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When I was looking at colleges, I asked current students a lot of questions. Their responses were plentiful, varied and usually helpful. But when I asked Dartmouth students what stood out about their school and why they seemed to love it so much, I got one answer over and over and over again: they loved Dartmouth because of the people.
The last word. When everything is said and done, what is left? You spent four years here. Twelve terms. 2,103,795 minutes. 126,227,704 seconds. How do you condense it all — the friendships, lessons learned, heart-to-hearts, sweaty dance party nights and 2 a.m. cram sessions — into just a couple of words? Once you graduate, how will you look back on your time here? Will your time here by defined by terms? Defined by that term you fell in love, that term you met the people you can’t imagine life without, that term you decided to pursue your passion? Or will you define it by year? Will you look back on your second year as a “sophomore slump” or reminisce fondly about lazy days on the Green during sophomore summer? Those who won’t be graduating any time soon, how will you choose to spend your remaining time here? Luckily for you, members of the 2018 directorate of The Dartmouth impart some of their wisdom in this issue of the Mirror — the ’18s are back for one last time, for one last word.
As of Week Nine my senior spring, it has finally hit me that I will soon be leaving this place for good. Some things that I already miss include: the plentiful piles of DBA I use to supply, guilt-free, my daily caffeine fix; my student discount; New Hampshire’s lack of local taxes. Some things that I will definitely not miss include: the KAF line (actually, any line on this campus); a nagging sense that I should be finding a passion that sustains me in the way everyone else on this campus seems to be sustained.
Last week, when I learned that Philip Roth had died, I searched my Notes app for the line from “American Pastoral” that I’d copied down last spring: “And since we don’t just forget things because they don’t matter but also forget things because they matter too much ... each of us remembers and forgets in a pattern whose labyrinthine windings are an identification mark no less distinctive than a fingerprint...”
When I walked away from my parents on Robinson Hall’s lawn for Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips, laden with a heavy backpack leftover from my father’s Eagle Scout days and several items of mild contraband, I knew that I wouldn’t be talking for a while. Faced with the prospect of introductions and icebreakers, I contemplated how I could survive the next few days saying as few words as possible. When faced with the opportunity to make a bad impression or a good impression, I tend to split the difference and do my best to make no impression (at all).
Believing in a defined Dartmouth is a flaw on our campus and one almost every student sinks into. There are the Dartmouth rampers, those who build up the College to be something it never can fully be: a place of traditions and pong and brotherhood. Then there are the detractors: to them, Dartmouth is ever oppressive, a place of privilege to be dismantled.
I ask a lot of questions.
Ever since I was a child, in response to practically any concern I have, my parents have always given consistent, simple advice: be yourself. Worried about fitting in at summer camp? Just be yourself. Scared about that job interview? Just be yourself. Nervous about making friends at Dartmouth? Just be yourself.
2:40 p.m. I step into the main line of King Arthur Flour, placing myself right behind the other three customers extending outside of the entrance. It’s a Monday afternoon and 2s started half an hour ago, so I’m not expecting the in-between-classes rush. The line’s a little longer than I’d prefer, but I’ve seen worse.
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this research is to further develop the theory of the origins of relative time, which can be synthesized from absolute time. It is thought that relative time and fun have an inverse relationship, and the experimental results are consistent with this hypothesis. The study was unable to identify the physical structure of the substance that causes this relationship.
I have a cheat sheet that helped me trace David Harbour ’97’s theatrical journey through Dartmouth and back to the stage of Spaulding Auditorium last Sunday. The Dartmouth has catalogued the actor’s early ascent through the ranks of theater at the College. Harbour landed a lead in “The Beautiful People Die Twice” during the fall of 1993. Only a month or so later he performed in “Measure for Measure” as “the undisputed star of the show” Then, after a brief hiatus he returned to the Hopkins Center for the Arts, this time to co-direct Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in the spring of 1995 and in the winter term of 1996 to direct “’Tis Pity She’s a Whore.” The write-up on the latter describes Harbour’s desire to use theater as a medium to bring up universal questions about love and revenge. After two more excellent performances, one in a play by German playwright Bertolt Brecht and another one by English playwright Samuel Beckett, Harbour culminated his theater experience at Dartmouth by directing “Hamlet” in the spring of 1997. The production was dark and inventive.
“We have some bad news for you all. This is never an easy thing for us to do.”
Dartmouth is a school full of traditions and these traditions are what bind our community tightly together. Passionate alumni often revisit campus to share their tales of triumph, trial and tribulation. For some, a significant aspect of their “Dartmouth Experience” includes falling in love. (It seems like every week students can be found either running around fires, jumping in freezing ponds, pulling all-nighters to go to Lou’s Bakery or even confessing their unrequited crushes on Last Chances.)
Time flies when you’re having fun. Or in our case, time flies when your term is packed back-to-back with midterms, meetings, lunch dates and midnight cram sessions. The break-neck speed of a term can often leave one disoriented and confused by Week Nine — wasn’t it only Week Two just a moment ago? Time warps in weird ways here.
Most of my Friday nights are spent according to a game plan adjusted based on social events put on by the College and the Greek system; I am no stranger to the different social spaces on campus. Since joining a Greek house, I have begun to become alienated from the party crowd that gravitates toward the big events organized by other houses. To refresh my memory and be able to record the student experience in some of campus’s most frequented social spaces, the Greek houses, I needed a guide.
When has a blessing been disguised?
Carolyn: I was disappointed to find out that I was randomly assigned to live in the River cluster — notoriously known as one of the worst dorms because of its distant location from the center of campus. I soon found that the long walk down Tuck Drive was worth it because of the unique community that organically sprung up there. I didn’t necessarily feel grateful for it while I was making the 20-minute trek to the River through the snow and hail, but looking back, I would now regard living in the River as a blessing in disguise, as I met some of my best friends there.
“How are you?”
Degree requirements at Dartmouth can sometimes be a pain. Students must fulfill 10 distributives, fulfill a language requirement, pass an English class, First-Year Seminar and three courses that satisfy World Culture Requirements, complete physical education courses, and pass a swim test. These requirements form a basis for the liberal arts education that Dartmouth prides itself on. While these requirements can be tough, they can also be a blessing in disguise.