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The Dartmouth
June 17, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Credit Where Credit is Due

My first year at this school I anxiously attended graduation and said good-bye to a few good friends, but knew very well that life would go on without the Class of 1995. Last year, I missed graduation, but felt a more significant sense of loss than the year before if only because I had grown to respect and admire many members of the Class of 1996.

This year I am truly schizophrenic. On the one hand, I want to sit down and fill out endless cards and blitzes to all of the people who have enriched my life at this institution since I came to visit it as a prospective student. On the other, I want graduation to come in fifteen minutes so I will no longer have to look at the faces of people who have done nothing but criticize me and exclude me since they gained the ability and/or position to do so.

Extreme emotions I admit, but such has always been the nature of my life. However, I am willing to admit that people are not so black and white and I am sure that after the Class of 1997 is gone I will be overcome by nostalgia and I will long not only for those who have given me encouragement but also for my detractors, especially those whose criticism arose as a result of a personal altercation or misunderstanding. I wish that I could go back in time and "make things right" with those people just as I wish I could go back and hold onto or hang out more with those people I first mentioned.

It is human nature perhaps to want for things to be as you planned them or imagined them. I have yet to meet someone who's attitude towards life is "whatever I plan, I hope it goes wrong." I am sure that we were all very happy to get into Dartmouth, for instance, but I can guarantee that some of us were greatly more disgruntled than others. Surely some of us wanted to go to Harvard or Stanford but didn't get in, or got wait-listed and decided not to deal with the hassle, just as others of us came to Dartmouth with great expectations but have experienced great disappointments.

When something doesn't go as you wished it would, you become disappointed. That in and of itself is a more simple mathematical formula than 2+2 = 4. When you are disappointed you question whether or not the expectations you had were appropriate. This is a very legitimate question as many times those things which we grow disappointed with are largely out of our control. Much of getting into Dartmouth was you work hard and you submit your application, but what happens after that has nothing to do with you. We all know people that "should have" gotten into Dartmouth but didn't, just as I am sure all of us could name individuals who we thought would get into prestigious senior societies, but were passed over, such is the nature of things.

The term "merit" is as arbitrary as the terms "good" and "bad." For me to sit here and argue for instance that the people who I love and will miss greatly in the '97 class are "good" people and the ones who I would rather not have to see are "bad" people is ludicrous. Every individual is complex and multi-faceted and it is wrong, I think, to pass judgment on anyone using such extreme and definitive terms.

Similarly it is difficult to gauge who is "deserving" of recognition and why. There are individuals who I see working very hard everyday for various causes or political agendas, whose work is immediately dismissed as a product of arrogance or self-interest. Who cares if people are egocentric or self-absorbed if they can and do work for some ends? Does it even matter if these people take more credit than you think they should? I think not. It is after all unimportant who gets recognition in the here and now for work which betters this college or this world. The "betterment" of our condition is what we should focus on and not our problems with the individual who is pushing for the effort and/or who is taking credit for it, or so I feel.

Clearly I am not advocating that you must like all people at all times because it is unfair to judge others. If that were my thesis I would not have spent so much time delineating exactly what my feelings are towards some of the members of the Class of 1997. I am merely arguing as plainly as I know how that sometimes "deserving people" go unrecognized. Just as I do not want to sit down and write a blitz to all the members of the graduating class that I will dearly miss for fear of leaving some "deserving person" out, I think it is only fair to remark that every student organization, sports team, senior society, etc. leaves "deserving people" out of their sphere. Whether this is purposeful and deliberate or coincidental as well as accidental I cannot and will not say, but rest assured if you feel as if you are one of the "deserving people" who has been left out, that you are not alone.