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Nowadays, many people are focused on the question of when scientists will be able to find a COVID-19 vaccine — widely perceived as the only hope for returning to normal life. Fewer, however, are concerned about whether or not Americans will even take a vaccine against the coronavirus when one does become available.
Countless news articles warn us that even after shelter-in-place orders are lifted and the majority of businesses reopen, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact our world. Though it can feel like an insular microcosm, Dartmouth will not be immune to long-term change. The consequences of the shift to remote learning have the potential to drastically alter current students’ Dartmouth experiences. In light of this, Dartmouth must take measures to preserve key traditions and retain student connection to the College.
The international reputation of the U.S. has suffered greatly as a result of its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Our lack of preparation to ensure a sufficient supply of protective equipment for health care personnel, coupled with President Trump’s insistence that he had the spread of the virus “totally under control” as the U.S. surpassed every other nation in terms of coronavirus cases, has shown that America does not always do it best. Even worse, we have failed to learn from and cooperate with other nations who can, in some cases, do better.
There are few things more essential to the modern student’s academic life than Wi-Fi. Just checking Canvas to view assignments or downloading video lectures for flipped classes — let alone conducting online research — requires uninterrupted Internet access. Dartmouth students are certainly no exception to this rule. But despite the fact that the College requires students to own laptops and the general necessity of Wi-Fi for academic work, the only consistent thing about campus Wi-Fi is its unreliability. And unfortunately, not all students navigate the problem of poor Internet access equally.
This column is featured in the 2020 Winter Carnival special issue.
When New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine announced that it was going tuition-free in August 2018, thousands of pre-med and medical students across the country reloaded their browsers in disbelief. As Dartmouth’s eager pre-meds are aware, the high costs of applying to and attending medical school are no secret — and no joke.
Let’s be honest: long-distance relationships aren’t anyone’s first choice. They can be sad and frustrating and lonely; the list goes on. Yet, by one estimate, up to 75 percent of college students find themselves in a long-distance relationship at some point during their four years at school.
I recently participated in a class discussion about the propagandist nature of commercials for prescription drugs. As I listened to my classmates, I was struck by the predominance of negative beliefs about the pharmaceutical industry. After doing some research, I found that my classroom served as a representative microcosm of American society — a recent study using a comparison of favorability ratings from U.S. citizens found that the pharmaceutical sector is the “most loathed” industry in the country.
Dartmouth has a rigorous honor code, and students are frequently reminded of this fact. Summaries of Dartmouth’s rules against prohibited collaboration and other forms of academic dishonesty are conveniently printed on the cover page of many in-class exams, and verbal reminders are often given when a take-home assignment like a lab report is handed out.
Many college campuses have high rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, and Dartmouth is no exception. The College does a lot to attempt to get ahead of these issues at the beginning of freshman year, but things can still be quite challenging for sophomores. Does Dartmouth’s focus on the newest class cause sophomores to fall through the cracks?
Let’s face it: By this point, we are all well aware that Dartmouth’s House system is in dire need of repair. Especially in the wake of the new residential access policy preventing students from accessing dorms outside their House system, it’s hard to enter into a conversation on campus without hearing some complaint about the House system. Yet, despite the go-getter and self-starter attitudes of Dartmouth students, I haven’t been hearing many proposed solutions. Of course, there is the petition to restore students’ access to dorms, but what about the deeper problems perturbing the College’s idealized House system? We need a way to fight the entrenched inequality between the Houses and turn the House system into a source of pride among students, instead of an object of ridicule.
Looking back now, I have very few regrets from my first year of college. After all, freshman year is meant to be a time of trial and error. From randomly choosing a dance partner for the “Salty Dog Rag” (a First-Year Trips tradition) to painstakingly selecting courses for the fall, Dartmouth freshmen are presented with a multitude of choices right off the bat that often define their first term.
Countless articles have been written on the effects of social media on the lives and social interactions of young people. I, personally, thought I had heard it all before. Then, in my senior year of high school, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with derealization disorder. This condition makes people feel like an outside observer to one’s own life, as if there is a glass wall that separates them from their surroundings as time passes at an abnormal rate.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to celebrate Passover at a professor’s house off campus. During the Seder, I had the opportunity to interact with my professor’s elderly parents and young kids. I participated in lively discussions about world affairs and listened intently to cherished family stories. Importantly, none of these conversations were centered around Dartmouth or dominated by the perspectives of Dartmouth students. If only for one night of food, song and prayer, I escaped the infamous Dartmouth bubble.
Campus outsiders use many stereotypes to describe Dartmouth students. Posts on college-matching website Unigo portray Dartmouth as a fraternity-dominated, beer-drinking party school, but also as a place where students are laid back, outdoorsy and active. I find these Dartmouth stereotypes contradictory — on one hand, students are known for extreme partying, and on the other, they are seen as healthy and physically active. The truth is that both stereotypes are largely valid.
I wasn’t at all surprised by the recent college admissions scandal. The news struck close to home since I’m from Hillsborough, CA, a town in which multiple parents implicated in the scandal reside. The scandal shouldn’t be that surprising to anyone. Look at college admissions from a business standpoint: If a desired good — in this case, a degree from an elite university — is hard to obtain, black markets arise for consumers to gain access.
To no one’s surprise, many members of the Class of 2022 were once hyper-involved, overachieving high school students. I’m one of them. In high school, I was a peer tutor, varsity athlete, editor of the newspaper and involved in various other activities. At Dartmouth, my plan was to pick up where I had left off and throw myself into as many activities as possible. After all, this method worked for me in the past, allowing me to make friends and build a life for myself each time I switched schools. This time, though, that didn’t quite happen.