What Are Dartmouth Students Scared Of?

by Katherine Cline | 10/31/18 2:15am

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by Mia Zhang Nacke / The Dartmouth

What scares college students? Honestly, it’s hard to say. I’m scared by a lot. So I turned to some of my braver friends for an indication of what makes Dartmouth students quake in their boots — aside from the negative 17 degree weather. Here’s what we came up with:

Waking up in class when the prof is looking at you:

This is not a personal fear of mine. At the same time, I feel like this is the same sensation as lip-synching along to whatever T-Swift song you’re bumping in your headphones only to realize that not only can other people hear “Shake it Off,” but they’re staring at you while you recreate the choreography. I have not fallen asleep in class. I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not I’ve done the latter in Sanborn and proceeded to play it off like I was stretching. (Side note: that goes hand in hand with my very strong fear of farting in Sanborn.)

The Class of 1953 Commons:

Yes, Foco scares me. It’s loud and there are way too many options. The try-hard aspect of “faux-Hogwarts dark side” is juxtaposed against the hospital-cafeteria style of “light side.” I have not gone upstairs since freshman fall. I don’t intend to change that. One time I tried a hardboiled egg from the salad station … it was frozen. Like, it crunched when I skewered it with my spoon that had 100 percent been sneezed on by someone with the plague. (Yes, a spoon, all the forks were gone.) This is why I’m scared of Foco. It’s a lawless place. 

Peaking in high school:

I don’t know about you, but I seriously had it together in high school. Eight-hour school days, extracurriculars, swimming practice, elective courses and volunteering were all present in a typical week. I now go to approximately two hours of classes a day and am filled with utter dread when threatened with an x-hour. Let me clarify. Thirteen-year-old me would run circles around me now. So, in retrospect, I guess truly peaked in eight grade. Go figure. In college, people are triple majoring with a research job and have written a book or started a company or something ridiculous like that. I’m not going to say this idea gives me nightmares — more like an existential crisis every once in a while. 

Seeing someone you know from high school:

This, I feel, is a progression of my fear of peaking in high school. I’m sure that I was super cool in high school. I don’t particularly want to think about it. I’m only two years out and it’s not long enough for me to make self-deprecating jokes just yet — give me another year. But either way, I was definitely put together in high school. I have no particular desire to shock someone who knew me before college — when I actually put time into constructing an outfit — with the sweatpants-clad hobgoblin that I’ve become. Not to mention I think I once wore neon yellow, and I’d prefer not to make eye contact with anyone who witnessed that. 

A four class term: 

Taking four classes in a term is frightening simply because I know people who have done it. Or rather, I knew them before they became the shells of their former selves. When I meet someone taking an extra class, they always tell me about it like it’s an Iron Man some over-active significant other had bamboozled them into. Alternatively, the delivery of this news is followed up by hysterical laughter indicative of their inevitable emotional breakdown. The red flag here is that this impending meltdown was evident during a conversation I had with someone during week one. Also, on a personal note, I’m taking four classes next term. 

Negative DBA:

This is very frightening for some people. Not me; I have accepted my fate. I have become desensitized to the pity stares I receive when I use DBA instead of a meal swipe in front of a friend. I went on “the 7” this term instead of “the 5” in the hopes it would help curb my King Arthur Flour addiction. It did not. Instead I just sip my latte and try not to make eye contact with a friend who has pronounced herself my “DBA Daddy.” I don’t want to talk about it. 

There are many more spooky things that I am afraid of. One of them is turning in an article late to my wonderful editors. Seeing as it is 49 minutes before my deadline as I write this, I think it qualifies as the most fear-inducing of them all. 

Truly, college is a spooky place, but if it makes you feel better, everyone else is spooked too. Here are some of the honorable mentions that are too spook-tacular not to include:

Realizing your D-plan keeps you on campus for next winter

Drowning (this one came from a varsity swimmer)

Catching the freshman plague

Grade deflation

Medians below an 80

Fast sloths (can you imagine a sloth running at you, but fast?)

Ordering from Novack 

People who bite into ice cream with their teeth (seriously, stop it, you’re scaring everyone) 

Biology 12 (from someone currently in Bio 12)

Making phone calls

Office hours 

Small children

Large children