The College has an impressive track record so far.
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The College has an impressive track record so far.
After I received my college application results, I knew Dartmouth would be the school I’d end up at. However, in that stressful but happy period of deciding where to go, there were a handful of schools that tempted me — and not for reasons I originally deemed important. I never thought a campus’s aesthetic was a critical factor in deciding a college, and while it may not be the most prioritized, I have learned that they definitely has an effect on other potential students.
The Dartmouth Coach slowed as it approached the curb of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, crushing the small remnants of snow beneath its tires. As I stepped off the bus, the sun speared its light through the clouds, and the slight breeze carried the faint fragrance of flowers. I took in a deep breath and I stood with hope, eager for the opportunity of a great spring term that lay ahead.
Last month, Governor Chris Sununu signed into law a voter residency bill that will require New Hampshire voters to be residents of the state beginning in 2019, making it substantially more difficult for out-of-state college students to vote. What are your thoughts on the new law?
On a blistering September afternoon a few days before the start of classes, around half of the Class of 2021 is sitting in Spaulding Auditorium. The faces on stage are serious. “How many of you were the valedictorian at your high school?” one of them asks. Hands go up into the air, too many to count. Reality comes crashing down on the shoulders of hundreds of nervous first-years. As they file out of the auditorium 20 minutes later, one student turns to her friend. “Guess I peaked in high school,” she says. They laugh nervously.
This past spring term, I went to the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact club fair and happened to be roped towards a stand titled “Dementia Scholars.” The poster’s station was manned by a handful of bright-eyed students, eager to catch my attention. They gave me the whole spiel — who they were, what they did, how often they did it. And without much thought, I wrote down my email on their list and forgot about it once I left.
Despite my interest in politics, I have no plans to run for political office anytime soon. While I firmly believe that political participation is important at any age, the rush of millennials to run for public office in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency is an ineffective and reactionary approach, and it’s not what America needs right now. College-aged students are inexperienced, unprepared and are substituting legislation for political activism and protest.
It was a seemingly perfect October day — gusts of wind blowing the still-vibrant orange leaves in circles on the sidewalk, a vision of the idyllic New England autumn that every Dartmouth student is promised — when the community first received news of the sexual misconduct investigation into the allegations against three well-known and actively publishing professors in the psychological and brain sciences department.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the art of “B.S.” — a word too impolite to print in full, but too ubiquitous to shy away from.
The Dartmouth calendar is carefully planned.
Democracy rests on people’s ability to respectfully disagree. When America’s democratic fabric has eroded to the point where political opponents become incorrigible enemies, the last thing it needs is more incivility. Unfortunately, incivility is the type of discourse many people seem to promote.
After completing my first year at Dartmouth, taking a step back from campus life was almost as overwhelming as plunging into it. Life back in the “real” world moves slowly, particularly if one’s off-term does not include an internship, a research grant or any other educational endeavor. Friends go home at the day’s end, and no regularly scheduled club meetings fill up one’s evenings. Students find themselves with a lot of free time and little idea of what to do with it.
When someone’s entire career is predicated on ginning up controversy for the sake of attention, it is never really all that surprising to see them worm their way back into the media spotlight. Still, one could be forgiven for feeling slightly taken aback at seeing Milo Yiannopoulos’s name in the headlines again, given the ignominy of his departure from Breitbart News and the loss of his book deal after video surfaced of him repeatedly defending and downplaying the sexual abuse of minors. The capacity for shame, however, has never been much of an impediment for self-promoters of any political affiliation. Sure enough, Yiannopoulos made his triumphant return to the front pages of news websites in recent weeks with statements, characterized by his usual rapier-like wit and tact, that he “can’t wait for vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.”
The College seems to be in the middle of an identity crisis. Viewing itself as different from the way it is perceived by the outside world, determined to be more than just Dear Old Dartmouth and her loyal Wall Street sons, the College appears to be attempting to set the record straight. Dartmouth students, the College seems to be saying, are outdoorsy, and every Dartmouth experience starts with Dartmouth Outing Club First Year Trips. They’re well-read and philosophical; as true liberal arts students, studio art majors take engineering courses and engineers read Plato. They’re athletic powerhouses, vying for national championships left and right (hello, skiing!) and they’re creative types — did you know Mindy Kaling and Dr. Seuss went here?
Anyone studying a humanities subject has heard this at least once since declaring their major: that STEM majors (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) get paid more. Firms ranging from investment banks to technology giants need people who can analyze large chunks of data. In terms of career placement, future earnings, and, to an extent, prestige, a degree in the humanities seems to lose the argument over utility and applicability every time. But it does not have to be seen this way. In fact, the myth of STEM superiority was not always so.
One Dartmouth tradition looms large on campus at the beginning of each academic year: the bonfire. My first year at Dartmouth, it stood 35 feet tall and had a wooden “19” at its peak. My class marched around campus that evening as friends poured out of dorms to join the excited torrent heading to the Green. We were energized by the ecstatic cries of older sons and daughters of Dartmouth. Two of the people I ran around the flames with are best friends I have been lucky enough to make. The night was unforgettable. As a rising senior, I am worried that incoming freshmen may not have the same unforgettable experience because the bonfire tradition may no longer exist.
“I’m really glad we’re in South House,” a friend said in passing during Orientation last fall. “The black scarves match everything.” As excited as we were to discover that our randomly-assigned free accessories would match nearly everything in our wardrobes, the color of those scarves were the only real thing we knew about the House Communities into which we had been thrust.
When I visited Dartmouth in the summer of 2014, I walked around the campus and thought to myself, “This is it.” This was heaven. This was what college should look like. Everyone appeared to be happy and safe, basking in the sun and smiling on their way to classes during their sophomore summer. I did not know what hid behind the faces of some of the coiffed young men around me. Passing them on the Green, I did not know the potential some of them had to hurt. I did not know the potential some of them had to rape.
Last week, Harvard professor Dr. Anthony Abraham Jack visited the College to discuss the growing food insecurity epidemic within higher education. He, like many of today’s students, lacked an adequate supply of nutritious, affordable food in college. During his talk, the audience affirmed his call to end campus hunger. No one transitioned to discuss solutions.