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The Dartmouth
May 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Editor's Note

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For most of my college career, Dartmouth and home represented two ends of one spectrum.

The summer after graduating high school, it seemed like my childhood home in Nebraska and I had met our expiration date. This probably comes as no surprise, and I don’t intend it to be — any soon-to-be college kid will tell you the same thing.

But what did surprise me was that I felt like I was missing something when I returned to Dartmouth for my sophomore year. But what could I possibly be lacking? During my first three terms on campus, I had done all the stereotypical “freshman year” things, and then some. I snuck out on the fire escape of Wheeler to hang out with friends, tried Jägermeister for the first time (sorry mom), had a short stint as a coxswain on the rowing team and climbed the tallest mountain in Morocco.

But even writing that sentence, I realize that I’m only just telling you the highlights. As most freshmen know, you will end up spending more time on 4FB than you would like. But I also enjoyed my classes, so that wasn’t the missing piece either.

During spring of my sophomore year, this feeling was still with me. One evening, when I had a particularly long night that stretched into the early morning, I remember thinking about home. It didn’t help that I was sitting at my dorm desk, confronted with the many photos of Nebraska that covered my wall.

I thought about climbing on top of the church that I went to growing up with two of my friends just a week before starting college. I recalled sitting out at Omaha Eppley airfield, and watching the planes go by to pass the time. Or, how my best friend would shake a magic eight ball in order to make any hard decision he had. I could smell the kabob and curry of the take-out place I worked at and reminisced how it felt to pass out after sprinting the last half mile of my cross-country race. These weren’t just the highlights; I could go on and on. This was my life.

I remember thinking in that moment that Omaha was the place where the wild things were. A fun, fantastical land that I could visit, but I could no longer stay. On the other end of the spectrum was Dartmouth, which always had its moments, but ultimately paled in comparison.

I was left to grapple with whether this was a limitation of the place, or one that I had imposed on myself. After all this time, I still don’t know if there’s a straight answer. But it did wake me up to the fact that I should try. Try to take myself a little less seriously, try to reach that feeling I had back home, try to say yes to the things that I used to.

And I don’t want to jinx it, but the start to this term has made Hanover feel more like home. The spectrum is slowly becoming a dot.

This week at Mirror, our writers explore a few staples of Dartmouth — Occom Pond, as well as alpine and backcountry skiing — and reckon with some shortcomings, including food waste and drinking culture. Finally, one writer touches base with seniors who are choosing to take a gap year following graduation.

Sadly, this is my first and last editor’s note of the term, as I’m transitioning to a new role as associate executive editor for a quarter. But if I have one thing to impart on you for this winter, it’s that you should go to where the wild things are.

See you in the spring, Mirror.