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Freshman fall is by far the most unique term you will ever have at Dartmouth. You enter this totally new place knowing practically nothing, and you are expected to start from scratch. Academics, friends, activities essentially nothing is familiar unless you went to Phillips Exeter, in which case you came here knowing 3 percent of the incoming class. Ask most Dartmouth students what they thought about freshman fall, and you will receive some mixed reviews. For some, this term was when they met their best friends and joined the activities that still mean the most to them today. For others, Dartmouth was a big adjustment, and freshman fall was one of their more miserable terms. Unfortunately, Priya's arrival at Dartmouth coincided with her discovery of both "The Office" and Dan Brown novels, and thus she spent the majority of her freshman fall in her dorm. For Casey, freshman fall was pretty much a hypothermic blur of intro level classes, aggressive pregames in the Choates and constant sleep deprivation. This issue of The Mirror also marks the end of our tenure as editors (or "reign of terror," as Casey likes to call it), so we deemed it highly appropriate to get super reflective (again). On a final note, it has recently come to our attention that people tend to find our editors' notes and pictures "totally weird" and "bizarre." To that, we will echo one particular sentiment expressed by Gardner and Kate in their column this week: haters gon' hate. Mirror editors out.
Now that Priya and I are seniors and our reign of terror as Mirror editors is almost at its end, we can't help but get a little nostalgic every now and then. In fact, it's almost necessary that we drench you with some sap since this past weekend, the two of us attended our last bonfire as Dartmouth students we proudly ran a lap and then bowed out to heckle the worst class ever as they circled the blaze. When you think of Dartmouth traditions, you usually think of moments like this the bonfire, your freshman trip and the Polar Bear Swim. But some of the most memorable traditions at Dartmouth extend beyond Trips and big weekends. So this week, we wanted to take a look at the less frequently discussed traditions that still play an important role in many of our Dartmouth experiences. After participating in many different kinds of Dartmouth traditions for the fourth consecutive year, things that seemed pretty bizarre my freshman fall have become some of my favorite memories. At a place like Dartmouth, it's impossible to escape the fervor surrounding age-old traditions both big and small, and Priya and I thought it would be worthwhile to understand the history behind the items, activities and events that we treasure so much and pass on with care to younger classes in hopes that our legacies will live on.
On one particularly grim Friday night, I was walking home from the library at 2 a.m. As I made the trek to my off-campus house, I couldn't help but notice how peaceful Dartmouth appears at night. Strolling across the Green alone on that still Hanover night, I felt pretty at ease a marked contrast from my walks home this summer in New York, in which I was practically sprinting down the street to escape the nighttime hazards as soon as possible (Casey, who also worked in New York this summer, can attest to this). But Dartmouth at night isn't just a calm and tranquil environment in fact, most of the weirdest, craziest and downright questionable activities that occur on this campus happen under the veil of darkness. A closer look at Hanover in the dark reveals a nighttime environment unlike any other. It is one in which concerns about safety are practically nonexistent, the only light on Main Street past 10 p.m. is that of EBAs and most discernible noise comes from underground. This issue will explore the various facets of Dartmouth at nighttime the good, the bad and the confusing. Emphasis on the confusing.
Having a sibling that is close in age to you is simultaneously the best and worst thing ever, especially if they are the same gender. As the older sibling, you typically get to be the boss you're the person that your younger brother or sister looks up to constantly and tries to emulate. As an older sister, I will say that this is true about half of the time. The rest of the time, you are usually getting in trouble for your sibling's devious trouble-making. Now that my sister Caitlin and I are semi-functional adults at different colleges, we can laugh about all of the ridiculous situations we have been through together. One time, my sister stuck gum in my hair on an international plane ride, and as a result, I had to get all of my hair shaved off. As punishment, she received the same buzz cut, and both of us looked absolutely ridiculous in our Christmas card that year. You win some, and in my case, you lose most. However, Priya, who is three years younger than her sister, claims that being the younger sibling doesn't give you full immunity for life. In fact, she has traumatic stories of her own from her younger, more impressionable years. Apparently, Meera's scheming ended in severe long-term psychological damage when she told Priya that brown M&Ms were, in fact, poop. It's been 15 years, and Priya still hasn't touched one. Spoiler alert: We have all since made amends (see photographic evidence below). In case you were wondering, yes, those are indeed matching family reunion shirts that Meera and Priya are wearing. Priya still wears hers to sleep.
We all grew up hearing a variety of myths. Whether they concern haunted houses, ice cream causing nightmares or bubble gum remaining in your stomach for seven years, myths are everywhere. Everyone has theories, but no one really knows the correct answer. Dartmouth is certainly no stranger to myths we are shrouded not only by the mountains of New Hampshire, but also by various mysteries. As soon as we arrive on campus, we are inundated with legends of Dartmouth's past, present and future blood thinners in Cutter, haunted rooms in Panarchy, the administration monitoring words like "punch" in our blitzes, claims that we consume 1 percent of all Keystone produced globally. We bet you've heard at least one of these rumors since arriving on campus. For this week's Mirror, we posed a pretty difficult challenge to our writers to confirm or deny some of Dartmouth's most rampant rumors. Some were fairly easy to bust (in case you are wondering, we do not consume 1 percent of the world's Keystone not even close), while others proved more elusive (alas, you may never know what got you so drunk at 6 p.m. on the Thursday of Winter Carnival). One lesson we learned from all this: Some things might just be better off as mysteries.
All of us have those free-spirited friends that we distantly admire and wish we could be more like. You know, those friends that make you try crazy new foods, can speak a million languages and have quirky friends from every corner of campus. At Dartmouth, it's especially hard to seek out those non-type-A personalities, making them all the more admirable. We've all been groomed since age five soccer practice, violin lessons, AP classes on AP classes and the focus on discipline and perfection have turned many of us into robots of habit. Most of us have figured out what works for us and stick with it. We find any disruption to this cycle extremely irritating. But what would happen if you just took a minute and made the decision (somewhat ironically) to stop caring and get a little bit crazy? It's hard to face your fears by stepping outside the warm and fuzzy boundaries of your comfort zone, but we here at The Mirror say it simply must be done! This week, our dedicated writers faced the unknown and took the leap. We are proud to present their accounts of these experiences everything from building fires with the Woodsmen's Team to getting sweaty with the Thursday Night Salsa crew. You may even get a tingle of inspiration and try something that you've never done before. Even if it doesn't work out, you'll at least get a good laugh out of it.
If you ever took AP Government in high school, you would have learned how much the media likes to create divisions by splitting political candidates down ideological lines or creating a battleground for some sort of hot-button issue. Conflict is an inherent part of who we are we like taking a side on an issue, and we like to watch conflicts unfold, be played on the movie screen, in the sports arena or in the news. There are many ongoing debates that exist at Dartmouth to rush or not to rush? Shrub or tree? Stacks or Sanborn? So this week, we are taking a lead from the media and setting up our own mini-battlegrounds between writers featuring some of Dartmouth's most hotly contested issues. Speaking of divisions, we have another brand new column this week in which Gardner Davis '13 and Kate Taylor '13 will provide some moderately well-thought-out advice on questions you have submitted! They may not agree on the right answer to every question, hence the appropriateness of the divisions theme. We'd also like to give a special shout-out to Priya's sister Meera for coming up with this week's topic. She may be living at home, but her creative juices are clearly still a-flowing!
Not everyone at Dartmouth knows all the words to the Alma Mater. Very few spontaneous renditions even bother to go into the second verse. One line, however, stays burned in every Dartmouth student's mind: Lest the old traditions fail! That is because here at Dartmouth, we place an incredibly heavy emphasis on our traditions on keeping things the same. So when anything happens that threatens to oust us from our daily habits, naturally, we freak out. This year in particular has certainly been a big one in terms of shaking things up at the College, so this issue of The Mirror is about all the ch-ch-ch-changes that have all of our brains spinning from the menu downsizing in KAF (catastrophic) to the recently implemented academic calendar change (panic attack!). Perhaps saying that the old traditions may fail is extreme, but things sure seem and look a little different this year. And speaking of changes, we at the Mirror have a big one. This week, we are introducing our new senior columnist, Lauren Vespoli, who will be sharing the scandalous, YOLO-inspired escapades on her senior year bucket list.
DOC Trip? Check. Dorm move-in? Check. Now, the only thing standing in the way of you and COLLEGE (that's an Animal House reference, freshmen) is Orientation. You've picked up this gigantic copy of The D, skimmed (read: skipped) the news/opinion/arts/sports articles and arrived at what you were looking for: the Orientation schedule an hour-by-hour breakdown of all the opportunities Dartmouth has to offer. First things first: You will not attend even half of these events. Don't even try. As everyone will tell you, Orientation is overwhelming. That's why we at The Mirror, your Friday source for all things Dartmouth culture, are here to provide you with a comprehensive insider's guide to Orientation in this compact four-page issue. From how to pick your classes to how to responsibly dome yourself (look it up on Urban Dictionary) on free food, this issue will tell you what's not to be missed and what can be skipped during these next six days. You'll also get some general Orientation social etiquette tips (Good news: There aren't really any). So read up, but don't spend too much time reading there are friends to be made and fun to be had. We can't wait for you to ruin the curve in those intro classes we forgot to take for our majors until senior fall.
But actually, to the '12s: We've learned so much from you all, and we're not just talking about lacrosse (thanks, Kip!). We hope that all you '13s, '14s, '15s and extremely overeager '16s can glean a few wise words from these pages before we all depart (or not) for the summer and beyond. We've had a great run see you next fall!
Typically, women feel more comfortable discussing their feelings with one another, and men are more reticent to do so. What both of us have discovered with this issue of The Mirror is that men certainly have their own individual opinions on masculinity, fashion, "bromances" and women. In the end, we have and rightfully so a lot of organizations, publications and discussion groups devoted to women. So this week, The Mirror is finally giving a rouse (with a will) to the good ol' sons of Dartmouth.
The truth is, no matter who our families are or how involved they are in our college lives, no Dartmouth student is immune to those moments when they just really, really miss their parents. So whether your parents are here for the weekend or thousands of miles away, this issue is all about celebrating those two people who undoubtedly had one of the greatest influences on the person you are today. Or at the very least, they'll be the reason you can afford to order the special at Murphy's for once.
A lot of people say that getting into a college is the hardest part. Perhaps with the growing size of the applicant pool and the increasing number of qualified candidates these days, this statement is only becoming more true. I guess we all did something right if we ended up at Dartmouth even if that something was deciding to apply here because the application had no supplemental essays. Whether or not Dartmouth was your first choice, getting into any school is probably one of the greatest feelings ever (cue: senioritis). And once you recover from the grueling college admissions process, the truth is that you are still barely prepared for what's to come.
High school is a much more controversial theme than one might initially think. Both of us came to the conclusion that while there are some memories from high school that we will always cherish, there are other times that we'd honestly rather forget. I mean, who wants to remember the time Priya dated a boy for three years and only communicated over instant messenger? Or the time Casey wore three collared shirts... with all three collars popped? At Dartmouth, we make such amazing friends, but it's easy to forget that we didn't actually know these people during what is maybe the most formative period of our lives. Certainly, there are some people that have stayed pretty much the same since high school, and yet there are others whose high school selves would be virtually unrecognizable. Last week, for example, Priya found out that one of her good friends' natural hair color is brown and that she has been dyeing her hair blonde since the start of college. There are also non-physical ways in which people have changed since high school. Looking back on my (Priya) high school self, I am pretty certain that none of my college friends would have liked me. I was kind of annoying, and I talked too fast for people to understand me because I was on the debate team. In the end, Casey and I agreed that while we will always look fondly upon our high school experiences, we'd probably take Trips, formals and DDS over camp-outs, prom and cafeteria food any day.
This week's Mirror is dedicated to the large percentage of our classmates who are members of athletic teams and the often unexplored dimensions of athletes' lives. As non-athletes, NARPs, "nonners" whatever non-derogatory, affectionate term you use we have discovered over the course of putting together this issue that there is so much more to being a member of a sports team than just the physical aspect of attending practices and games. For many athletes, it determines the very nature of their college experience, beginning with what classes they take, maybe determining what Greek house they will join and even pushing them to the point of quitting. So to all you athletes out there who probably don't read The Mirror, give it a chance, because this week, it's all about you!
And then there is getting to Dartmouth itself. Ever wondered how people got here before the Dartmouth Coach made getting here just a flight and a bus ride away, or when there wasn't even a road leading into Hanover? They hitchhiked. Seriously it took people six days just to get from Boston to Hanover. I like Collis as much as the next person, but not even the most delicious maple scone could motivate us to make that trek. So next time you find yourself complaining that the Dartmouth Coach is playing yet another obscure movie as you eat your free 100-calorie pack of pretzels, be thankful that your journey will only take three hours instead of 144. We'd definitely take a few parking fines over that.
There is this page on Facebook called "Dartmouth College Memes." It is our new favorite thing. For those of you who don't know, a meme is a sort of cultural criticism that takes the form of an internet inside joke (or at least that's what Urban Dictionary tells us). One thing that you will notice upon clicking through all 160 of these memes is that they all fit in with one overarching theme: the meaningless and trivial problems that Dartmouth students fret about on a daily basis. We would all like to think that the fact that KAF only has delicious buttery croissants and cookies but no brie and apple sandwiches is a huge travesty, but the truth is, in the real world you will probably have bigger fish to fry. This issue will look at all the "problems" you have faced or will face in your Dartmouth career, through both articles and our new favorite medium: memes.