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The Dartmouth
June 17, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

TTLG: Tell Our Story

Former Photo editor Caroline Kramer ’24 reflects on her class’s time at Dartmouth and calls on readers to tell the story of the Class of 2024.

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It creeps up on me every now and then.

Usually, it’s on the first sunny day of the spring term, the kind of weather that causes professors to hold class outside. Green2Go boxes sit on picnic blankets and frisbees fly across the Green as groups of friends return from a dip in the river. Everything about Dartmouth, at that moment, seems perfect.

And then I remember when it wasn’t. Flashbacks to freshman year, even three years later, stop me in my tracks. Any joy I feel from seeing Dartmouth at its best is infected by the fear and loneliness I felt when I first arrived on campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as quickly as it arrives, I push the thought out of my mind and keep moving forward.

Dartmouth’s fast-paced culture makes it difficult to do anything but look toward the future. Ten week terms leave little time to catch my breath. Every day brings about a new deadline, social event or commitment. 

So, when those memories creep up, I find myself shoving them down. I tell myself that if I barely have time to be present, I cannot risk getting so lost in the past that I fall behind. 

This, perhaps, is common sense: to live in the past keeps you from fully enjoying the present. However, as Commencement quickly approaches, the ’24s — the last class to have experienced the 2020-2021 academic year at Dartmouth — will soon leave campus. 

With every passing year, the memory of our freshman year slips a little further away. I felt this most strongly at the beginning of my sophomore year, when it seemed the College just wanted to sweep the events of the past year under the rug and return to normalcy as quickly as possible. My good friend Omala Snyder ’24 captured that feeling especially well in a piece she wrote our sophomore fall. I recall it when my friends from grades below me ask about my First Year Trip, or respond with shock when I joke about how I spent my first Homecoming alone in my dorm room with a College-provided glowstick. The tragedy of the ’24s’ first year — and the mistakes that Dartmouth made in that time — fade from our collective memory with every graduating class. 

All of this is to say: don’t let our story leave with us. I urge you, ’25s, ’26s, ’27s, faculty and staff alike to tell the story of the Class of 2024.

Serag Elagamy ’24 took this sentiment to heart. His senior thesis film, “When the Old Traditions Failed,” details our class’s uniquely difficult experience at Dartmouth and reminds us of the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, freshmen especially. You can watch it for yourself on June 4 at Loew Auditorium.

The articles published by this very paper, too, keep our experiences in the public record.

Tell the story of how the tight-knit Dartmouth community we were promised vanished upon our arrival. Learn about how making friends freshman fall felt impossible, when socializing meant the risk of being forced off campus. 

Tell the story of the 86 students who “disappeared” from campus that fall, having been asked to leave for violating pandemic-related restrictions — fueling panic and testing new friendships. Read the words of the freshmen who lived through the chaos firsthand.

Tell the story of Beau DuBray, Connor Tiffany and Elizabeth Reimer, the ’24s who died by suicide our freshman year. Do not let Dartmouth forget them. Honor their stories and the stories of all the other students we have lost since.

I applaud Dartmouth for the improvements it has made to mental health on campus in recent years, in large part thanks to the advocacy of Dartmouth Student Government. The Commitment to Care, announced this past fall — a plan for “supporting student mental health and well-being” on campus — is an enormous step in the right direction, one that could have changed the course of my freshman year. The College now offers free 24/7 teletherapy through Uwill, removing long-standing barriers to mental health care access on campus. Additionally, Dartmouth’s updated Time Away policy prioritizes students’ well-being, a welcome change from the version in place my freshman spring, when students did not have streamlined access to campus resources. 

By many accounts, mental health is now one of the College’s top priorities. It is crucial that it remains as such, which is only possible if we continue to remember how we got here.

I am immensely grateful for so many wonderful moments during my time at Dartmouth, a handful of which I discussed in a photo essay published this past winter. Because of Dartmouth, I’ve formed lifelong friendships, developed a passion for public service and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. In writing this reflection, I do not intend to dismiss my appreciation for any of those experiences. Two truths can exist at the same time: you can love this college and still hold it accountable. This is necessary to ensure that generations of students to come can love it just the same. 

I leave you with a quote from George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We must remember the experience of the ’24s so that future first-years can be welcomed not with fear and isolation, but warmth and community.

If you love Dartmouth, tell our story. 


Caroline Kramer

Caroline Kramer ‘24 is a Government major and Public Policy minor from Palo Alto, California. She has served as the Photo Editor since the spring of 2022 and previously wrote for the Mirror section.