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The morning that I left Hanover — after Provost Joseph Helble announced that at least the first five weeks of spring term would be remote — the sidewalk was filled with groups of friends saying goodbye. In contrast to the nonchalant departures of a normal term, the mood was somber. Disappointment about spring term hit hard, compounded by the regret I felt over all the things I wished I hadn’t put off during the winter. But as I hugged my friends one last time, I was reminded of the love and connection I have found at the College. Those things were easy to forget about during the stress of finals period, but they’re much harder to ignore now. So let’s not forget that. Even when the day comes that this pandemic is a distant memory, I hope we will no longer take for granted what Dartmouth has given us.
The eruption of COVID-19 has led to more than 22,000 deaths nationwide, with devastating social and economic ramifications. In a time of crisis, an increasingly desperate America has looked to the federal government for guidance and support as the lives and livelihoods of millions are put on hold. But the country as a whole has been let down by President Trump, whose actions have only deepened the systemic inequalities previously cultivated under his administration.
This column is featured in the 2020 Winter Carnival special issue.
During the 2018 midterm elections, a record-breaking 185 women ran for congressional seats, resulting in an historic 117 female members of Congress. The unprecedented surge of women’s congressional participation led many to call 2018 “The Year of the Woman.” The election of so many women into the top political offices of the United States electrified feminists across the country, and the 2020 election cycle has seen more women than ever before seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
When I first stepped off the Dartmouth Coach in early September to begin my freshman year at Dartmouth, I thought that I was dreaming. It was the kind of afternoon that those of us familiar with northern New England’s erratic climate hope to experience once or twice a season. With golden sunshine reflecting off of the rooftops, brightly colored autumn leaves and a bright blue sky set against the silhouette of Baker-Berry Library, Dartmouth’s beauty enchanted me the second I laid eyes on campus. Heaven, I thought, could not be more wonderful than my beautiful new school.
Almost every weekend at Dartmouth, you can find me scrambling up mountains, skiing through the woods, or running and biking along quiet roads lined with pine and birch forests. Yet I have only recently begun to declare myself an “outdoorswoman,” despite having fallen head-over-heels for the out-of-doors almost immediately after joining the Dartmouth Outing Club at the end of my freshman fall. At first, my deniability was somewhat plausible — I was simply an amateur trying out a new novelty. As time wore on, though, I was forced to admit that my hours spent in the forests and on the mountaintops of the Whites were more than just a passing whim. I loved the mountains and felt most in touch with myself and those around me when outside.
To most people walking through Robinson Hall on any given day, Room 110 wouldn’t seem to be anything but ordinary. If anyone did stop by, they might notice that the small, rectangular chamber has a few lopsided old couches and a rickety wooden table accompanied by four creaking chairs and a layer of dust.
The recent college admissions scandal has focused national attention on college admissions processes at elite institutions. However, only some of these accounts considered the influence of social inequalities on students’ experiences after admission. Especially at elite colleges, social inequality between students runs deep, unfairly disadvantaging some students. These inequalities can effectively bar disadvantaged students from the same opportunities that their privileged peers enjoy.
Deviance is defined by sociologists as the violation of expected rules and behavior by a member of a group, resulting in discord between the individual displaying the deviant behavior and the social context in which they reside. Though what is considered “deviant” varies greatly based upon a group’s conventional behaviors, deviance itself generally serves as a way for communities to define and clarify the socially normative behaviors and identities expected from its members. However, an individual’s motivation for engaging in deviant behavior has been subject to a wide range of sociological theories that have attempted to explain why people choose to renounce the establishment of their communities.
A recent analysis by the American Historical Association revealed that nationwide, the number of students who pursue an undergraduate degree in history has dropped precipitously in recent years. With only 5.3 history degrees awarded per 1000 students, the discipline is shrinking rapidly with no end in sight. Though the study identified several reasons for the sharp decline, Benjamin M. Schmidt, the analysis’ author, believes that most can be condensed into reduced receptivity to the holistic philosophies of a liberal arts education. Students and parents, he contends, are now looking for a faster and more profitable return on their investment into higher education than ever before.
A sullen silence filled our kitchen in the early morning before I left the house to board our team bus for a cross-country meet in Duluth, Minnesota. A receipt for the Nov. 2017 SAT subject tests lay on the kitchen table next to my packed cross-country bag. My ears rang with shouts from the night before, disbelieving exclamations of “You want to skip your SATs to run in a cross country meet?”—angry and cutting, even in the quiet of the early morning. As time ticked away, I was reminded of my impending choice: the decision to continue as I always had, on the path that others had set for me. Or the opportunity to forge into the unknown territory of disobedience, alone. Closing my eyes, I picked up my cross-country bag and left the house without looking back.
“What high school did you go to? Where are you from? What are you involved in on campus? What classes are you taking? What are you going to major in? What are you planning on doing with your life after Dartmouth?”
As we sped down Highway 89 en route to my very first college debate tournament, the four walls of our team’s rented minivan vibrated with the beat of pop music blasting from the front of the car. My teammates shouted over the music and each other, our deafening six-man circus drawing annoyed glances from passing cars. Squeezed into the back row, the ruckus from the front and the sound of my fingers tapping anthropology notes into my computer provided the harmony to the opening chords of the Moana soundtrack, played on a loop through my earbuds for the duration of our two-hour journey.