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Just doing a simple Google search of the word “gender” reveals the role that the socially constructed definition of women and men has on the perpetuation of gender stereotypes. This, along with the history of gender neutral pronouns and the gender wage gap of the workforce, are just a few of the topics that pop up. At Dartmouth, the idea of gender is also often on our minds as we navigate Greek spaces, interact in classrooms and even introduce ourselves. Though some of us may think about gender more than others, we are all conscious of it nonetheless, and it affects many of the decisions we make on a daily basis.
With a summer of exciting experiences behind us and an autumn of endless possibilities ahead of us, this term is one of new beginnings. The ’23s are navigating being away from home for the first time, the ’22s are exploring a new sense of place on campus, many ’21s are completing their first term in different locations than their friends and the ’20s are appreciating their last “firsts” of Dartmouth. But regardless of what year you are, the sea of new faces, ideas, perspectives and opportunities surrounding us during this time can make anyone feel a little lost.
The painter. The poet. The nerd who owns it. The swimmer. The hiker. The party-all-nighter. The baker. The maker. The family caretaker. The bundle-of-nerves-for-this-term-long-icebreaker. You all have unique experiences that have shaped your identities coming into college. Every Dartmouth student — from those who come from “Just Outside Boston” to those who come from Rwanda — has their own world of memories and skills to share with the Dartmouth community. You are all so different, yet you all ended up here, in middle-of-nowhere New Hampshire, for the most transformative years of your lives.
After a fun Green Key filled with everything but work, we’re back to the grind as Week 9 sets into full swing and finals slowly creep up. Our break from routine was short-lived, and the conversations about our exciting and wild weekends are quickly turning into complaints about all the studying and catching-up we have to do. At a school where “hustle culture” is seen and felt on a routine basis, it’s easy for us to equate our productivity with our self-worth, and we wonder if there’s even such a thing as a true day off. Sunny afternoons on the Green or Sunday Foco brunches with friends are too often cut short to go back to the library and get work done because, as the saying goes, “the grind don’t stop.”
Dartmouth students come to campus from all over the world: from places with beaches, mountains, forests or lakes. For four years, we share the same views at Dartmouth. We share the smooth waters of the river, the warm light of Sanborn Library and the soft grass on the Green. We also share the staggeringly long lines at KAF, the musty Stacks cubicles and the squeaky tables in Novack at one in the morning. We share the good and the bad.
At face value, the phrase “war and peace” is contradictory. But these contradictions make us human. We say we want balance but continue to pile on commitment after commitment. We strive for a healthier diet but always sneak that extra cookie on our way out of Foco. It is easy for us to think one thing and do something else or to try upholding some set of values while our lifestyles tell a different story.
At Dartmouth, the most notable body of water for many students is one that doesn’t make any waves — the Connecticut River, a favorite swimming spot whenever it is warm outside. The river holds a special place in the hearts of many people on campus, especially during sophomore summer. Swimming in the river’s pleasantly cool waters with the sun shining on your face is pure bliss. And the dams spaced along the river mean that in certain spots, the water feels completely still, no waves or current to be felt.
We’ve all heard the saying “age is but a number,” and we see it right before our eyes here at Dartmouth. Though we are mostly all in our early 20s, sometimes it feels as if we are running out of time. Deadline after deadline, term after term, we’re always looking one step ahead, and our time here flies right past us. We worry about our summer plans in winter, what classes we are going to take next term while we’re in the middle of this term and where we’re going to be employed when we’re still students. In the face of all this planning, graduation comes along right before we know it, and we’re left wondering what the heck happened to the past four years.
When we think of blueprints, a lot of things come to mind: planning, designing, rearranging. We use blueprints and their corresponding process of design thinking to construct the soundest building, to create the best D-Plan and even to solve our problem sets. As students, we like having steps to follow in order to ultimately be successful. Having things planned out provides us with a sense of reassurance, with the comfort of knowing that it will all make sense in the end. But sometimes, we hit a block in the road, and things don’t go exactly as planned. Even so, things have a funny way of working out.
The Dartmouth bubble is a universally acknowledged reality on this campus. Living in rural New Hampshire while also attending a school that takes up so much of our free time with academics and extracurriculars severely inhibits our access to news about the outside world and, perhaps more importantly, our willingness to care about that news. And at a school where so many students come from the highest socioeconomic strata, the most concerning part of this reality is that most of us have lived in a bubble for the span of our entire lives.
When we think of admissions, especially at this time of year, we usually think of the college application process — and of all the rejections and acceptances that come along with it. Besides being defined as the process of gaining entrance into an organization, however, an admission can also be an admission of truth, or even an admission of guilt.
Two times. That’s the number of times Carolyn has tried out for a capella groups here: once freshman year and once sophomore year. As she was reminded this past weekend at Dartmouth Idol, this school has way more singing talent than its size might suggest. Seriously. It’s like everybody here can belt a tune or two. As disappointed as she may have been to have toiled through the day-long auditions and the call-backs at midnight, only to receive a “no,” being rejected from the coveted singing clubs allowed her to pursue something that she had never done in high school but had always wanted to try — the school newspaper. One door closes, another door opens, as the saying goes. Nikhita thinks that being rejected from her “dream school” during college application season was in fact a blessing in disguise, because she would have never realized that Dartmouth was actually her real dream school … or have been writing this week’s editor’s note. It’s funny how things work out. Meeting and covering incredible people, making friends with those who started out as “coworkers,” Carolyn and Nikhita have realized how, in some ways, they were lucky to face rejection right off the bat. And, a whirlwind of 40 issues later, Carolyn writes this final editor’s note with a bit of reluctance and a lot of gratitude for what The D has given her, while Nikhita has high hopes for the future. This week, in the last issue of Mirror for the term, we suggest you look out for the silver linings in your life.
Risk is a basic principle in economics: investors are willing to take on risks in exchange for a better return on their investment. At Dartmouth, we’re taking risks all the time, from plunging into Occom pond during Winter Carnival, enrolling in a class just because it sounds cool or sending a hopeful flitz to a crush. Sometimes taking these risks pay off, other times not so much, but we’re willing to do so for the chance of making our short time here all the more worthwhile. In this week’s issue of Mirror, we encourage you to take a leap of faith and join us as we explore the various risks we take — from sharing spaces with people who at first glance may seem to hold very different values than us, to choosing an unconventional career path. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in.
It’s Week Eight, and by now, most of us have settled into a routine ... only for it to all end in a couple of weeks, when we reset with another term. Routines can be habits that we force ourselves to follow, in hopes of being the best versions of ourselves. Carolyn purposefully signed up for an 8:45 a.m. gym class this term, knowing her first class would otherwise start at 2:10 p.m. She also started listening to podcasts while walking around campus rather than blasting electronic music (while the latter is a fitting soundtrack to her life it doesn’t necessarily keep her up to date on the world’s happenings). This term, Nikhita has taken up a habit of waking up earlier than five minutes before her first class starts, with King Arthur Flour pastries being her lure to go do work in the library in the mornings. She has also started frequenting the gym more often as a way to blow off some steam, because sometimes winter term just becomes too much. At the same time, however, old habits die hard. Routines can also be actions that we guiltily follow, but do nothing to change. Carolyn admits to having recently been hooked onto caffeine, and Nikhita woefully regrets her nail-biting ways. What are the routines that we follow on campus? Is reading the Mirror every Wednesday part of yours?
Love Valentine’s Day? Or do you hate it, proclaiming it to be Singles Awareness Day instead? Unfortunately, Singles Day already exists, and won’t happen until later this year — on Nov. 11 (11/11, get it?). Chinese e-retailer giant Alibaba has held Singles Day, a major sale event, for the past 10 years, with $1 billion dollars being sold over the site in just the first minute-and-a-half this past year. Alibaba might be on to something — you may be lonely, so how about a new watch? Singles Day, while not explicitly about celebrating being single, parallels the commercialism of Valentine’s Day in the States. Bouquets will be frantically ordered last-minute online, chocolates will be cleared off the shelves of CVS and restaurants will be packed with couples trying to enjoy an intimate meal with dozens of other couples sitting a few feet away. Even though so much time, effort and money is put into the day, maybe the hype is worth it — perhaps it reminds us to show our appreciation for our loved ones, a reminder that shouldn’t necessarily be needed, but possibly, it is called for to take a little time and appreciate one another and ourselves. Gift or not.
We have different ways of dealing with stress. Some will write down everything they need to get done in the next 24 hours and go down the list, chipping away at a seemingly large mountain of to-dos and don’t-forgets. Others will push off what they need to get done — “Hey, I haven’t cleaned my room in a while, let me rearrange my shelves instead of starting this paper due on Friday.” But it’s almost universally understood that being told to “chill out” is, in most cases, unhelpful. No, taking a chill pill won’t help me ace this test or interview tomorrow. Wow, does it sound like we need to calm down? Excuse you, it’s week six, the part of the term when things aren’t fun anymore. If you’re like us and are in desperate need of a break, explore this week’s issue and chill out with us.