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This year, Valentine’s Day just won’t be the same. Nobody will fortuitously stumble upon a soulmate at King Arthur Flour or dance with their Marriage Pact match in a fraternity basement. Some will insist on celebrating with a COVID-19-safe platonic get-together, while others will be rushing to secure evening plans for the 14th. Either way, love is in the air — and regardless of our relationship status, we should celebrate love this week by giving to our loved ones without expecting anything in return.
On day one of my dorm room quarantine, I watched my professor’s lecture through a laptop screen. My food was delivered twice daily by a person whom I never saw. I was only allowed out of my room in order to use the bathroom and seek medical help. Though the situation sounds eerily similar to the premise of a dystopian novel, it’s actually my college experience, taking place entirely through screens and six-foot distances.
In the midst of a pandemic-exacerbated national mental health crisis, it comes as no surprise that wellness products are having a moment in the spotlight. Even before the pandemic, from 2015 to 2017, the global wellness industry had grown nearly twice as fast as the global economic growth rate, making it worth $4.5 trillion in 2018.
As a soon-to-be-declared economics major, I’m well aware that the subject I love has some issues. When it comes to diversity, the numbers speak for themselves: According to the Brookings Institution, only 30% of Ph.D. economists in the federal government and 23% of economics faculty are women, while just 24% of Ph.D. economists in the federal government and 21% of economics faculty in academia are people of color. Even compared to other quantitative fields, economics stands out.
Ask any Dartmouth student what they miss most about Hanover, and chances are a handful of bright-eyed sophomores and jaded seniors will say King Arthur Flour — generally referred to in the Dartmouth community as KAF. The popular cafe and baking goods supplier, now called King Arthur Baking Company, has secured a loyal following among Dartmouth students past and present. The promise of their spongy pepperoni pizza after class kept me alive during midterms, and grabbing an iced maple latte before my 10A quickly became a morning ritual. But it is not just the delicious bakery options that made Dartmouth students line up outside KAF’s doors like every day was opening day. At the heart of it all, KAF is a responsible company. By prioritizing social and environmental responsibility, corporations like KAF offer a workable, positive alternative to the shareholder-driven business model that has been popular in recent decades.
For those who live with family members that exist on radically different parts of the political spectrum, remaining civil is not a matter of courtesy — it’s a matter of necessity. My mom ingests a steady diet of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal; I start my days with a New York Times morning briefing. In the past, any political confrontation between us would often end in slammed doors or silent treatment. Because of the lockdown, however, my mom and I have been forced to confront our political differences. I’ve been reminded that it’s much easier to remain combative when you don’t need to live with the person on the other side of the aisle.
This term, I’ve spent a lot of time not working hard enough. It’s the nagging feeling I get when it’s 8 p.m. — four hours before my essay deadline — and I’m watching my seventh Riverdale episode of the day while my Canvas page stares back at me disapprovingly. Cognitive dissonance, one might call it. It takes a lot of energy to convince myself that my research paper warrants less attention than the latest series of woes in Betty and Jughead’s relationship.
In America, one in four women and one in nine men experience severe domestic violence in their lifetimes. Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S., adding up to more than 10 million Americans each year. Domestic violence — broadly defined as physical violence, sexual violence, stalking or psychological harm inflicted by a family member or partner — affects more people than most would immediately think. Chances are, we know someone who’s at risk. For me, it’s my childhood best friend, who told me a week ago that she feared for her and her mother’s safety at home.