The Bucket List
Doing Dartmouth in an Hour or Less
The youngest among us might not remember the list that used to go under every freshman's door "101 Things to Do Before You Graduate Dartmouth." It was printed with a picture of Baker Tower and the Cat in the Hat on the background and listed the top, supposedly "unmissable" experiences the College had to offer. People took this list seriously. They'd hang them over their beds and cross out items they had completed. I'm glad they got rid of these lists, mainly because they privileged one type of Dartmouth experience, but also because many of the items were just dumb.
On a recent search for some last minute inspiration, I typed "100 Things to Do Before You Graduate Dartmouth" into Google. The top result was a copy of this old list on a digital version of the "S'hmen Guide." As I perused the list, I thought how few of them would even be interesting to try, much less write about.
"These are child's play," I thought haughtily. But I've always been taught not to criticize without legitimate support for my criticism. And then inspiration struck. How many of them could I actually do in an hour? I was sitting in KAF with moderately-good-advice-giver Kate, and so we started the clock at 9:15 p.m.
We sprinted up to Jones Media Center to complete item 30: "Rent a movie from Jones Media Center." Admittedly, I had never done this before. With the help of the eager student working the front desk (honestly, I had no idea exactly what people did in that job) I scrolled through Jones' recent acquisitions until a title caught my eye: "Harlem Nights", the 1989 film starring Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, tale of corrupt police, mob bosses and seedy nightclubs.
9:21 p.m. Onward to attempt #82: "Play pool in Collis or Thayer." I rush to the basement of Collis to knock some balls around, but damn you Collis construction. Fuel and whatever is in the back area of basement Collis, where I had vaguely assumed the pool tables were, is closed. Time to move to Boloco before it closes at 10 so I can take a crack at #12: "Eat a Boloco-inspired burrito." Really?
When I arrive at the basement restaurant (Kate has since departed for a Molly's margarita date) it's practically empty. The liberally tattooed and pierced man at the register welcomes me back for spring term, and I order a mini "Classic Mexican" with white meat chicken. I've already eaten a generous serving of Collis pasta for dinner and am not at all hungry for the burrito, but if Lena Dunham has taught me anything, it's that sometimes art requires bodily sacrifice.
Burrito in hand, at 9:31 p.m. I forge onward to the Hop, where I will touch Warner Bentley's nose for good luck (#8). I remember being told during my campus tour that this is something Dartmouth students do, but I have never seen anyone actually do it nor touched it myself. It's to my surprise that as I approach Bentley's bronze bust I see a student rub it on his way out of the Hop. My own rub is rather anticlimactic and slimy, although I'm not sure whether to attribute this to the bust or the burrito juice on my fingers. I have a job interview this week, and time will tell if Bentley actually brings me any luck.
It's now 9:38 p.m., and I begin the most arduous leg of the challenge as I head all the way to #23 "stargaze on the golf course." Because I only have until 10:15 p.m., I combine this with #71 "go running on the golf course," going at a light jog with my backpack bouncing and not stopping until I have run a little ways onto the course. It's a beautifully clear night, and Orion seems to be standing guard over me from his post in the sky. The stargazing is a little hurried for my liking, but it's 9:54 and I've got to get back to campus and #26 "study or (fall asleep) in Baker Tower."
I begin the trek toward the library and by the time I reach the Tower Room I'm sweating and I smell like a burrito. The room is practically deserted and nearly dark, except for the few lone desk lamps where a handful of students are already delving into their 13S coursework. I select an armchair facing a window overlooking the green, perfect for the fall asleep option in #26. It's 10:05. I put my feet up, close my eyes and doze for ten minutes. Sometimes being so tired you could fall asleep any time anywhere comes in handy.
When I open my eyes at the buzzing of my phone alarm, it's 10:15 p.m., and I've completed six of the 101 Things to do before you graduate Dartmouth in one hour. If I count #55 "Major in something you LOVE" and #47 "study/work/volunteer abroad" then I'm technically at eight, thanks to a history major and Foreign Study Program.
At my rate, you could complete this list in 12.625 hours. Boom.