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Like many, I was often frustrated during my senior year of high school by the swirling mystery encapsulating my college admissions fate. Would Dartmouth prefer if I highlighted my volunteer hours, or should I instead save my precious humble-bragging essay space to discuss some vague, appealing concept like character? I hated how much the college admissions process reduced my passions to a cold, calculated maximization problem, wherein my only constraints were sleep hours and maintaining some level of humanity. Even worse was the Lovecraftian, existential horror of it all: No matter how much effort I managed, my fate was equivalent to that of a Bingo ball bouncing around in the cage — that is, totally, unconscionably random. College admissions, no matter how hard one could try to game the system, had all the agency of a blinded swing at the pinata.
Here are some fun facts recapping week two so far: Campus was plagued by negative degree weather (-2 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact); the first snow of the term has fallen, followed by the annual midnight snowball fight; and we are pushing around 500 active COVID-19 cases on campus. In fact, this issue was edited remotely as most of us are either in COVID-19 isolation or awaiting a positive test result. And yet, campus feels eerily normal. The snowy landscape and bustle of students in warm layers look and feel familiar, although face masks peep through thick scarves and remind us that we are in the midst of a pandemic. On top of the usual winter-time stresses, like frostbite, seasonal depression and losing feeling in your extremities, we are also worried about contracting an airborne illness which seems to be growing faster than the line at the Hop during dinner time.
Now that we have officially begun 22W here at Dartmouth, inaugurated by the traditional school-wide snowball last Friday night, I think back to my first winter here in the still North. At that point, I had been living in Puerto Rico for almost five years, so I was very nervous about how I would adjust to the snow, ice and freezing wind. For the seniors who still remember, 19W was especially cold, and the temperature seemed to be hovering perpetually in the negatives.
As my friend Lexi Francis ’25 and I brave the cold, our clunky boots slosh against the snow with our puffers gliding against one another. We almost stop in our tracks when we see how a fellow Dartmouth student confronts the elements. Not only are they wearing shorts in the freezing cold, but they are wearing flip flops. Yes, flip flops. The quintessential summer footwear. I thought I would not see these until my return to Los Angeles in the spring. But lo and behold, they are making an appearance here in Hanover. Francis and I were shocked, but respect swelled within us for this brave soul defying winter expectations.
For better or for worse, 22W is here, bringing along with it a Week One of snow, black ice and single-digit temps. Already, for ’25s in particular, the start of the term has been anything but normal, as we face a slate of new COVID-19 restrictions and a sharp transition into winter weather. The ’25s, this year’s new kids on the block, have a unique perspective on the transition from fall to winter, as for the first time, they swap sneakers for snow boots and adjust to a brand new way of living at Dartmouth.
After six weeks of winterim, the holiday season has come to an end, and Dartmouth students find themselves at the beginning of a new year and a new term. Summer has its sunshine, fall has its foliage and the infamous Hanover winter has its Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It was going to be a normal Christmas. My family had plans to spend the holiday in New Hampshire with extended family, which — despite the surge of the omicron variant across the country — seemed reasonable enough with the right precautions. Snow resting delicately on the trees, frozen ponds ripe for skating, picturesque mountains begging for skiers to carve down their slopes — Christmas in New Hampshire is beautiful. I couldn’t wait.
Since the advent of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, colleges across the country have grappled with pulling their campuses to the 21st-century accessibility standards. Dartmouth, whose Georgian architecture has been seemingly preserved since the arrival of Robert Frost himself, was no exception. From creaky buildings with endless stairs to the harsh winter environment, the campus has provided numerous challenges to the roughly 10% of students who have disabilities, according to Secretary of Access Dartmouth Isaac Feldman ’23.
There really is something about the anticlimactic dropping of a 12 foot, nearly 12,000 pound ball that puts you in the mood for reflection. And, boy, do we have a lot of content to reflect on. As cheesy and Hallmark card-like as it sounds, 2021 was a year of embracement — a year that reminded us why being apart from our loved ones in 2020 was so difficult, a year that showed us how much we have to lose. Yet once again, we find ourselves entering a new year with more questions than answers.
My father’s high school best friend, my dad told me, hated his job in corporate law. The long hours sucked and his friend didn’t find the work meaningful, and yet after 20 years in the practice, he still hadn’t quit. Every time my dad talked to his best friend, it sounded like he was finally ready to leave and do something he was passionate about, but that day never came. Because, while his job was tiresome and meaningless, its financial benefits were too tantalizing to let go of. The nice house, leisurely vacations, and sense of “just being comfortable” had taken on a life of their own, and my dad’s friend told him that he couldn’t risk those, even for the chance of finally doing something he loved.
Favorite part of Winterim?
Before we begin, we should explain our respective backgrounds. The two of us share some commonalities — we both live in the Mid Fayerweather dorm and call southwestern Connecticut home. Yet, there is one shocking, irreconcilable difference between us — while Ally has budgeted well this term, with about 100 DBA left, Connor has negative 42.57.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not go easy on Dartmouth’s late-night food scene. The popular Collis Cafe late-night was shuttered in March 2020 and never returned, leaving students with only the Courtyard Cafe and Novack Cafe as meal options after the dinner meal period ends. But these locations close earlier and are often a further walk for students, creating a vacuum in the world of Dartmouth late-night dining.
Well, you know what they say — all’s well that ends well. But as we grapple with cramming for finals, packing for winterim and resisting the constant urge to belt the heart wrenching lyrics of every song on Taylor Swift’s re-recorded Red album, maybe ‘well’ is setting our expectations a little too high. Might we suggest a far more achievable motto: all’s well that ends. And what a peculiar ending it is. It almost feels too calm — no crazy end-of-term COVID-19 outbreak, no pandemic sending us packing for the foreseeable future and, perhaps strangest of all, no mid-November snowstorms to serve as a harbinger for the winter term ahead (but we don’t want to jinx it — knock on wood for us).
Dartmouth is a school with many quirks, the six week freshmen frat ban being one of its admittedly less charming traditions.
In a week, I’ll travel with my family to my grandparents’ house in New Jersey to celebrate Thanksgiving. We’ll dress up, spend all day preparing classic Thanksgiving dishes and sit down to a long dinner. Although the stereotypical Thanksgiving story does not play a large role in my family’s celebration, it is inextricably woven into the holiday — from the turkeys to the cornucopias to the myth of that happy Thanksgiving feast back in 1621.
After the challenges of this year’s crowded fall term, Dartmouth’s community anticipates a much quieter 22W. Hanover’s infamous cold weather and the promise of less competitive internships typically makes winter a popular off term among students. However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the housing crisis, the culture surrounding Dartmouth’s unique D-Plan is changing.
As I walk through Baker-Berry, I see fellow students studying and socializing in FFB. It’s a comforting scene and a warm oasis as the weather grows colder each day. I make my way towards Novack Cafe with friends and see the daunting line, but the friendly Novack workers, buttery croissants and up-beat music make the wait worth it. Because the line is often long, it is very probable that you will see someone you know — a great opportunity to catch up and maybe even meet some new faces. In a way, the line is actually a blessing (that is, unless you are running from your 11 to 12 on a time crunch.) Regardless, while you wait, several posters pinned up on the wall are bound to catch the corner of your eye.
During my second week of college, I found myself lying in a dentist’s chair in West Lebanon, clutching the nurse’s hand and regretting my decision to attend school many hours from home. When I thought about my ideal college experience, developing a mouth infection that necessitated emergency surgery definitely wasn’t what I envisioned. Yet, this experience encapsulates a unifying theme from my first term at Dartmouth — the need to grow comfortable with uncertainty, whether that arises in the form of surprise dentist appointments or other, less medically exigent, challenges.
With about 60% of Dartmouth’s student population involved in Greek life, the prevalence of Greek life on campus culture is undeniable. Though the Greek system has been credited with fostering community and livening Dartmouth’s party culture, some have criticized it for exacerbating exclusivity, especially on the basis of gender identity, race and socioeconomic status.