I know, I know. Pretty much everything Ihave to say is negative. I whine a lot, and I bad-mouth everything I possibly can about the College, and the administration in particular. But I am actually a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. No, really. I'm actually very nice and friendly. We should hang out sometime. So today, in this special Homecoming edition of The Dartmouth, I want to write about something cheery. Something that alums can read and say "Yay for Dartmouth!" I'm going to talk about the truly awesome things at this school, or at least what I see them as after a year and a term.
Highest on my list has to be the chicken breast special at Food Court. I swear by everything holy that if I had one meal I would be forced to eat (not like Hop fries or hashbrowns or anything) for the rest of my life, it would be the double chicken breast meal with extra gravy. It towers above any other Dartmouth Dining Services food. Monday and Wednesday mornings I get through class solely because I know that this big clump of lard is waiting for me at Thayer. Extra gravy? "Can I have some extra fat on my fat?" If you haven't had it yet, you must. It is essential.
That's about the only thing I can talk about without sounding like a complete dork, so I guess that's it. Try the chicken damnit!
But it's the little things like that, y'know? Like having a smoke and relaxing on the front stoop of your dorm and talking to people as they walk by. Or walking across campus and having a moose run right in front of you no more than five yards away. Or waking up hung over on Sunday at noon and stumbling to Thayer with the rest of campus. Or running from Safety and Security (especially after you do a hit and run on one of their vans). Or jumping off the rope swing, and getting a massive rope burn on your leg, and not caring because you're having so much fun.
Regardless of what this school does to hold us down -- whether or not the library closes too early, or food should be cheaper, or students should not have to live in fear of green vans -- this place is still pretty freakin' cool. When I'm an alum and I think back on school (what I remember of it) I know I won't care about Safety and Security, or classes, or my Undergraduate Advisor, or my GPA, or the Office of Residential Life, or whether Tucker Rossiter should kiss the pig (who's with me!?). I'll remember the little things, like the light I broke in the basement of Brown. Or the barbecues with my friends from the dorm. Or the time I played whiffle ball on Mass Row at sunrise (and, incidentally, got bothered by Safety and Security, as if the last place I should be at sunrise on a Tuesday morning was playing whiffle ball on Mass Row and making lots of noise. Idiots.)
But I've deliberately avoided talking about drinking thus far because it's kind of a unique aspect of Dartmouth. The people who choose not to go out to parties can experience Dartmouth just as much (and perhaps more so) than those who do, but fraternities and parties are an awesome part of things as well. Probably the best. Not for the drinking so much (because you can drink anywhere, although at parties it tends to be more fun), but for the sense of freedom. For the feeling that when you go into a party at a Greek house or anywhere, you and thousands of others like you are agreeing to stop stressing and just live life. The one place where I think many people at Dartmouth feel the most independent from the administration and the most grown up is in an environment of entirely one's peers where everyone is just enjoying life. A symposium if you will (thank you Lia Schwartz), where we youngsters learn to be adults, whether we drink or not. It's no surprise that so many alums come back at Homecoming. It's not to get sloshed...or not exclusively. They can do that anywhere. I also doubt that they come back and check out their old classrooms or study lounges. They come back to visit the houses where they became the individuals that they are. The places where they grew up, and the places where they have the memories that will last far longer than what they learned in Chem 5 or Orgo. Or maybe it is just to get sloshed, but I prefer the more romantic view.
So anyway, welcome back all you alums. Even though the place may look a little different and the school may be going in different directions on the grand scale than when you were here, hopefully you will find that the little things are just as you left them.