Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Senior Reflection


I’m currently sitting in my favorite study spot in the library, putting the finishing touches on my very last Government paper, waiting for my best friend of three years to come join me to “study” aka gossip about formals, bequests, and all the weirdness of senior year ending. Just recently, the finality of senior year started to hit. It was like all of the 14s were able to function normally until Green Key ended, and then it was too real to ignore anymore. We started having all of our lasts – last meetings, last formals, last classes, last finals – and suddenly it was real: We are graduating.

Yesterday, I had one of my lasts – my last volleyball bequest. For those of you who are unaware what bequests are, they are an excuse for seniors to pass along small pieces of history and various items acquired (stolen?) from across their four years. Almost every organization at Dartmouth has them, and it’s a great way to keep a legacy going while adding a piece of your own experience as well.


The volleyball team has bequests every spring, with each senior passing along her own piece of DVB history. Some of my bequests have a long lineage, like a poster first bequested by a pair of ‘05s or a hat that goes back to the ‘07s. Since our team is larger than usual this year, most of the things I gave away were mine, starting my own line of things that will hopefully make there way to the future ‘20s and ‘25s of DVB (scary thought).

The whole point of me writing about bequests is this. When I was going through all my stuff, trying to figure out what to give to whom, I realized just how well I know my teammates. Most things were easy, like a purple velvet dance leotard that screamed Alli Brady for no reason. Or all the various middle bequests that I was happy to pass along to my strong middles in the 16s and 17s class. But all in all, it made me so proud to be part of a team with so many amazing girls – both in teams past and right now. Passing along items given to me from the ‘11s and ‘12s filled me with pride, to tell their stories and share a little bit of how amazing they were. I felt so blessed to have been allowed the opportunity to meet so many amazing women, to have had them impact my life, and to have made even a small impact on the underclassmen.


Obviously Dartmouth Volleyball has meant more to me that just posters and hats and old t-shirts, but if I were to write that story it would be a novel. Volleyball has been in my life for longer than almost anything else, and has taught me so many lessons. Like the fact that I put writing this blog into my calendar almost six months ago when Jose first blitzed it out so that I remembered to write it. Although that may not seem directly related to volleyball, it is related to the lessons I’ve learned and how it’s changed who I am as a person.



I can’t say how volleyball the sport will be involved in my life in years to come, although I do hope to continue playing and maybe coach club one day. But what I can say for certain is this: the relationship, lessons, and memories I created during my years, as a Dartmouth Volleyball Player will continue to be with me forever. From the day that AM called me to give me my offer to the very last point I scored to end a win against Columbia (Thanks again for setting me Stacey….) there have been so many ups and downs, but its been an amazing journey. I couldn’t be more thankful to AM, Heather, Erin, Jose, Katie Hirsch, Andi, and Dee for all their advice, support, and continued belief in me as a player and a person.


So from a very sentimental Daughter of Dartmouth, thanks and I love you all.

PTD DVB J

Friday, May 23, 2014

Softball, Basketball and Science Oh My!

Despite a fairly remote location, no one will ever complain about a lack of things to do at Dartmouth. Concerts, art exhibits, dances, hiking, and sports to name a few. One of the team’s favorite activities is cheering for other Big Green athletes as they compete. While it’s important to support the various teams, it’s also great fun. We especially love outdoors sports maybe because we play inside... Rain or shine (or snow), someone from the volleyball team is cheering from the sidelines. This seems both fitting and appropriate for a school who’s motto is, “Vox clamantis in desert.”



Recently our whole team watched the Dartmouth Softball team compete for the Ivy League Championship. I went to the first game of the series and followed live stats for the others. The one thing that gets in the way of my being physically present at a game is the gravitational pull of classwork, labs, and exams, but I’ll save that for another blog. It was so exciting to be there as they played for their first championship title. The collective excitement and happiness was overwhelming, and the cheering from the crowd was deafening. Literally!

The day after this victory, about half the volleyball team participated in the basketball 3 on 3 tournament for the Haven. The comingling of players on different teams was both fun and humorous. While we all enjoyed ourselves, we were wisely reminded that volleyball is indeed our sport.

Now that we’re not in season and have a break from the travel, we took our support off campus. Last weekend while we seemed to scatter in all different directions, there were still members of the volleyball team cheering for another Big Green team. Four of my volleyball teammates went to NYC to support the Dartmouth Baseball team in their final game of the Ivy Championship.


At Dartmouth I have crossed paths with sports I've never played or seen, and while academics come before athletics, it’s much more socially acceptable to cheer for the hockey team than for a physics demo. But don’t get me wrong I really like those physics demos.

On campus my life involves a lot of science. Right now I’m in two lab classes one for organic chemistry and one for physics. So weekly I have 7 hours of lab just for classes. Lab can be both exciting and excruciating. In orgo we have to thoroughly prepare prior to lab because the procedures are complicated and we frequently are dealing with hazardous materials. 

This pays off though when you’re actually in lab and reactions work the way they should. For physics Emily A. and I usually are coming from lift so we grab dinner at the Hop then go straight to lab. These labs generally consist of cool experiments with finicky machines. This past week we had to create different circuits and boy did we have a rough time connecting things in the right way (it can be tricky with so many crossing wires).


In addition to the time I spend on labs for class, I work in a lab at Thayer School of Engineering. The project I work on focuses on breast cancer imaging. I have worked in this lab since freshman winter first through the Women in Science Program and now through Sophomore ScienceScholars.

One thing I love about Dartmouth is the opportunities like this that are much less accessible as an undergrad at other schools. Like I said before, there’s always something to do here be it academic, athletic, or otherwise.

Kaira Lujan '16

Monday, May 19, 2014

“Heart is the difference between those that attempt and those that achieve”





Now that spring volleyball season is winding down and we are only a few weeks from being done with the term, our heads are heading for the books to prepare for upcoming midterms, finals, and papers.  Even though classes, homework, studying, volleyball practice, conditioning, meetings, and weights monopolize our weekdays, we love taking some time on the weekends to support other Dartmouth sports teams.  This weekend in particular offered exciting matchups and competition.  The first event that many on the team attended was the spring football game.  Since both football and volleyball are fall sports, the schedules often conflict and we rarely get to watch each other’s games.  This weekend, however, provided the perfect opportunity to watch and support some of our fellow football friends.  Even though it was not an official game, it was great to see the guys go at it and show off in front of all the pretty girls in the stands.


The second event that a lot of the girls participated in was a 3 v 3 basketball tournament for the Haven charity for the homeless.  The girls were coached by fellow Dartmouth basketball players and were absolutely fantastic in showing off their basketball skills.   As you can see from the picture below, they brought their serious focus and enthusiasm to the competition and left it all on the court for a very good cause. 


Despite the crazy bipolar weather, our Dartmouth teams in season rose to the occasion and dominated the weekend.  Dartmouth women’s crew won the Parent’s cup over UCF and Cornell.  Dartmouth baseball beat Yale 11-4 qualifying for the playoffs and clinching the Rolfe Division crown.  Finally, Dartmouth softball beat Penn for the Ivy League Championship title! I know I can speak for everyone when I say that I am so thrilled and grateful to be part of the Dartmouth athletic community.  To be surrounded by so many amazing athletes, coaches, and fans is such a privilege.  I am so proud of the dedication that exemplifies my teammates and fellow athletes in other sports, striving to achieve personal and team goals while representing their college with pride and honor.


The success enjoyed by the spring sports teams is inspirational and motivating, especially with our season commencing a short 3 1/3 months away.  The amount of hours this team has logged in the weight room, conditioning sessions, volleyball practices, in addition to our team homework assignments and meetings reflects our focused commitment to be the best we can be and to hopefully achieve what our pier athletes have achieved this spring.  It is so exciting to visualize our potential if we keep up the good work.  Our growth both physical and mental is evident thanks to our coaches, trainers and enthusiastic teammates. “Heart is the difference between those that attempt and those that achieve” and from what I see, this team has a whole lot of heart and a bright future. GO BIG GREEN!!

-Stacey Benton #10