Stuff Dartmouth Kids Like: The Reveal

by Leslie Ye | 5/22/14 5:07pm

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by Annie Ma / ANNIE MA / THE DARTMOUTH STAFF

Dartmouth is an easy place to make fun of. It’s an icy tundra, it’s in the boondocks, hours away from a Chipotle (the hallmark of civilization). No one knows how many Dartmouth students it takes to screw in a light bulb because Hanover has no electricity — all the jokes have been made.

We like humor because it makes us feel connected to each other. Jokes are the ties that bind. As we trundle through life, we pull concentric circles of people around ourselves. These are the connections that keep us safe. You may not find out who your real friends are until you’re surrounded by darkness, but otherwise the thing that connects us is laughter. All those little quips only your friends or your family or your school understand? Those are your shared history, your experiences, your past. Laughter reminds us where we come from.

Humor can heal us, too. It reminds us that even when things are hard, there is still good in the world. They can ground us when things seem out of control and take our mind off our pain, even if it’s just for a little while. Why did Jon Stewart go on the air after the towers fell? David Letterman? Jay Leno? We needed someone to distract us from the horror. Jokes can do that for you. That’s why I love them.

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I have a story to tell you. Maybe you already know parts of it. For some of you, there will be no surprises here. For the rest of you, I hope you don’t know it, because that would make this terribly boring for you. Here we go.

My sophomore fall could have been an unmitigated disaster. I didn’t get into a house and cried about it — which for all you ’17s, I highly discourage — and tried (and failed) to be pre-med. But it was also amazing. I was no longer part of the worst class ever, had figured out my major (government), my favorite study spots (3FB and the futon in my room) and my pasta order (half meat, half alfredo, lots of veggies). I was finding my place.

I wrote for The Mirror until junior fall and was a regular Dunyun reader (RIP). I admired the people with columns, the ones I looked forward to every week. Seniors poked fun at the Dartmouth I had just begun to understand. They seemed omnipotent, all-knowing, wise. They probably weren’t, but that’s what I thought.

I’d been thinking about it for a while — the senior column I wanted to write. I wasn’t peppy enough to do something like “Dartmouth’s My Favorite,” and I didn’t have enough metaphorical stories in me to do a “Chicken and Waffles” redux. Besides, nobody likes a redux.

I tend to have my best ideas at night, alone in the dark. Some people think best in the shower — for me, clarity comes when the rest of the world is asleep. What did I want my time at Dartmouth to be? What I’ve always wanted out of life was to leave something behind. Not necessarily something profound or meaningful — if I managed to do that, great, but really I just wanted something I could look back at to remind me of who I was at that time.

That’s why I write. Writing, even if you’re only recording what someone else is telling you, is a form of creation. It has weight. It is something you can hold in your hands. It is something you make out of nothing. I’m a big believer in words. I’ve written 74,000 for The D and at least twice as many for classes while I’ve been here. These are some of my last.

Back to sophomore fall. I was too young to do a senior Mirror column, so my best option was the Internet. I created a Twitter account. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Quite a few of you follow it. In a none-too-subtle choice, I named it after the Dartbeat column I would write for the next two years: @StuffDKidsLike.

There is a blog called “Stuff White People Like.” It was last updated in November 2010, but in its heyday, it was part of the zeitgeist. Written by Christian Lander, it is a satire of “left-leaning, city-dwelling white folk.” It was just politically incorrect enough without being offensive, quippy, funny and clever. It was my inspiration.

Those of you who know me remember that I was taking EARS 6, of bouncy-beach-ball-used-to-call-on-people and group-midterms fame. On the night of Dec. 3, 2011, I was studying for the final, and my friend was in my room studying for his econ final. The tree had just gone up on the Green. It was snowing. We were blasting Christmas music.

My first tweet was at 4:45 a.m. It was about the late Jim ‘Gusanoz’ Dupuis’s FOOD 4 FINALZ Facebook event —this was back when Gusanoz stopped delivering to Hanover but Jim was bringing burritos to Webster every night. The most retweeted thing I’ve posted was a picture from this year’s midnight snowball fight. There’s a guide to surviving finals from 13W. The Twitter account is a record of my time here.

@StuffDKidsLike started out as an actual list, and sometimes I still tweet additions, but it’s changed a lot. Sometimes the tweets are funny thoughts I want a larger audience to see. Sometimes they’re reminders, like that check-in or add-drop have begun. Sometimes they’re announcements, like when the Princeton hockey game is happening or that rugby won again. Most of the time they’re commentary, commentary on campus events, on truths I see at Dartmouth.

There’s references to our number one undergraduate teaching ranking, lots of poking fun at freshmen, lots of jokes about the Greek system. There’s a lot of stuff in there about blitz, Homeplate, Bored at Baker, facetime and pong. Things that don’t make sense or matter to an outsider. Things that only make sense to you and me.

I thought @StuffDKidsLike was just about me, and in a lot of ways, it is. It’s an outlet for my snark, a place for all the random thoughts I have about Dartmouth that would just clutter my personal Twitter. But it’s also about you. Without you, @StuffDKidsLike would be nothing. You are the ones that retweet and favorite and let me know when something I’ve said has struck a chord with a lot of you, and that feels amazing.

I’ll be tweeting until June 8, and maybe during Homecoming and Green Key next year. Otherwise, I don’t know what’s going to happen to @StuffDKidsLike. If you have ideas or want to take it over, let me know. Until then, thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for laughing, thank you for reminding me that though I’m just a lone voice tweeting in the wilderness, you’re all out there listening.