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“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.” This was the opening line for Marina Keegan’s final column in the Yale Daily News, published days after her graduation. Keegan was a magna cum laude graduate with a promising future as a journalist at The New Yorker. Already an accomplished writer, Keegan had received an award for her play “Utility Monster” for best stage reading at a playwriting festival in Manhattan.
As a high school senior, the colleges I visited prided themselves on their undergraduate experiences. Admissions tour guides emphasized the depth and breadth of the opportunities available — study abroads, spring break internships, corporate recruiting partnerships and more. College was depicted as an all-you-can-eat buffet, where the idea that there was a single route to a degree was preposterous. At the same time, these same admissions tour guides spoke glowingly of their colleges’ four-year graduation rates. Dartmouth was no exception. But spending a greater number of years in higher education should not be so universally considered as indicative of failure. The benefits of a longer undergraduate education, which allows students to undergo a broader and deeper range of academic and non-academic experiences, outweigh the costs, financial and otherwise.
The Atlantic’s Molly Ball wrote in September 2017 that many Americans “resent having to press 1 for English when they call customer service.” One might note that the mere motion of “pressing 1” is an odd action to complain about, but then, the complaint isn’t truly about phones or any number on their keypads. Instead, the objection to “pressing 1” is about the idea that, as an American, one should not have to undertake any effort to indulge in using the English language or indulge the outsiders coming in to hear — shock! horror! — Spanish.
She woke just as the light in the room went from dark to dim. She lay on her side, the blanket clutched tightly to her chin but in a tangle at her hips. Her ankles and feet were exposed. The air in the room was warm, though — the silence draped itself, softly, covering everything. The darkness was gentle. Her eyelids blinked and came up to rest halfway. As the fuzziness receded from the edges of her vision, amorphous forms crept slowly into a vague definition. The beds lined around the walls of the room took shape, then so did the varied shapes and lumps of slumber that inhabited them. Everything was still. She took a deep breath.
Last week, I attended two dinner events, ordered free gear and learned about two funding opportunities on campus. Such is the power of the knowledge I received via Listserv, the software with the capability to forward emails to the entire Dartmouth campus.
On Sunday, Oct. 1, the largest mass shooting in modern American history took place in Las Vegas. The usual questions came immediately to media attention: What was the shooter’s motive? Was this an act of terror? But no one second-guessed a critical part of the story: The perpetrator was a he. Since 1982, 91 mass shootings have occurred with more than four victims, and of those only three were committed by women. Mass shootings in America are a gendered issue, something that we need to acknowledge and question. What aspects of masculinity are contributing to mass shootings — and how can we take concrete steps not only to eliminate tragedies but also to change social attitudes surrounding gun violence?
Since the inauguration of what seems to be becoming a daily tantrum in a chamber pot, the previous administration and Congress appear more sophisticated and productive by a mere tweet. Currently, Washington D.C. is a circus of feckless sycophants working with an ill-coiffed buffoon. A greater degree of equanimity would sharpen the responses that are working to render this embarrassing moment in US history only four years in duration.
Every woman deserves uninhibited control over her body. To question her dominion over her very self is to threaten her most intimate security, to impose inequity in interpersonal relationships, to inherently discriminate against her in professional environments and to put an essential element of her ability to lead a healthy, productive and happy life into the hands someone else. How can any person claim to know the best or most morally right path of action for anybody other than himself? Yet in opposition to what ought to be an unalienable right, a war for reproductive rights has been waged for decades, and on Oct. 6, President Donald Trump’s administration predictably stoked the flame.
After racial slurs were found written outside of the dorm rooms of five black cadet candidates at the United States Air Force Academy, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the head of the preparatory institution, addressed a crowd of cadets on Sept. 28. In a roughly five-minute lecture that neither minced words nor beat around the bush, Silveria said that “small thinking and horrible ideas” had no place at the school. Those who could not treat their fellow cadet candidates with dignity and respect had to “get out.” When addressing the crowd as a whole, Silveria said: “If you’re outraged by those words then you’re in the right place ... You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being.”
In the fall of 2016, conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos came to Dartmouth to speak, despite vocal objections from many students and faculty. Last spring, Native American studies professor N. Bruce Duthu ’80 declined his appointment as the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences amid concerns over his support of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Both of these events roused dialogue about Dartmouth’s commitment to supporting diverse ideas, but they also raised a larger question. What obligation does Dartmouth, as a private academic institution, have to uphold free speech and at what point should Dartmouth comment on and act upon the public actions of its students and faculty?
As a senior, I now get alumni and first-years asking for my reflections on my experiences and fleeting time at Dartmouth. Like most other seniors, I generally provide advice revolving around the intimate student-faculty academic relationships I have developed and on forging my own identity and academic and professional paths amid the conformist pressures and culture of our small, wooded campus. I would wager most students and alumni are aware of the pivotal importance of these factors, probably to the point of them becoming cliché. But one aspect of the Dartmouth experience that I think gets underplayed are the resources and programs Dartmouth provides to spend time studying abroad. Individual departments and the charming Off-Campus Programs office on College Street work incredibly hard to make studying abroad at Dartmouth accessible, inclusive, seamless and culturally enriching. Statistics are thrown around about how many students study abroad and how accessible it is, but it often is not conveyed just how eye-opening and life-changing spending time outside of your normal sphere of life can be.
Originally coined by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Kevin Ashton in the late 1990s, the term “Internet of things” refers to the networking of small physical devices such as sensors, cameras and microphones through the internet. Enabled by recent advances in artificial intelligence and low-power microprocessors, technology giants such as Amazon and Google have brought affordable smart speakers — Alexa and Home respectively — to consumers. In addition, many companies are now producing smart lightbulbs and thermostats which can be operated through a smartphone app or devices such as smart speakers. The possibilities offered by these devices cannot be understated. IoT devices offer an economical means of collecting data, streaming music and making homes more energy efficient.
Earlier this term, a floormate told me how guilty she felt for watching YouTube videos unrelated to coursework, something she had never felt in high school. While Dartmouth students have a reputation of being laid-back, even as a first-year I have seen how deeply imbued students are in the corporate recruiting world. As week five approaches and the term reaches its halfway mark, this balancing act becomes a juggling one. We manage academic and athletic schedules, friendships and relationships, healthy eating and declining DBA. This seems logical — most of us are Dartmouth students because we are wired to take advantage of every opportunity we can. But despite the extent to which our classmates pretend to have it all, not everything is possible. Unless we consciously change it, America’s emphasis on stress and corporate culture begins during our four years at college.
To most American citizens, the small Caribbean island of Puerto Rico seems to be distant and wholly irrelevant to the country as a whole. Indeed, only 54 percent of Americans are aware that the 3.5 million inhabitants of the island are U.S. citizens. And they are suffering, not just from Hurricane Maria, but from underlying issues worsened by the island’s territorial status. Washington has a duty, therefore, to protect its citizens by accepting Puerto Rico into its ranks as the 51st state in the Union.
I ran into something strange over the summer.
“Acche Din” — “Good Days” in Hindi — was the slogan that helped bring Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party to power in India in 2014. Now, more than three years into Modi’s term, India has yet to experience those promised good times. Modi has put India into an undesirable position. The BJP’s reforms have not gone far enough, the economy is not growing as quickly as expected and the country is increasingly being divided along ethno-religious lines.
We live in a time of tremendous social change. America enjoys more pluralism, civil rights and social equality than at any other point in its 241-year history. In the social media-dominated election of 2016, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest generational voting bloc. American democracy is more open, young and diverse than ever before. However, this country systematically denies the birthright of voting along a stark line of social, moral, political and economic inequality. This condemnation of young Americans to second-class citizenship delegitimizes our democracy, hinders long-term policymaking and violates human rights. We must recognize the inalienable voting rights of our minors.
Today, we often let convenience make our decisions for us. The easiest and perhaps the quickest option usually wins. The rapid growth and success of online retailers such as Amazon offer proof that many of us would rather click a few buttons than get ourselves to a store to buy the things we need or want. It’s just so easy. In the past two weeks, I have ordered a rain jacket, face wash, a phone charger and a comforter through Amazon. Yes, I could have walked down to CVS or taken the free shuttle to West Lebanon to buy these items, but why leave campus when I can make purchases from the comfort of my dorm room? Yet this convenience comes with an inherent trade-off in sustainability. Ordering things online multiplies the amount of packaging needed. Instead of the singular box an item comes packaged in at the store, the shipping process uses an additional box and tape that would not otherwise be needed.
As we approach Homecoming this weekend, it is important to reflect on who does and, more importantly, who does not feel at home at this school and in this country. Home, whether it is a physical place or a feeling, means something different for everyone. For alumni returning to campus, Homecoming represents an opportunity to relive traditions of their college days. For the administration, it represents an opportunity to raise large sums through alumni donations. These donations, generated by alumni nostalgia, depend on students’ active participation in the time-honored traditions that celebrate Dartmouth.