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I never imagined that I’d write a column in defense of kindness, especially in defense of appreciating small acts of kindness within the hyper-competitive, résumé-driven rat race of college admissions. I was dismayed after reading the April 12 piece by my colleague, Dorothy Qu ’19, that criticizes the New York Times op-ed “Check This Box if You’re a Good Person,” written by former Dartmouth admissions director Rebecca Sabky.
The experience of returning to Dartmouth as a junior is somewhat jarring. Most ’18s have realized, hopefully, that we will be leaving soon, and many will have gotten a taste of what will come next — probably through an internship where they brushed up against the previously inviolable Adult World. Part of what makes this experience more poignant than past work is the understanding that college will end soon.
The end of this spring term will mark the first year of Moving Dartmouth Forward’s full implementation on campus. Despite the establishment of flagship policies such as the budding housing system and the hard alcohol ban, students seem to have adapted when MDF affects us and forgotten its existence when it does not.
It was 4 a.m., and I was in the Digital Arts, Leadership and Innovation Lab when I again found myself in what I’ve dubbed “the limbo.” I had a 10A and a 2A, an application for an internship to submit at midnight, a presentation to put together, tasks to do for my job, a column to write, homework to catch up on and of course, sleep. The magnitude of the amount of work I had to do paralyzed me — instead of making a decision about which task I would tackle next (or not), I sat on the couch and gave in to a feeling of complete helplessness.
On Sept. 11, 2001, two jets originating from Logan International Airport in Boston flew into the World Trade Center towers. Though many initially believed the first crash was accidental, these were confirmed to be terrorist attacks when the second plane flew into the South Tower 17 minutes later. Within the next two hours, two more planes were hijacked by members of al-Qaeda — one struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the other, allegedly targeting the White House or the U.S. Capitol, crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to combat the hijackers. The four attacks were carried out by 19 terrorists.
I have been a conservative since I formed my political views and values early in my secondary school years. To be clear, the word conservatism is defined as the “disposition to preserve or restore what is established and traditional and to limit change.” Admittedly, there are a variety of unrestrictive factions within and interpretations of political conservatism, just as there are of any theory or ideology. These include, but are not limited to, Christian conservatism, paleoconservatism, neoconservatism, libertarian conservatism and moderate conservatism. Personally, my beliefs and values overlap among these groups, aligning with a strong conservative social and fiscal vision while aligning with neoconservatives on foreign policy issues.
I was only 3 years old that day. I was at home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, watching cartoons. An abrupt, loud, repeating noise silenced my show with letters racing across the screen. It said “Emergency” in bold red colors. The screen switched to a news announcement of some sort. That was the first glimpse I had of the twin towers, black smoke covering the tips of the screen. Being an innocent 3 year old, I assumed it was part of the program. At the time, I only knew that Sept. 11 was supposed to be a happy day, but my mother’s birthday had to take the back seat to a large scale terrorist attack.
Every year, Dartmouth accepts a few dozen transfer students. This number usually hovers around 30 to 40 among a pool of approximately 700 applicants. The transfer students come from a vast array of backgrounds, from veterans to varsity athletes. As expected, many of the transfer students come in on a credit deficit, because Dartmouth does not always accept every credit the student has to offer. This can cause transfer students to fall behind, and Dartmouth’s restrictions and protocols only make the situation increasingly difficult for those students.
The other day, I felt compelled to check the website for my high school’s student newspaper. Since arriving at Dartmouth, I hadn’t paid any attention to current events at my old school, and I was curious to see what changed during my first five months at college. Sports highlights, interviews with teachers, movie reviews — typical high school journalism filled the paper, until I stumbled upon an article titled, “Valedictorian and Salutatorian titles will no longer be offered as GPA recognition during graduation.”
The “WELCOME HOME TWENTIES” sign hanging on Robinson Hall is one of the first things that incoming Dartmouth students see on campus. Cascada’s “Everytime We Touch” and Red Foley’s “Salty Dog Rag” are the first songs that they hear at the beginning of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s First-Year Trips. And Cabot cheese — lots of Cabot cheese — is often the first food that students taste when they arrive in Hanover. But once the busses get back from Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, students begin to hear a different trope, a less upbeat and more serious story of the adversities that lie ahead.
Remember five years ago, when the most popular television comedy characters on Saturday Night Live were Bill Hader as Stefon and Kristen Wiig as Gilly? Seth Meyers would introduce Stefon, who would recommend absurd places to go during the weekend, leading the two to end the sketch holding back tears of laughter as Gilly obnoxiously wreaked havoc in her elementary school classroom. Today, lighthearted comedy has evolved into politically centered comedy.
This past Sunday, author and software engineer Susan Fowler published a blog post detailing a horror story of sexual harassment and corporate failure at Uber, the massive ridesharing company. Fowler, who now works at the payment processing company Stripe, had worked for a year as a site-reliability engineer at Uber. A cursory look at her personal website quickly reveals that she’s — to use the industry buzzword — a “rockstar.”
According to statistics from the Department of Defense, fewer than 0.5 percent of Americans serve in the armed forces while less than seven percent of the population have ever served in the military. Of the country’s veteran population, approximately half are over the age of 60. More elected officials in the United States have never served before than at any prior time in our history while the shrinking pool of families that shoulder the burden of armed service are disproportionately generational fighters hailing from middle- and working-class backgrounds.
To my friends on the right:
In a 1963 interview with Life magazine, the newly widowed Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy reflected on her husband’s days in the White House. “At night before we’d go to sleep, Jack liked to play some records; and the song he loved the most came at the end of this record.” The record she referred to was the soundtrack of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s broadway musical, Camelot.
My grandfather, known in our family as Pop-pop, left today after a two-week visit. Every year, he makes a pilgrimage to this part of the family in California, where he soaks in rays of sun that leave his pale skin riddled with basal cell carcinomas. Around twice a year he has these blemishes wiped off his body with blasts of liquid nitrogen. What is left are white scars the color of the moon.
As anyone close to me knows, I love talking politics.
My mom vividly remembers the protests of 1989. She remembers the energy of the crowd as they chanted for the end of the communist government, young men and women like her yearning for a change, the glint of red, yellow and blue as protesters waved the Romanian flag with pride and the feeling of unity and belonging as she stood there in a crowd of thousands standing strong against a common enemy.
This past weekend, students at the University of California, Berkeley protested “alt-right” journalist Milo Yiannopoulos’ planned talk. What began as peaceful demonstrations quickly became violent protests. A group of people — who may have been students — set fire to buildings, allegedly attacked Yiannopoulos’ supporters and advocated far-left ideas that contradict the tenets of our democracy.
The 2016 election was unprecedented. The fact that I can say “Donald Trump is the President of the United States” without being asked what I’ve been smoking is something that would have been nearly inconceivable four years ago — or one year ago. But the Democrats lost. They lost an election that very easily could have been theirs and are now faced with being the minority in the House, Senate, Executive Branch and soon the Supreme Court. Understandably, much Democratic soul-searching has occurred in recent months. Many feel a need to determine where the party failed during the 2016 cycle, and many different explanations have been floated. However, I believe it comes down to a relatively simple fact: the Democrats ran too many candidates who were old and, generally speaking, lacked charisma and a dynamic campaign presence.