Being accepted to Dartmouth brought tears to my eyes. I remember staring at my acceptance later hours after the initial shock and thinking, “How could I, a kid with a stutter, be accepted to an institution that taught the likes of Robert Frost, Daniel Webster and Mindy Kaling?” The inspirational shadow of this school looms as a reminder that gratitude should course through me all the time. At a place where hundreds of thousands of dollars dangle in front of us, and students doing cancer research or learning how to make surfboards out of mushrooms stand by my side, thriving, and doing it with gratitude, is an obligation.
But sometimes gratitude fades. Your daily routine of meditation turns into a hindrance. When your buddy asks you how often you meditate, you respond, “Eh, whenever I can.” You used to say “every day.” You sit in the sauna after that, and your sweat fuels a sinking, diving, turning, roaring, howling strand that creeps in and sinks into your bones. You constantly think about lists of things to do in your head. You try to write most of them down. You miss a few, and right when you think you’ve checked off every box on the list, they reappear, poised, with a glimmer of smugness.
Did you see that friend you asked to grab lunch with but never did? Did you go to that party for that friend you’ve barely seen in a year, who invited you when you bumped into each other at the library? Did you send that email to that woman who offered to sit down with you to talk about your career? These items ring in your skull, rattling around voraciously, ramping up and up and up, like a star destined to trigger a supernova detonation. The Department of Energy states that a star explodes every 10 seconds. 10. seconds.
Dartmouth is a hard place.
Dartmouth is a hard place.
I once read that the Arabic word for human, “insan,” is derived from the word “forgetful.” We forget how hard Dartmouth is in our pursuit of seizing every opportunity thrust upon us and every expectation placed on our weary shoulders. We forget that filling our Google Calendars and minds with 10 lunches in a single week is an impossibility. And in forgetting that, we forget how lucky we are to experience a life that could fill 50 lifetimes — yet can’t.
This week, Mirror explores other things we often forget in the daily chaos of Dartmouth. One writer speaks to Dartmouth student veterans about their experiences and transitions to Dartmouth, while another writer investigates the reactions of students to the College’s responses to the Israel-Gaza war. Another writer spotlights the Domestic Study Programs, and one more writer highlights the Sexual Awareness and Assault Prevent program. One article investigates students and the use of the matchmaking algorithm Marriage Pact, and another reflects on the changing nature of friendships.
As we approach Winter Carnival this weekend, we at Mirror hope you also find the time to forget some of your responsibilities and enjoy the festivities — at least for a little while.