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Forever an Optimist

(05/24/13 2:00am)

For some reason, I distinctly remember my father teaching me the word "optimist" after a family vacation mishap. I was young, it was winter and my parents and I got bumped off of our flight to somewhere warm. There was another flight due to leave the next hour, and I kept repeating how I thought we would get on that one. My dad laughed and told me I was an optimist. I didn't know what that meant, and he explained that an optimist is someone who expects the best outcome. We ended up spending that night in the airport hotel.

The Bucket List

(05/17/13 2:00am)

Writing this column was incredibly difficult. What is there really to say about Green Key weekend? There are many parties. Some of them are outside, because the weather is often nice. Unlike Homecoming with its creepy rituals and Winter Carnival with its forced attempts at "being fun" instead of dogs pulling the sleds, we're using humans! to make you forget that it's colder than a well-digger's ass, as my dad would say, Green Key is not a weekend of many gimmicks. The arrival of spring requires little celebration beyond simply reveling in good weather with good company.

The Bucket List

(05/10/13 2:00am)

You might find it odd, hypocritical or utterly predictable that after writing 24 columns this year under the title and premise of the "Dartmouth Bucket List," I am beginning to slightly resent the idea of a bucket list. In my first column, I championed making the most of senior year and doing all those things that we'll never have a chance to do again. I congratulated myself on a senior column idea that would give me an excuse to do fun things every week and jauntily embarked upon an adventure to a corn maze, finally got myself to Friday Night Rock and the greenhouse in the Life Sciences Center and took the Polar Bear Plunge.

The Bucket List

(05/03/13 2:00am)

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea," goes an oft-cited quotation by Danish author Karen von Blixen-Finecke. If this is true, then maybe the reason hot yoga classes at Bikram Yoga Upper Valley in White River Junction have become a trend amongst seniors is because, by spending 90 minutes drenched in our own sweat, we are trying to cure ourselves of the reality that lies five short weeks away. Perhaps, in this humid room 15 minutes from campus, we are letting Dartmouth seep out of our pores, shedding this place like a skin.

The Bucket List

(04/26/13 2:00am)

There's much that can be said about last week, but little that will make any sense. Between the Boston Marathon bombings, the subsequent manhunt that sounded like a plot for the next Denzel Washington thriller and the deadly explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, the Mississippi Elvis impersonator who sent letters poisoned with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials hardly warranted coverage in last week's maelstrom of bizarre violence. The end of the week felt near apocalyptic, especially in the sudden burst of heat, wind and ominously still-gray skies. We might be taking notes in class, preparing for the arrival of prospective students, running on the cracked country roads of Norwich or lying on the Green under the first rays of sunshine, only to have our lives jarringly juxtaposed with news of the bombing, missing suspects and the complete shutdown of a seemingly invincible city.

The Bucket List

(04/19/13 2:00am)

Sometimes I drink out of Mason jars and shop at thrift stores. I take notes in Moleskines. I study in Periodicals. I started using Instagram before it was cool (circa December 2011), and I'm not ashamed to admit my first Instagrammed photo was of my cat laying in a gift box with ribbons on her head, filtered through "Low-fi." I use Spotify to listen to Bands You've Never Heard Of Surgeons In Heat, anyone? However, I've never pickled anything, don't have thick-rimmed glasses and have never used a typewriter or tried to distill my own whiskey. I don't even like whiskey.

The Bucket List

(04/05/13 2:00am)

I don't usually think about religion. Faith has never been an important aspect of my life, but I guess you could say that I've been extremely fortunate in having relatively few occasions when I needed something outside and bigger than myself to lean on. In college, I've probably had the least contact with organized religion and personal spirituality than at any other point in my life. But attending a friend's, shall we say, "nontraditional" Seder last weekend combined with a lonely Easter holiday made me start to think about the role that religion can play in community building.

The Bucket List

(03/29/13 3:00am)

The youngest among us might not remember the list that used to go under every freshman's door "101 Things to Do Before You Graduate Dartmouth." It was printed with a picture of Baker Tower and the Cat in the Hat on the background and listed the top, supposedly "unmissable" experiences the College had to offer. People took this list seriously. They'd hang them over their beds and cross out items they had completed. I'm glad they got rid of these lists, mainly because they privileged one type of Dartmouth experience, but also because many of the items were just dumb.

The Bucket List

(03/08/13 4:00am)

Calling it "acting" might be a bit of a stretch, as I was on stage for a total of two minutes, but as of last week it can technically be said that I have been involved in a theatrical production at Dartmouth. My avid readers (read: my parents, although I have a sneaking suspicion they're exaggerating) will remember that earlier in the term I tried out for the Vagina Monologues. When I auditioned, I forgot that there's a difference between auditioning for a production eight weeks in the future, which in Dartmouth time is at least six months, and actually waiting in the wings, feeling like you're going to throw up and pee your pants at the same time before going on stage in front of a "sold out" theater (free tickets will do that) to say phrases that a vagina might say, including, but not limited to, "Rock me!" Anyone who knows me in solely an academic or professional setting might be shocked. Yes, indeed it is the quieter ones you have to watch out for.

The Bucket List

(03/01/13 4:00am)

What do a fraternity and the Hood Museum have in common? First of all, art, if you're willing to consider the pong table a canvas. Secondly, and maybe less contentiously, hosting parties. Last Friday, the Hood threw a student party with free wine, soda, snacks and door prizes. It was a classy affair without contrivance. Unlike Programming Board's "A Taste of Class," hosted in Sarner Underground last Saturday night, it didn't need a chocolate fountain. The space was beautiful and tasteful enough. And when else, unless I become very rich, well-connected or painfully hip, will I ever find myself drinking wine in a gallery or exploring a museum after hours again? I'm not trying to hate on Programming Board, but chocolate fountains give me flashbacks to the veritable social traumas that were my high school formals.

The Bucket List

(02/22/13 4:00am)

Much like life, the sport of ice fishing involves long periods of tedium punctuated by brief spurts of excitement. The action starts when someone yells "FLAG!" This indicates that the little flag on the tip-up, the wooden contraption that rests across the hole in the ice and holds the reel that allows the line to sink in the water, has popped up, signaling that a fish is on the line. When a flag goes up, the fisherman or woman in question will probably run at a pace directly proportional to how competitive they are about the chance to take off their gloves and wrap their freezing hands around a slimy, squirming body, remove the hook and perhaps take a picture.

The Dartmouth Bucket List

(02/15/13 4:00am)

If you saw last week's issue of The Mirror, you might remember reading that "natural selection has spent hundreds of years getting rid of people like your friend, who think it is a good idea to jump through the ice and into the water of a frozen pond," or that the Polar Bear Plunge is exclusively for "morons." Moderately passive aggressive challenge accepted, though I had already planned to do the plunge since I never had before, and my last opportunity as a Dartmouth undergraduate had finally arrived.

The Bucket List

(02/08/13 4:00am)

It was one of the coldest days of the term, bright and clear despite sub-zero temperatures. Skating on Occom Pond seemed the quaint sort of winter activity that would make a beautiful but cold day enjoyable. I had skated as a child on a pond in my town, one of those charming New England situations where there's a fire pit to warm your hands and your friends' mothers serve you hot chocolate. I remember very clearly the last time I skated because the experience was so shameful. I was around thirteen and at the birthday party of my friend's little sister. All the seven-year-olds sped around the ice rink, jeering at my friend and me, since we refused to move very far away from the wall.

The Bucket List

(01/25/13 4:00am)

I have never pulled an all-nighter for academic reasons. This experience was on my bucket list not because I thought it would be fun, but because I feel like it's something people do that I haven't. It's part of the "work hard, play hard" experience that we love to say Dartmouth embodies. However, after a traumatic brush with sleeplessness last week, I've decided that it's time to cross this one off for good. I've discovered I simply do not have the mental fortitude.

The Bucket List

(01/18/13 4:00am)

When people talk about gendered spaces at Dartmouth, they are usually referring to the Greek scene. But gendered spaces exist on campus outside fraternities and sororities. For example: maybe it's just me and my weak arms, but how many Dartmouth women feel comfortable in the first-floor weight area of Alumni Gym? Power to you, ladies. This week I unintentionally experienced two very different gender-dominated spaces, in pursuit of a new hobby and newfound confidence.

The Bucket List

(01/11/13 4:00am)

I think Winter term feels like more of a fresh start than Fall, particularly when we've been away from Hanover for over a month. There's a new year on the calendar, and the cold is a jarring reminder of our vitality. We've made our yearly bids for self-improvement, and as any recent gym patron frustrated at the lack of available treadmills could tell you, so far we're sticking to them.

The Dartmouth Bucket List

(11/09/12 4:00am)

If nothing else, this week I may prove how little shame I have left or, to spin it positively, the lengths to which I will go for this column. And, because it's Priya and Casey's last issue, I'd like to give a shout-out to all of their hard work over the past three terms on The Mirror, as well as a special thank you to Priya and fellow columnist Kate my Bucket List partners in crime for joining me on my most recent mission. In honor of this week's freshman fall theme, I decided to travel back in time to a place where few self-respecting seniors have gone before the freshman pregame.

The Dartmouth Bucket List

(11/02/12 3:00am)

Last weekend, there was a lot of self-imposed pressure on seniors to make the most of their last Homecoming as undergraduates to go out every night and have loads of fun, all while looking good in green the next day and attending every tailgate and sports game. Or maybe I'm projecting the pressure I felt to do it all, which I ended up failing to do when I somehow managed to nap through the football game.

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