The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Rocky and Me: Sunny Drescher '20 Senior Reflection

Sunny Drescher, Class of 2020

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In the Rocky & Me series, Seniors reflect on their experiences during their time at Dartmouth.

While I will miss many things about Dartmouth upon graduation, I will undoubtedly miss the Rockefeller Center the most. I will miss the physical building, in which I have spent so much time over the years that several professors started referring to Hinman Forum as my “office.” I will miss the bustle of students coming in and out of classes and the opportunity to run into professors haphazardly. I will miss taking classes and learning more about how to effectively analyze various social and economic problems. I will miss the home base that the Rockefeller Center has provided me over my four years at Dartmouth, but I know that the friends, mentors, and memories I have made will continue to ground and support me in the years to come. 

I was fortunate to discover the Rockefeller Center during my freshman fall. Subsequently, my freshman spring was among the most influential terms in my Dartmouth career. First, I took Policy Implementation (PBPL46); I actually signed up for the class as a backup, having not been able to elect other courses I thought would be more interesting. That said, I am exceedingly thankful to have taken Policy Implementation, which inspired my interests in social inequality and economic mobility and opened my eyes to the different ways in which problems can be tackled. 

The second important development that stemmed from my freshman spring was my acceptance into the First Year Fellows program. This program not only allowed me to learn about the import of the judicial branch firsthand, as I was interning for a federal judge on a domestic violence calendar, but it also planted a seed of self-assurance that I could pursue a career in public service. Just as (if not more) importantly, the First Year Fellows program allowed me to meet, live with, and learn from peers who would go on to become some of my best friends. While I am immeasurably grateful for the skills and opportunities that Rocky has given me over the years, I am most indebted to the Center for creating the spaces that helped me cultivate these friendships.  

My ensuing terms, both at Dartmouth and off-campus, allowed me to grow as a student and as a person, and these experiences would not have been possible without the Rockefeller Center. I was able to pursue an internship that became a post-grad job offer as a result of Rocky’s financial support, and I experienced the Oxford tutorial system as a result of Rocky’s international exchange program. Even while I was away from Hanover, Rocky helped me discover more about myself, my interests, and my goals. 

When I was packing up at the end of winter term, unsure if I would return to campus again before graduating, a friend asked me if I had a favorite Dartmouth memory or experience. My emphatic and immediate answer was taking Global Policy Leadership (PBPL85) my senior fall. It was the most academically and personally challenging course I had taken, and it was all the more special because I took it with some of my best friends as well as some soon-to-be new friends. My experience in the course encapsulates my Dartmouth experience. It was more challenging than expected at the beginning, to my great stress and frustration. But week by week, it became more manageable, both in terms of content and workload. By the end, my peers and I had put together a memo in which we analyzed some of the most complex financial and social problems of the last decade and prescribed a response framework for the future. The conclusion of that course left me feeling much like I do now, nearing the conclusion of my time at Dartmouth: exhausted, grateful, and inspired for what comes next. 

-Written by Sunny Drescher, Class of 2020

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