most beautiful place I've ever been.

The intention for this basilica was for it to appear as a rainforest inside and Gaudí achieved this and more. I have never seen anything like it before. I am rendered speechless by how his buildings appear to be moving, like waves especially with La Pedrera. 

Next, a visit to Monserrat! It is a mountain in Spain famous for its incredible view, and yes it was breathtakingly beautiful. 

After we explored for the afternoon and took lots of pictures, we drove to Freixenet, a well-known vineyard that specializes in cava, the "champagne of Spain". We toured the facility and learned about the entire production process (in Spanish of course) and it was very interesting!

It's incredible all of the fun and historic excursions that the Dartmouth program offers us. We always ask, "Are we really in school?" The answer is a definite yes. I have never learned so much in three months in my life. At the end of the tour we got a free tasting of the cava!

This weekend my parents came to visit and I showed them the beautiful city that has been my home for the past three months. 

They fell in love with it like I did! We went to dinner with my loving and hilarious host mom, Carmen, and I translated the entire conversation. 

I am amazed with how my Spanish has improved and I am determined to continue. This has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have met so many friends and made the best memories. I will miss it greatly. ¡Hasta pronto Barcelona!

Alli Brady '16

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Big Green Family

Winter term is slowly coming to a close and everyone is eager to retreat back to the warmth of their hometowns, which for most of us is a place that never sees temperatures below 40. Until then, Dartmouth Volleyball has decided to use this opportunity of a lax schedule to branch out and support other teams. Our time is often limited to our own sport in season, so when we do have the time, we like to support other fellow student athletes.
            This weekend we all went to the Track and Field Heptagonal Championship. We supported the Big Green as they polevaulted, long jumped, and sprinted their way through the meet. We are lucky that we even had the chance to see the event because it rotates Ivies every year.

I can speak for all the girls when I say it was very interesting to see other student athletes compete doing what they love. We spend so much time focused on our sport to the point that it becomes easy to forget what unites us with other student athletes: the love of our game. It was almost refreshing to see the passion and desire that the track and field team had for their sport. The way they cheered when teammates beat their personal records and meet records was electrifying. They believed in each other and more importantly they believed in Dartmouth. I believe that is why Dartmouth is so special. Despite our different sports or hobbies, the love that people have for this school is unparalleled. Students here thrive on building community, which is why Dartmouth has become a cultivation center for relationships, teamwork, and cooperation.

As we are about to enter into the spring season, which entails much more training than this term, I believe it is good to reflect on why we do this. It is not just for ourselves, but it is for the bigger picture. We want to represent Dartmouth because it is our home. It is where we learn and grow as people. Our team is an extension of campus, which is why we love doing what we do so much. It doesn’t matter how early the lifts are or how hard the conditioning is. At the end of the day, I know when I look to my left and my right that my teammates are there supporting me. Together we work for the common good and most importantly to represent the school we love so much, which is why I’m proud to call myself apart of this college and this team.

Danielle Glinka '17

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DVB in Spain

Hola from Barcelona!! Alli, Kaira and I are doing the Spanish LSA program here, which is the same program Paige and Kayden are a part of in Argentina. We are taking the same classes as them, and have had similar challenges and culture shocks along the way. Living in Europe has been completely different than being back home in Ohio or on campus at Dartmouth. 

For starters, the weather is similar to spring back home, so we are completely avoiding the sub-zero temperatures and snow! The food, the daily schedules, and so many various aspects of the culture are completely different. For instance, whenever we are lifting at the gym we joined here, we are usually the only girls using the weights, and all the guys there tend to just stare at us. It’s a little creepy, but we’ve learned to kind of block that out. Also, working out, especially for girls, is really not a big thing here. My host family was shocked when they realized how often I go to the gym. It’s so much different than in the US where working out is super common and accepted as part of daily life.  My host family is great. It is two young parents with two little kids. I’ve never had younger siblings so it has been fun having them around the apartment. I’ve even been helping the 10-year-old girl with her English homework.  
The language barrier has been rough at times. For example, (sadly, more than once) I’ve told my host family I like certain foods I actually hate. It’s also really difficult in Barcelona because since Cataluña wants to be independent from Spain, everything is written in Catalan. Also, for me, eating gluten free here is also a little challenging because people just don’t really understand it. I have found that some places sell gluten free snacks and my host mom can usually find gluten free bread, but waiters (and my host family at the beginning) are usually confused since bread is such a large part of their diet here. In a way, it’s been helpful because being gluten free keeps me from constantly wanting to try all the pastries, breads, giant sandwiches, desserts, etc. that everyone raves about. 

One of my favorite things we have done so far in Barcelona was going to a FC Barça game (their professional soccer team). As a sports fanatic, even though I wasn’t always sure what was going on since everything was either in Spanish or Catalan, it really a fun experience. The fans are crazy. They treat each game the way we would treat the playoffs in any major sport back home.

We just returned to Barcelona after having a ten-day break. We started the vacation with the entire group and our program directors in Madrid and Toledo for three days. Madrid and Toledo were both absolutely stunning. We did not get to spend a ton of time exploring Madrid, but for a large city it felt so much more open, clean, and less congested than Barcelona. Toledo showed us more of the older parts of Spain, with aspects of Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures all combined into one place. On Sunday, we were let loose for the rest of the week, and Alli, Kaira and I began our explorations through the south of Spain.

First, we took a train to Cordoba. I think Cordoba may have been my favorite city we’ve seen so far. It was similar to Toledo with representations from all three cultures, but the architecture and atmosphere in the south of Spain is drastically different from the north. I loved the mix of palm tress and orange tress in every street and the beautiful gardens we saw at the Royal Alcazar. We spent Sunday and Monday exploring sites in Cordoba (and getting a body weight workout in together in our giant bathroom of our hotel) before heading on another train to Sevilla.
In both Cordoba and Sevilla, we had some setbacks with the weather, and with the exception of one sunny day, we spent the majority of the time walking around in wet clothes from the endless rain. For three girls we went through five umbrellas since the wind and rain completely destroyed some of ours. Regardless, the cities were breathtaking. As a history nerd, I have loved going around all the older towns of Spain and learning the stories behind the incredible architecture and landmarks. In Sevilla, we spent two days exploring again. It was beautiful and is a bit larger of a city than Coroba. We had lunch along the river one day and saw the bullfighting ring. Hearing the tour guide describe bullfights was absolutely terrifying. I think all three of us were wide-eyed and in shock after going through the museum in the arena. After hearing about the fights, I’d much rather be watching bull riding at a rodeo, hands down. 

On Wednesday evening, we headed to the Canary Islands to meet up with other Dartmouth students from our program in Tenerife, one of the larger islands. This tropical get away was just what the doctor ordered as a vacation from classes and to escape the rainy days we had just endured. We stayed on Torviscas Playa until Saturday evening. I was perfectly content just spending my days lying by the pool and beach all day, soaking up the sun. Even though we loved traveling around just the three of us, it was really fun to meet up with about ten other people from our trip at the same hotel. Since it’s a really off-season for traveling, almost all the other guests at the hotel were senior citizens from northern Europe. Besides a few babies, we were definitely the youngest people there. Some of the guys on our trip even found a ping-pong table and spent a lot of their time perfecting their pong skills after the sun went down. 

Everywhere we went the first question people asked us was “What sport do you play?” then “Where are you from?” The three of us stick out like sore thumbs everywhere in Europe since we are much taller than the average population here. One waitress at our hotel in Tenerife even asked to take a picture with us to show her kids how tall we were. Now, we are back in Barcelona for four more weeks until we have a week break between terms and our return to Dartmouth. We miss our Big Green family, but we’ll be back in the Hanover cold before we know it! 

Katie Jarrett '16

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The end of W14

Well, the end of term is upon us and it feels like winter has gone by too fast. After Winter Carnival ended, we headed straight into midterms which inevitably come hand in hand with loads of reading, late nights, and Reece’s peanut butter cups. On the contrary, the last couple of weeks have been full of fun outings and new discoveries.

I happen to be, yet another, west coast kid from Los Angeles, so the insane downpour of snow was both beautiful and exhilarating. Since I strongly identify as a nature girl, getting outside is critical for my mental health. Sometimes, I find myself just looking up in awe of the sparkling little snowflakesabsolutely mesmerizing. After a few days of freezing cold snowfall, the sun started to peep through the clouds which was truly lifted everyone’s spirits during midterm season. The constantly changing weather patterns confuse little west coast kids such as myself. I frequently learn new things about the East Coast climate from natives or upperclassmen. For example, I was walking home from a class when I nearly slipped and fell on what I though was a puddle. Later, I learned that this “puddle” was a frozen puddle. (One of my teammates informed me is called “black ice.”) Thank goodness for my trusty bean boots. On a positive note, apparently melting snow means prime snowball weather. One night, Julia and I had a blast on the way home from dinner rolling tiny snowballs into massive snowmen bases and proceeded to throw them at one another. The looks we got from some upperclassmen... Amazingly enough, some of the team was
able to get out on a Saturday and head to the slopes. Some snowboarded, some skied, and everyone had a great time in the snow. Another night, the team went to Freshman Formal together! We pulled a classic group of teenage girls and all got ready together curling our hair and doing each other’s makeup. Once we were all done up, we went out to a classy dinner at Murphy’s and headed over to the Hanover Inn where we danced the night away. Overall, we took advantage of a wonderfully planned event and had fun meeting some of our other classmates while having a great time. 

Volleyball wise, we continue to push ourselves in the gym technically, physically, mentally, and tactically. As a team, we have made strides in conditioning, lifting, and our volleyball technique. There are only 10 of us from the team on campus, but we have created such a competitive yet fun environment in the gym and weight room that the team feels bigger than ever. From step-dancing in the weight room to crushing sprints at 7:30 a.m., we have grown as a cohesive group as well as stronger athletes in all accounts. 

Over the last two weeks, we have started meeting with the Assistant Athletics Director for Leadership, Steven Spaulding, to explore goal setting in depth and set some of our own goals. We discussed the importance of setting goals and dreaming. Steven had us each do some “homework” regarding our own personal goals for volleyball as well as dreams as an individual human. To help voice our goals, Steven had us all stand in front of one another while we gave a quick explanation of our goals in the near and distant future. As we went down the line, we heard of teammates plans to become the CEO of their own company and empower other women to do the same. Others dreamed of winning the Ivy League or traveling the world. The experience was eye-opening and I learned more about my teammates than I thought I would at a goal setting meeting. I can’t wait to see what the last two weeks of classes hold for the team and me. I have enjoyed my first real winter so far and am looking forward to having my whole team back playing in the gym together for spring term!

 Molly Kornfeind ’17

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My First Winter

So no, I'm not a freshman, despite the fact that apparently I still act like one. But this winter has really seemed like my first true "college winter," despite having been at Dartmouth for three wonderful years. My freshman winter was more of a muddy excuse for a season, as exemplified by the fact that they had to import snow for the Winter Carnival snow sculpture, which was crafted on top of a green (okay brown) Green. Having grown up in San Francisco, I'm pretty sure I was more excited that I was going to get to go to school in the snow than I have been for just about anything, so to say I was disappointed when the average temperature was 40 and we got almost no snow would be a very big understatement. So my sophomore year, I did the logical thing that everyone does when they want freezing cold weather and feet upon feet of snow - I went to Africa, where it was the middle of the summer. And while I maintain that last winter was one of (if not the) most transformative experiences of my life (so I absolutely second the props given to Dartmouth Athletics in the last player spotlight about how incredible it is that we can study abroad), it's definitely been a different sort of adventure being back on campus. 

Due to some changes in transfer term policies and pre-med requirements, the population on campus right now is much higher than a normal winter in Hanover, when everyone seems to want to go somewhere where they can soak up some vitamin D (although yesterday I defied the idea that you can't get sunburned in Hanover!). To make things even more happening, this past weekend was Winter Carnival AND the start of the Winter Olympics! I'm not sure who exactly told me that it would be okay to not touch my backpack for 4 days, but I definitely agree with them even if some professors don't. This weekend was the perfect break from the chaos of winter term academics and a great chance to revamp before heading back into the remainder of the term. Winter Carnival, like Homecoming in the fall and Green Key in the spring, can sometimes get a reputation for being little more than the college's excuse to ignore work for a few days and hang out. However, the big weekends here are perfect termly reminders of how lucky we are that this is our home base for four years - it seems like every weekend I'm hearing about something incredible to do just right around town! This week's fun fact is that we're only 15 minutes away from the longest ice-skating trail in North America! I'm not going to say my performance on it rivaled that of the Sochi competitors because I wouldn't want them to get their feelings hurt, but I do think that the 2018 US Figure Skating team should be seriously considering my recruiting tape.

We all talk pretty regularly about how grateful we are that we have the opportunity to go to Spain, Argentina, San Francisco, or Texas (and that's just this term!) while being D1 athletes. However, sometimes in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, especially in the winter when we're trying out new things or taking daunting classes (one of our 14s, Elisa Scudder, is in her first science class - Physics for Future Leaders!), it's easy to forget that we have an incredible place to call our second homes when we return from our globetrotting adventures. Seeing alums come back and talk about how much they miss the little things that we take for granted on a daily basis is great not only because alums are some of the coolest people I've ever met, but also because it's a little reminder of the fact that even when it's 6:30 AM and -20 and we're walking to practice and cannot feel a single extremity, we're surrounded by beautiful snow-covered trees on our way to play volleyball at a D1 school before going to classes led by the best undergraduate faculty in the country (and then, to really help out with the first part, the library sells really fantastic coffee :)). But now that Winter Carnival is over, it's time for us to recover from the frigid Polar Bear Plunge, catch up on those readings that weren't as important as ice skating or watching Olympians actually ice skate, and get to work because somehow we're already on week 6, and the second round of midterms are right around the corner! But luckily every TV and computer on campus has started streaming the Olympics, so we will not be short on study breaks :) 

Alex Schoenberger '15