Moderately Good Advice with Gardner and Kate

by Gardner Davis and Kate Taylor | 11/8/12 11:00pm

Dear Gardner and Kate,

If you could give a few pieces of advice to yourselves as freshmen, what would they be?Shelly Sixteen '16

Gardner: On a broad level, I would tell myself to worry less about everything, especially what other people think. Realize that Dartmouth is a place where many people derive their senses of self worth from things that don't matter at all. Moving on to specifics, get your distribs out of the way now. An upperclassman once told me, "Don't worry about distribs. Take classes that you are interested in, and they will take care of themselves." That statement is bullsh*t. My freshman year self could have made life so much easier for my current self by taking classes that counted for something other than a SOC or INT. It can and will happen to you.

Kate: While Gardner is raising the bar from moderately good to quite good this week, I'd like to add that I wish I understood what a small, strange place Dartmouth is at an earlier stage. By senior year, your web of hook-ups, nemeses, people you smile at but don't say hi to when walking to class and people you've Facebook stalked but never met will be painfully complex. From your freshman floormate to the kid in your Writing 5 class, you will continue to run into these people for the next four years. Simplify matters now by being nice and aggressively friendly. Then, remember this school is full of absurd people and stop caring how others react to your awkward attempts at pursuing friendship.

Dear Gardner and Kate,

It's getting too cold for most of the traditional Dartmouth Seven spots, and I'm looking for more of a challenge. Got any ideas? Adventurous Anna '14

Gardner: Some people do find the Dartmouth Seven to be overplayed, so I present to you the Winter Dartmouth Seven. If the Dartmouth Seven has a difficulty level five, the Winter Dartmouth Seven is level nine. Start with (1) that new conference room with the big window at the front of the Hanover Inn. Instead of the stacks, try out (2) a First-Floor Berry fishbowl "study" room. Other places to stay warm include (3) underneath the Fairchild pendulum, (4) your freshman dorm, (5) the president's house, (6) the leather couches in the back room at Canoe Club and (7) the FoCo balcony. I wish you the best of luck!

Kate: I've heard that when it comes to intimate moments, it doesn't matter where you are it's all about who you are with. So, I move we shift the focus of the Dartmouth Seven from location to personnel. See if you can check off (1) tripcest, (2) floorcest, (3 and 4) roommates, (5) person you will never look directly in the eye again, (6) someone who makes animal noises in bed and (7) a Mirror advice columnist. However, as a Sexpert, I realize that statistically, seven people is an incredibly high number for most Dartmouth students, so probably just try and find someone who respects and values you as a human being instead.

Dear Gardner and Kate,

What should I do for this absurdly long six-week break between Fall and Winter terms?Idle Ida '13

Gardner: Full disclosure on this: My ideal break from Dartmouth consists of me sitting at home with no more activity than reading and watching TV on Hulu. That being said, even I was overwhelmed by the idea of doing this for six weeks, so I will be going on an extended trip with friends. While you're probably a little late to the game, I would encourage you to do the same. You don't have to fly halfway around the world, but go somewhere. Visit your friends from Dartmouth and bum around their houses instead of yours just go somewhere.

Kate: The six-week break sounds like the perfect amount of time to visit all your high school friends on different schedules, raging at all of their colleges in preparation for three weeks of recreating high school parties. Spoiler alert: It is not. You are going to show up at your friends' schools during finals, which will lead to a smoldering resentment due to your insistence that they take you out instead of study. This resentment, combined with unresolved drama from high school, will finally boil over at the yearly Chrismukkah party you've had since that episode of "The OC" aired. While booting and crying at the same time is acceptable in frat bathrooms, your parents will respond less positively. By New Years, you will all hate each other with a passion only magnified when you hook up with either your or your best friend's high school boyfriend in an angry bout of nostalgia. Take my advice go anywhere but home for the six weeks.

Dear Gardner and Kate,

I recently started dating this girl that I really like, but I'm having trouble determining when and where PDA is appropriate on campus. Help me!Timid Terrence '15

Gardner: I almost wrote on this last year and came up with two hard and fast rules of PDA at Dartmouth: not in DDS establishments and not in the library. These seem to create appropriate barriers. However, I can no longer endorse them without being hypocritical, as I now find occasional instances in which it is appropriate to PD your A. Instead, Terrence, I will introduce you to one of my favorite phrases: haters gon' hate. No matter where you display your affection in public, there will be people that give you a hard time. These people are what I like to refer to as haters. The phrase "haters gon' hate" allows you to brush off the scorn of others and gives you a license to do pretty much whatever you want. Armed with this phrase, any time and place is appropriate for PDA.

Kate: I will excuse the occasional cuddling, especially in the winter. However, if I see you making out with your girlfriend anywhere, with the exception of me creepily peeking in your bedroom window, I will judge you so much. And then I will hate you.

Dear Kate,

Thank you so much for your endorsement in last week's column. I believe this, over all other things especially those annoying kids who harassed you as you walked through Collis and knocked on your door when you were hungover Saturday morning lifted me to victory. Your ambassador appointment should be arriving soon. Barack

Kate: Thanks, Barack. This really means a lot, especially as I am currently unemployed next year! If possible, I would prefer a western European nation and not one that requires vaccines.

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