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When we think of blueprints, a lot of things come to mind: planning, designing, rearranging. We use blueprints and their corresponding process of design thinking to construct the soundest building, to create the best D-Plan and even to solve our problem sets. As students, we like having steps to follow in order to ultimately be successful. Having things planned out provides us with a sense of reassurance, with the comfort of knowing that it will all make sense in the end. But sometimes, we hit a block in the road, and things don’t go exactly as planned. Even so, things have a funny way of working out.
Think about a recent conversation you had that was particularly meaningful. Maybe it made you reevaluate your own perspectives or reflect on your personal values. Maybe it was at 1 a.m. with your roommates over Domino’s buffalo wings, or with a mentor or with a friend from home. Mine was with an 8-year-old on a Caribbean cruise. Said 8-year-old was passing my friends and I when he suddenly stopped us and asked suspiciously, “Hey. What do you guys do at night time?”
Going to college is scary. Being in college is scary. I combat this fear with planning. On the drive from Alexandria, VA to Hanover, I opened the Notes app on my phone and made a list of goals that would allow me to become the version of myself that would thrive at Dartmouth. I’ve stuck to some of them. Some didn’t work out because I didn’t understand then what it was really like being here. Planning allows me to feel like I have a handle on the future, but I’ve accepted that I have to revise my expectations when life happens.
What's your blueprint for success?
A few days ago, my friend texted me with horrifying news: on Saturday afternoon at the end of week one, Sanborn Library was full. Armchairs piled with jackets, laptops crammed on tables, every-alcove-occupied kind of full.
The Dartmouth bubble is a universally acknowledged reality on this campus. Living in rural New Hampshire while also attending a school that takes up so much of our free time with academics and extracurriculars severely inhibits our access to news about the outside world and, perhaps more importantly, our willingness to care about that news. And at a school where so many students come from the highest socioeconomic strata, the most concerning part of this reality is that most of us have lived in a bubble for the span of our entire lives.
Being at Dartmouth can be all-consuming, as we worry about our own responsiblities and futures. Even walking into Hanover doesn’t really bring a lot of variety; it’s a small, wealthy town with many of its buildings owned by Dartmouth. But looking at the Upper Valley in its entirety pops our bubble and forces us to examine the community we’re in. Families right around us struggle every day, and the Upper Valley Haven has made it its mission to help.
What are the “keys to life”? If you are a fan of Will Smith, you may have come across his inspirational 2005 Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards speech in the past. He shared with his young audience, “The keys to life are running and reading.” Why? If you want to hear his insightful (and comedic) explanation, look it up.
In the aftermath of Dartmouth’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS) lawsuit scandal, students have expressed both anger and disappointment regarding the administration’s handling of this case. Others have expressed confusion as to what the administration is actually doing to address sexual misconduct on campus. Despite being on campus throughout the national press coverage of the sexual misconduct allegations, Blake McGill ’22 felt disconnected from the situation.
The summer after my senior year of high school was one of the most confusing periods of time in my life. A spirit of change lingered in the air: The calm before the storm. Mundane activities, like grabbing coffee with friends in town, suddenly increased in significance. As friends left home for colleges across the country, the strange thought that nothing would ever be the same replayed in my mind. Perhaps I was being a bit melodramatic, but nonetheless, the nervousness and excitement associated with leaving for college were palpable.
“Where are you from?”
Everyone loves maple syrup, right? That delicious, teeth-rotting liquid amber you can use to drench pancakes, waffles and (controversially) bacon in an attempt to make your heart stop faster? New Hampshire –– and more famously, Vermont –– is known for the production of maple syrup. Starch stored in sugar maple trees during winter months is converted back into liquid sugar as spring approaches. Ground water plus sugar equals sap, which is then “tapped” by inserting a spigot into the trunk of the tree and drained into buckets. Clear sap is then boiled at extremely high temperatures, giving the final product its signature color and viscosity. The process of production itself seems pretty simple. I wouldn’t quote me on that, though, because I’ve never done it. But a select few at Dartmouth have.
When we think of admissions, especially at this time of year, we usually think of the college application process — and of all the rejections and acceptances that come along with it. Besides being defined as the process of gaining entrance into an organization, however, an admission can also be an admission of truth, or even an admission of guilt.
Regular decision results for the Dartmouth Class of 2023 come out tomorrow, and they’ll be arriving in the wake of a recently uncovered college admissions scandal that has shaken the nation. The multimillion-dollar scandal includes coaches and administrators at elite schools across the nation. Even celebrities like actresses Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman have been publicly criticized for their involvement. As colleges and universities, including fellow Ivy League member Yale University, scramble to review applicants, students and alumni potentially involved in the scandal, conversations about the controversy and its implications on the greater college admissions process are ubiquitous across social media platforms.
Most students would agree that they chose Dartmouth for its tight-knit community and its family feel. I’m not just assuming a general consensus here; I went back and looked up the most common responses to why people selected Dartmouth over schools like Duke or Johns Hopkins on our Class of 2019 Facebook group page. Among campus legend DJ Chris Hogan ’19’s excited posts to assemble a “Mixcloud playlist” for our class (thank you, Chris, for being an example of unparalleled friendliness and enthusiasm), I found a myriad of posts endorsing Dartmouth’s “inviting community where you can feel at home,” as a place where people “care about each other.”
Despite the best efforts of the Dartmouth bubble, news permeates every second and area of our lives. Push notifications from Twitter, Instagram and your news app of choice in the bucket of pure content that gets dumped over our heads in the morning. Amidst all this information, it is more difficult than ever to discern fact from fiction. This week’s theme of admissions examines the concept of truth as an admission of truth. English and creative writing professor Jeff Sharlet answered some questions about the current state of journalism, truth-telling and his personal experience entering into and thriving in the world of writing.
By the tail end of twelfth grade, seniors begin to exhibit the typical symptoms of senioritis: slacking off, showing up late to school, wearing sweatpants to class and realizing it might be time to actually talk to that crush they’ve been too scared to face. But behind the fact that classes are starting to wind down and grades have begun to matter less lies the harrowing reality that college admissions decisions are just around the corner. For some, thinking about the college decision notification date makes them want to puke. Others, however, incessantly fantasize about the picture-perfect moment in which they open the letter and get greeted by an immediate, all caps, “CONGRATULATIONS!” and proceed to be embraced by family and friends who pop out of nowhere and shower them with pre-bought college gear and bubbly champagne. And when the day comes, some brave souls even take the daring step of recording themselves opening their decisions.
It’s the last week of March, and you know what that means. High school seniors across the globe are eagerly awaiting notifications from their dream schools, which, for many, include an institution or two in the Ivy League. As teenagers everywhere repeatedly refresh their inboxes this Thursday, they will inevitably receive the fateful message determining their futures for the next few years: the unparalleled excitement of a “Congratulations!” or the let-down of a “We regret to inform you…” paired with an unfulfilling statement about “an increasingly competitive applicant pool.”