Ever since the College announced its reopening plan for the 2020-21 academic year, it feels like we’ve been sent into a tailspin. The emails from the Office of Institutional Research are still languishing in our inboxes, as we frantically attempt to draw a full picture of the undergraduate student body: Who will be on campus in the fall, winter and spring? What will life look like on the “Hanover Plain”? How will our D-Plans morph around our priority terms?
The ground seems to be shifting under our feet, yet we have no recourse against the forces that are responsible. But still, plans have to be made. Student organizations are busy planning a slate of virtual activities. D-Plans have to be reworked and futures re-conceptualized. We are all grappling with our own stubborn hopes, dashed expectations and new realities.
In this issue, we ask the Dartmouth community to go back to the future. But in a time when no one is quite certain what the future holds, how do we properly answer this question? Will we ever return to a future that feels familiar? Or do we learn to embrace one that we cannot plan for? While these speculations may not have concrete conclusions, we hope that listening to others’ stories will at least provide comfort that we are not alone in our confusion.