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The end of a term calls for relief. The end of a school year calls for reflection. The end of one’s time at Dartmouth calls for something harder to identify — for pride and gratitude, but also sorrow for all of the friends, places and traditions that graduating seniors must leave behind. This year, the end of spring brings a new kind of grief. Amid one of the most turbulent times our generation has ever seen, the Class of 2020 must seek a sense of closure for their college years, despite losing their last chance to be together on campus.
It’s week nine, and 20S is quickly approaching its conclusion. The final weeks of spring, as seniors prepare to graduate and another academic year comes to a close, tend to be particularly significant. However, with remote learning, many of the rituals and traditions that occur just before the transition to summer have presented themselves in different ways. Instead of scrambling to spend our last bit of DBA on delicious King Arthur Flour pastries — relishing in the purchase of full pies and massive bags of granola — we’re recreating our favorite blueberry muffins from home. Finally making a move on our recent Last Chances match in a frat basement has transitioned into sliding into their Instagram DMs. And deciding what to wear for a senior thesis presentation is now making sure that your camera is tipped high enough to block the pajama pants you’ve worn for the past week.
Dartmouth students live in 10-week cycles. The start of a term is always exciting — fresh classes and activities make Dartmouth feel new again, even if you’re in your fifth consecutive on term. By week three or four, club meetings, social events and midterms all settle into a steady rhythm. But in the blink of an eye, finals arrive. Weeks eight through 10 flash by, then the whole cycle begins again.
Decisions we make in quarantine are very different from the ones we make in normal life. A question like, “What will I wear to class today?” has simplified to “Which old pajama T-shirt will I put on?” And deciding whether to wear jeans or sweatpants has become a no-brainer. On the other hand, quarantine has also made some of the most menial deliberations seem more important. Suddenly, the choice between eating cornflakes and Cap’n Crunch for breakfast has become a 20-minute debate, ending with you deciding to dish out both.
Well, here we are: week six of spring term, and week eight or so of social distancing. The curve of coronavirus cases may be flattening, but most of us are still exactly where we were a month ago — at home, alone. And by now, isolation feels almost natural. Amid talk of what the post-pandemic world will look like, it seems we’ve already arrived at a “new normal,” even if we hope this normal won’t last for much longer.
We can all admit that time has been passing by weirdly in quarantine. Your afternoon can feel like it’s going slower than the last five minutes of your 10A, but then suddenly it’s Friday and another week has passed. Even with the demarcations of classes and meetings, it can be difficult to keep track of time, and sometimes you wish you never threw out your childhood day-of-the-week underwear. And little is more horrifying than receiving a notification of your weekly screen-time, informing you that you’ve spent an average of eight hours a day on your phone. Although it seems like our lives are stuck in a time warp, time is still passing and things are changing.
Let’s face it: Zoom calls are awkward. In those seconds between when you join the meeting and your lecture begins, what are you supposed to do? Prepare your pen and notepad? Sip your morning coffee? Ask how the professor’s day is going, even though you know every day is the same in quarantine? Or perhaps you resort to a small talk staple and describe the weather where you are.
We all know the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s supposed to inspire optimism in the face of adversity and get us to make the most of a bad situation. I, for one, have never liked this saying. What about the sugar? The water? Who is going to be squeezing all of those lemons? As a person with extensive childhood lemonade stand experience, I can tell you that making lemonade isn’t that easy. Unless you add strength, creativity and collaboration, lemons are just plain sour.
April in Hanover brings bird songs and flower buds and 50-degree days that feel like summer. Students shed coats and swarm the Collis porch, treading through puddles of melted snow to get to class. But this month, thousands of feet won’t churn the paths of the Green to mud. Instead, most of us are hundreds or thousands of miles from campus, learning how to do Dartmouth from home.
This week’s issue of Mirror came together a bit differently than usual. Production is not happening on the second floor of Robinson Hall. We are not sitting at our desks, listening to the buzzing energy of Dartmouth’s campus seep through the windows of Robo. Instead, this issue has come to fruition through Zoom meetings, phone interviews and writers and editors typing away from different areas of the world (most likely in their pajamas). We are living in a new reality brought about by COVID-19. Uncertainty lingers in many aspects of our lives — how will this end? When will it end? What will the world look like when the coronavirus is finally contained? What will our lives look like? As 20S begins, Dartmouth students — and all students — must tackle the additional challenge of taking classes during this chaotic time. Although we have little control over the spread of this virus, we can choose how we approach moving forward. That is why we, at Mirror, titled this issue “New Beginnings.” This term will be a difficult one for all of us — students, faculty and family. But with a new reality comes a new opportunity, and it’s up to us to decide how we will make the most of our time spent apart.
Welcome, Class of 2023! In case you haven’t yet received Dartmouth paraphernalia with “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” splashed across the cover, it’s time you learned about your new favorite author. Also known as Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel graduated from Dartmouth in 1925 before he went on to write over 60 books. While in Hanover, Geisel worked for the Jack-o-Lantern, Dartmouth’s humor magazine, adopted his famous pen name and even violated prohibition laws. Though Geisel is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in the Dr. Seuss Room in Baker Library, at the Geisel School of Medicine and, of course, in the hundreds of millions of children’s books on shelves around the world. One might even say that Geisel is Dartmouth’s most successful alumnus of all time. So sit back, relax and take notes from the Doctor himself.
They say sophomore summer is different from all other terms — and it’s true. From June to August, Dartmouth students swim more, tan more, eat more farmer’s market kettle corn and in some cases, sing, dance and laugh a lot more than any other term.
Picture a Saturday afternoon on the Connecticut River, friends laughing beside you and your toes growing numb in the water. It’s hot, it’s sunny, and you “forgot” to bring your reading for Jews 11. Now picture the river jammed bank to bank with rafts and tubes, your entire class drunkenly drifting downstream in a jumble of swimsuits, abandoned flipflops and floating kegs of beer. That is Tubestock, sophomore summer’s long lost “big weekend” tradition — and you’ll never see anything like it again.
The term we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. Since we arrived at Dartmouth — or even before, during tours or information sessions — upperclassmen and alumni told us that sophomore summer would be the best 10 weeks of our college experience. Expectations are high as we text home to convince our high school friends that summer school is a blessing, not a curse. But if two years at Dartmouth have taught us anything, it’s that 10 weeks fly by in an instant. How can we make each moment last, knowing that in two short months the Class of 2021 will disperse to foreign study destinations and internships around the country?
Two hundred and fifty years is a long time. For two and a half centuries, every class at Dartmouth has left its mark on the College — it’s hard to imagine that one class can stand out. But after seeing the Class of 2019’s commitment to making Dartmouth more inclusive and safe for all students, we know they are leaving the College a better place than it was four years ago. As rising juniors, we are grateful to have learned from the ’19s, and we are excited to keep improving Dartmouth in their legacy.
In 1968, Lynn Lobban became one of the first seven women to attend Dartmouth. Recruited by the theater department, Lobban spent her time at Dartmouth trying to prove her worth in a daunting sea of men. In the process, she became a brother at Chi Phi Heorot fraternity and participated in the Parkhurst Takeover, Dartmouth students’ anti-Vietnam War demonstration. To Lobban’s frustration, the College did not allow her to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree at Dartmouth because the College had not yet formally ratified coeducation. After attending Dartmouth, Lobban moved to New York to become an actor, singer and dancer. When she was in her fifties, she received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Goddard College in Vermont.
Until recently, I didn’t think it was possible to get sunburned in April ... at least, not in New Hampshire. On one of the first (and few) beautiful days we’ve had this term, I sat outside on the Green for over six hours, doing nothing at all but chatting and people-watching. By the end of the day, my back was striped red where my tank top wasn’t, because in my mind, sunscreen is for beach days in July when the heat is so strong that we pale folk just know we’re going to burn. In the summer, we prepare accordingly.
A few days ago, my friend texted me with horrifying news: on Saturday afternoon at the end of week one, Sanborn Library was full. Armchairs piled with jackets, laptops crammed on tables, every-alcove-occupied kind of full.
If you have ever been inside Rauner Special Collections Library, then you have gazed up at the four glass stories towering over that lovely, sun-lit hall, and probably wondered what they contain. Among other incredible things, the stacks at Rauner hold extensive archives from Dartmouth history: letters, memos, photographs and personal narratives from past students and employees of the College.
When I first arrived at Dartmouth, I was the most undecided of all “undecided” majors. Freshman year, I spiraled through many options until I finally settled on English. Literature has always been my passion, and besides, I am clearly a humanities person.