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The Dartmouth
June 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Eccentric Anarchy

Two things before you begin reading: Do not prepare yourself for humor (sadly, I do not share the talents of Microsoft Word-based comedians), and this column will likely be confounding or dare I say cynical (?). But you will like it. Unless you don't, which is also great. Great! Let's begin.

I often operate my life under Sir Winston Churchill's famous quotation, "Anarchy is the worst form of governance, besides all the others." This statement is important in understanding my approach to Dartmouth.

I mention anarchy because, to me, it means self-reliance. College does a darn good job of presenting challenges that force us to hone our sense of independence. You have to demonstrate an individual opinion while serving professors who frequently care foremost about what they want you to say, not what you want to say. You meet the best friends of your life, but rarely see them because of the D-plan and the knowledge that come D-day (June 10) you won't be able to rely on them in an unhealthy manner anymore. Cue Phil Salinger. For those involved in The Dartmouth, you have to learn how to report without bias on a small college community, about which you have many opinions. You want to be unique, while being pressured into a binary definition of Greek or non-Greek. College seems to have a normalizing effect, and yet these are the four years of our lives where we want to do exactly, and only, what we want to do.

Dartmouth instills this sense of self-reliance in a unique and zealous way. It's something about the location, I think. The "Dartmouth Bubble" concept is clich for good reason. It takes a certain independent high school student, with a healthy dose of craziness, to choose to spend four years of his or her life landlocked hours from the nearest city. This College fosters individuality through all of its eccentric components: from our unbelievably cold winters to obsessions over everything from Jack Stinson to the Aires. On Dartmouth Outing Club Trips, I have observed incoming innocent freshmen become purveyors of our rare devotion to intellectualism, its opposite and everything in between. And I love watching this process; it infuses my blood with green.

When I refer to my anarchic tendencies, I'm also alluding to my distaste for oppressive organizations. For instance, I have grown weary of entering a divided alumni body that needlessly debates the merits of an already excellent, dynamic College. While an undergraduate, I was often frustrated by the lack of transparency in many top-level administrative decisions. The Dartmouth played an integral role in relieving my tensions, because for me, The D is actually the opposite of an oppressive organization -- profound, I know, but many would disagree. The D has its problems, and future editors will continue laboring to report campus news more completely and include even more diverse opinions. But at the end of the day, it is the only major organization not connected to the College that provides an independent check on this institution. (And no, The Dartmouth Review does not do that. Sorry.) With an administration that shuns opinions straying from the "party line" and a virulent minority of alumni who portray Dartmouth falsely, an independent newspaper is rather important. As graduates from the College, we must make every effort to remain educated about the College in order to cast informed votes.

After four years living with the spirit of independence and anarchy, I'm going to miss the ardent quirkiness of my College. It's why I have not been able to turn off Arcade Fire's apocalyptic tunes for the past few weeks. (That sentence was too trendy for me.) It's why I get emotional walking through the impoverished architectural "feat" that is Berry Library -- because its offensive take on post-modernism has become endearing.

Fortunately, I think the best part of the Dartmouth experience is that it doesn't have to end after Sunday. I get to take my heightened sense of self-reliance and grasp onto other Dartmouth graduates, while maybe (just maybe) meeting interesting non-Dartmouthians. It's the sense of pride I take in leaving here with a passion for learning, being confused, experiencing, meeting and above all, living. It's a nice thought.

Perhaps this concluding thought illustrates to those of you who didn't catch it yet: the only cynical part of this column is that I'm not really an anarchist.