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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.
“Leap of faith.” What comes to mind? Many of us have grown up hearing this phrase associated with optimism or hope, but I wonder what ties it to fear. Though varied, here are some insightful thoughts on perceiving the “upcoming” and the “unknown” from your very own seniors on campus.
I am sure many of you have taken a leap of faith and applied to study abroad. The application deadline was Feb. 1. If you didn’t, I recommend that you do next year. My two terms abroad, in Spain and Cuba, have been my richest learning experiences at Dartmouth. However, merely signing up for a program is not enough. It is up to you to maximize your time abroad.
With summer internship application season in full swing and, for some, the final Dartmouth term ever just around the corner, students across campus are being faced with a question many love to ask but few like to answer: what are you planning to do after graduation?
Unlike many of her peers during junior summer, Rachel Kesler ’19 chose to forgo joining the money-making corporate exodus into the high rises of consulting, finance and tech firms. Instead, she chose to work in a place she loves — the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. Kesler lauds taking the position of assistant manager of the Lodge as one of the best risks she’s taken in her Dartmouth career.
“Risk it for the biscuit!” “Do the damn thing!” “Ball the f— up!”
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?
The scene at play is familiar: you and your friends approach Webster Avenue, shivering in a thin fracket, wondering where you’ll hide said fracket and casually planning the order in which you’ll visit the various fraternities. An underlying hum of music reverberates from the various house basements into the night, and as you get closer, the familiar smell of Keystone Light curls under your nose. Perhaps you find yourself standing on the steps to Alpha Chi Alpha or Chi Gamma Epsilon, hoping to play some pong or slap cup, or maybe you’re pushing your way through the crowd to get into Beta Alpha Omega, eager to dance away the inhibitions created by a stressful institution. Regardless of what you seek, nightlife at Dartmouth has become invariably tied to the Greek system. The situation poses an interesting question: how do Dartmouth students spend their nights, and does nightlife even exist outside the confines of Webster Avenue?
It was a Sunday around 8 p.m., and I was walking out of the Class of 1953 Commons, the dining hall known to Dartmouth students as “Foco,” with a friend after a warm dinner. As we were about to step outside, she paused and exclaimed, “Oh my God, what?! They’re playing ‘Colder Weather.’ Why is the Foco playlist going to make me cry?”
If you know me or have read anything I’ve written for The Dartmouth, you know that I am a true academic. Therefore, I am clearly incredibly qualified give you definitive summaries of all of Dartmouth’s study spaces. Strap in folks.
How long does it take to break a bad habit? According to the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 66 days for the mind and body to accustom to meaningful, lasting change. Sixty-six days?! That’s an entire term at school here. We didn’t shoot out the womb addicted to our cell phones or playing pong. So what gives?
You can take naps anywhere, from the Tower Room in Baker Library on Sunday to your friends’ room while you are out on a Saturday night. They can be long or short — and depending how you look at it, helpful or harmful.
If you know me at all, you might know that my favorite time of day is right when I wake up in the morning — something that not a lot of people, especially college students, would agree with me on. For me, there’s something so exciting and refreshing about the early morning: the crisp morning air, a warm, invigorating shower and the prospect of a yummy breakfast ahead. Hopefully, as I take you through a typical morning of mine — a Monday versus a Saturday, because they’re … well, pretty different — you’ll find a tip or two that’ll bring a little more sparkle and joy to your mornings here at Dartmouth.
While many universities require students to take classes in a second language, Dartmouth is unique with its use of language “drill” classes. These classes serve as a supplement to students’ normal language courses and are taught by a fellow Dartmouth student — a drill instructor — who is fluent in the language. Drill emphasizes repetition, with the instructor repeatedly cueing individual students to articulate sentences with slight changes each time. Students must pay close attention to the repeated sentences in order to understand exactly what they will have to say when the instructor selects them to speak. One of the primary goals of drill is to acquaint students with conjugating verbs and forming complete sentences on the fly by repeating phrases.
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.
This isn’t another article about the Dartmouth “duck syndrome” trope that’s been discussed half to death. We get it! Kids here want to put up a good front. The best front. They want the Goldman Sachs job, the place at a top med school, the hot significant other who will become their alum trophy spouse to have supergenius, Dartmouth-green-clad babies with.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love is definitely in the air. As people make plans for this upcoming Thursday night — whether that entails finding a special someone in a frat basement, having a romantic dinner out with a partner or perhaps celebrating another annual Single’s Awareness Day with friends — some will find themselves wrapped up in conversation over the phone, facing the less-than-ideal but unfortunately inevitable reality of a long-distance relationship.
We’ve all experienced the absolute joy that results from cancelled plans. Maybe that time you once allotted for your club meeting can now go toward that coveted extra hour of sleep, or you can get one episode further in your latest Netflix binge. But what happens when cancellations incite more joy than the activity itself? If you’re always excited about cancelled plans, it might be time to ask yourself if you really should’ve had those plans in the first place.
You should really finish up that problem set, but you should also show up to that social event you planned. You should turn in that internship and job application ASAP, but you should also be sleeping more to manage your health. The pressure creeping over your shoulder. To work? Or to play? Are your 20s and 30s your “prime years?” Work now, play later? Work hard, play harder?