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It’s been November for a couple of weeks, but it’s finally starting to feel like it. Today, while procrastinating papers and attempting to clear my head, I went for a walk in the woods behind the golf course. It’s easy to forget that we’re so close to nature — the golf course has gone untended since the varsity golf team stopped practicing there, and now the overgrown grass is less of a stark separation from the forest behind it. I stuffed my hands in my pockets and looked up at the sharp branches which made up the canopy above my head. It will look exactly like that until March or April. The winter always feels like the longest part of the year, even though it has the shortest days.
Here at Mirror, this week’s sunny skies are holding off the stark reality that fall is almost over. It’s the time of the term when we start rushing from the library straight into formal attire and then back again. There’s something triumphant but bittersweet about the term’s final push before our extra long winter break. We’re going to miss seeing the sun after 4 p.m., almost as much as we’ll miss seeing our classmates for six weeks and spending autumn in the idyllic woods of New Hampshire.
Friends, Romans, Dartmouth students — lend me your ears. As week 8 descends on an unsuspecting student body, we at Mirror have been stocking up on everything you’ll need to finish this term off with a bang. On the docket: a non-negotiable eight hours of sleep, a full water bottle, socks that feel like a warm hug around your ankles and a playlist that sounds like sunshine in your ears.
And just when it felt like we were getting into the swing of things, week 7 at Dartmouth hit like a swift kick to the jaw. (In one editor’s case, a literal kick to the jaw.) Cloudy skies and the passing of peak foliage might feel like a gray start, but as the skies turn sunny and our alumni come roaring back, we’re sure the rest of Homecoming week has festive things in store.
We’re on the downward slope of the term and of the year: Can you feel it? The rollercoaster of fall term’s energy inches up the track little by little. The markers we use to measure the term start to pile up behind us — but we’re still full of potential energy. Around midterms and peak foliage, we pick our heads up and take in the view at the top for just a moment. But before we’re ready, we’re released from our place on top of the world and we’re hurtling into the rest of the year.
Somehow it’s week five already, and for the most part, it’s kind of nice. It feels like we’re finally in the swing of things, finally getting a chance to stop, take a breath and settle into the term. As we pass the halfway mark, though, there’s also a hint of bittersweetness in the crisp fall air. The last lasts are beginning, and every leaf that falls is a sign of time’s ceaseless march forward.
At the start of the term, the trees of Hanover kept the coming season a secret. Standing tall, green and proud well into September, only the dip in temperature hinted at what this autumn had in store. Now it’s the first week of October and everything looks different. Orange, red and yellow leaves wink at us as we make our way across the Green — the same leaves that were here all year, now demanding our attention.
It’s been a really hard week. For many, the grief permeating campus is unsettling and saddenning, but feels just a little bit removed. For many others, it’s as still fresh, as raw and as unrelentingly painful as it was when our email inboxes first chimed with news of our classmates’ deaths. Feelings like these are complicated.
It’s been a rainy week in Hanover. But while we’ve been stepping around puddles while dashing to class and thinking about how heavy our backpacks are for the second week of term, we’ve also been taking a moment to notice that the Green looks a little greener.
It’s week one, but it just doesn’t feel like autumn leaves are falling down like pieces into place. Maybe it’s the still-green forestry or the crowds of unfamiliar new faces or the fact that this is my last fall ever, but I can’t shake this term’s particularly frantic feeling.
To say that Dartmouth students have a long and storied history with winter sports would be an understatement. Since 1924, students from the College on the Hill have competed in every winter Olympics, racking up an impressive 28 medals — more than many countries. These medaled athletes representing the Big Green on the world stage are most impressive, but for those of us who can only hope to medal in procrastination or sleep-deprivation, a great way to make the most of the winter is through intramural hockey.
After six weeks of winterim, the holiday season has come to an end, and Dartmouth students find themselves at the beginning of a new year and a new term. Summer has its sunshine, fall has its foliage and the infamous Hanover winter has its Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Can’t focus on FFB? Novack too crowded to do your homework? Don’t worry — Dartmouth is home to plenty of alternative study spaces, perfect for getting that nose to the grindstone.
I am halfway through my time at Dartmouth and halfway through 21F, and the glass is looking half full. I wake up to an open window in my off-campus home and a view of green leaves, I make coffee and eggs and finish up the odd reading for one of my government classes, and I get to feel the brisk October air on my face as I laugh with my friend on our way to computer science every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
This article is featured in the 2021 Homecoming special issue.
The current chaos in Afghanistan is a result of decades of global politics — in trying to understand the situation, it’s difficult even to know where to begin. Jason Lyall is Dartmouth’s James Wright Associate Professor in Transnational Studies in the Government Department. Since 2009, he has traveled to Afghanistan around a dozen times in order to study humanitarian aid and conduct popular surveys, among other things.
Dartmouth students experience their sunniest ten weeks in Hanover each sophomore summer, and students employ a different philosophy during the unconventional term than during the rest of the year. While students often use this time as an opportunity to get excited about things outside of the classroom (or the confines of their major), summer school does still include “school.”
This article is featured in the 2021 Freshman special issue.
With the White Mountains as a backyard, Dartmouth has always provided a temporary home to through hikers, whether they’re just hiking in the area or trekking the entire Appalachian Trail. If your curiosity has ever been piqued by someone in town with a frame pack more than half their size, chances are, you’ve caught a through hiker.
Economics professor James Feyrer recalls one of the first moments, at the end of spring term, where hope seemed to permeate the COVID-19 atmosphere at Dartmouth.