My name is Tom Dils.
I am a senior at Middlebury College, a small liberal arts school in Vermont. I grew up in Williamstown, MA — another rural college town. There are three route options between school and home, and all can be completed in under two hours on a good day. For as long as I can remember, I have spent my summers in Westport, NY at my family’s farmhouse and then as a camper and leader at Camp Dudley. I keep my “second home” with me every day as I try to live my life by the Dudley motto, “The Other Fellow First.”
I am an English Major in the midst of two thesis projects — one critical and one creative. My critical thesis project took me to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada in June of 2016 to explore the setting of Alistair MacLeod’s short stories and novel and to experience the traditions and culture of the people who live there. My creative thesis will consist of a collection of poems, and these invoke questions and concerns of coming into adulthood through a focus on all forms of relationships.
I recently retired from college soccer, proudly representing the Middlebury Mens Soccer Team for four years. The pain of coming to the end has been slightly dampened by the opportunities that await me to explore other athletic activities. Alpine and Nordic skiing, road and mountain biking, trail running, hiking, rock climbing, and competing in triathlons are all possibilities for the near future.
My major, varsity athletics, and activities define me — and yet, they mean very little. I am both a product of my environment and an innovator within it, and sometimes, I like to escape it all for a day of nature, food, and a craft beer in my local surroundings.
Vermont is the greatest state in which to go to school, and unfortunately, my time here grows shorter every day. In November, I accepted a position at Landmark Management, a small wealth management family office in New York. While I am thrilled about the learning opportunity, the people at the firm, and the ability to begin to pay off my student loans, it is still a daunting next step to make. For my whole life, I have always been able to look out my window and see mountains.
I am blessed to share my life with fellow Middlebury senior Maddie Leopold. She has an infectious smile and an inspiring attitude about life, and if you ask her, she might tell you that she is part-dog. Maddie is joining me in our leap to New York, and facing the “real world” with my best friend beside me makes it all better.
These elements of my life will invariably work their way into this blog. I once kept a different blog, titled For There Is Much To Dare, during my 2012 – 2013 gap year. It is funny and perhaps fitting that I am bookending my college years with blogging projects. I have always been a writer and a creator, so I suppose it feels natural.
I am proud of where I am now and hopeful about where I am going, but there are questions left to be answered and loose ends left to be tied. I always envisioned the end of college as the moment in my life when I would finally have to decide what I wanted to do, but life is messier than that. And when I really think about it, the end of college is just an arbitrary point in time. I acknowledge the changes it will bring, but I refuse to let it pressure me to stray from who I am.
Everything in this blog will be just that — an extension of my true self.