We're only here at Dartmouth for four years ... well, most of us. And it's often easy to take this time for granted. We know because, we too, fell victim to the "school sucks/my life sucks/everything sucks Dartmouth syndrome" that seems to hit everyone at one point or another. It's a good thing that Dartmouth has the tradition of canceling classes on the Friday of Harvard weekend so that students can leave Hanover and realize how good they have it ...
C Says: I didn't think anything else could go wrong. First it was my health. With the help of Dick's house qualified staff of well-trained specialists, my innocuous cold turned into an ear infection which led to a perforated ear drum which resulted in the loss of hearing in my right ear for the span of at least a month. Then it was my stable, caring, wonderful relationship with my boyfriend of three weeks. Well, let's just say that ended. Oh well. And to top it all off, the shirt I really wanted to buy from the J. Crew Christmas 1996 catalogue (p. 116) was on backorder until November 18th. I hated everything.
P Says: Well, as bad as I felt for my broken-hearted, deaf roommate, I was having my own hell. As I sat in that stuffy, tension-filled Rockefeller classroom staring at my econ midterm containing a graph comparing the indifference curves and budget constraint of wheat grown in Antarctica, and being asked to mathematically calculate why it's so cold there using the Lagrangian method, I began to wonder what possessed me to be an econ major. So not only was I questioning my entire academic career thus far and what I would do with the rest of my life, but someone threw my clean, fluffy, snuggle-fresh laundry onto the dirty floor of the North Fayer laundry room and I had no clean underwear. My life sucked.
C Says: So I thought to myself, what better way to recuperate mentally and physically than to spend a few days with my grandparents who live in New York City (and also to check myself into the NYU hospital and see a real doctor). It just so happened that an acquaintance was driving there for the weekend and I hitched a ride with him. So I abandoned my plans to go to Harvard with my roommate, and went to the Big Apple instead. Although I was grateful to be able to see a professional doctor who actually understood that having a hole in your eardrum was a bad thing, and to buy a few things at Macy's (on Grandma of course) I couldn't wait to get back to this Hanover haven. Sure, it was exciting to go to the city and experience the thrills of a thriving metropolis, but I realized that I am so lucky to be able to spend four years on a picture-perfect campus, where I don't have to worry about walking home safely at night, breathing clean air or dealing with people who don't have time to care about me. At Dartmouth it seems that sometimes my greatest fear is that my breadsticks will come with no ranch dressing or that the Weekend Update will come on Friday instead of Thursday. It took this past weekend for me to put things in perspective and appreciate how fortunate I am, eardrum and all.
P Says: I was crying when my roommate informed me that she was ditching me for her immediate relatives and would no longer be accompanying me to Harvard. But I dried those tears when my other roommate, K, said she'd like to go. It was great to be able to go out to dinner in a different city, to go shopping at Urban Outfitters with the rest of the Dartmouth community, and to see people who weren't wearing that shirt that was on backorder from J. Crew. But the novelty soon wore off. Let me just say that school spirit is lacking at Harvard. Big time. There is more social activity during exam week at Dartmouth than there is on a typical weekend at Harvard. When I asked the people I was staying with what they did for fun, the responses were A). "I don't go out." B) "What do you mean, fun?" or C). "I don't have time for this meaningless drivel. I'm going to Widener!" I don't mean to imply that people at Dartmouth don't care about academics, but I get the feeling that we are more willing to downplay the competitiveness if it means helping a friend. So by the time the football game was over, I realized what true hell was, and it was definitely not what I had left behind in Hanover.
So P and C returned safe and sound to Hanover on Saturday night and popped open that box of breadsticks from EBA's. And when we saw the ranch dressing we knew two things: Dartmouth is awesome and we really wanted more breadsticks.