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As the College gears up for fall term, student groups are adjusting their operations to a new campus reality. Whether service or performance based, clubs face challenges in adapting to COVID-19 restrictions and to the hybrid format of an in-person and remote fall term.
Lately, I have spent more time than ever before thinking about the future — not just my individual plans, but what the concept of the future means. As a history major and art history minor, my mind is usually focused on the past. These historical perspectives are perpetually useful for understanding the present moment, even the “unprecedented” present moment we face today. Recently, I have been trying to translate my inclination to ask and answer the question, “How did we get here?” into the question, “Where are we going?”
As the Black Lives Matter movement gains increased momentum across the country, few Dartmouth students have kept silent. Social media has become a powerful player in the movement as a tool both to educate and organize.
We all know their names — Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner — and the list goes on for far too long. We mourn the loss of those whose lives were unjustly cut short, and condemn the systemic racism that riddles American culture, institutions and politics. But the recent wave of protests and activism suggests that now is not just a time for grievance — it’s a time for action.
News coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement has shown scenes of peaceful marching as well as looting and burning during protests. The Dartmouth sat down with history professor Matthew Delmont to discuss the history and background behind the various types of responses to racial injustice.
Gab Smith ’22 took AAAS 11, “Introduction to African Studies” last fall as a prerequisite for the African and African American Studies minor. Before enrolling in the class, a friend told her it would be relatively easy; this came as a relief to Smith, who was looking for a less intensive class to balance out a time-consuming lab commitment.
I first heard about Dartmouth as a high school sophomore. I was sitting in my honors English class when I overheard a junior say that Dartmouth was her dream school. At that point, I was still well over a year away from spending mental energy on college applications. I had always envisioned myself attending the University of Texas at Austin. Regardless, the idea of Dartmouth must have clattered around in my subconscious for a while because when it came time to apply to some dream schools, Dartmouth made the cut along with Harvard, Stanford and Yale.
One hallmark of the Dartmouth term is that it’s doled out in portion-controlled weeks, one after the next. Week one is for adjustment; week two is for “catching up” with once-per-term friends; week three begins the long and terrible blur of midterms that never end; week six is the termly weekend extravaganza; week eight is for formals; week nine is for wishing you were somewhere else.
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.
When I first came to Dartmouth, I was aware of several aspects of my identity. I was a lover of books. I wanted to study English and creative writing so that I could write stories that helped other people the way the stories I had read had helped me. I was white. I was a woman. I was middle-class. I was from Colorado, and I loved the mountains.
Over the last two weeks, as I’ve logged on to Zoom to watch some of my closest friends wrap up their Dartmouth careers with thesis presentations (and one sweet radio play), my brain has had ample opportunity to play evil comparison games. I often feel like I didn’t get the things out of my Dartmouth career that I wanted going into it, and it’s hard for me to remind myself to treasure what I did get out of the past four years. But when I truly take the time to give myself credit where credit is due, I’m able to notice that for each bullet point I missed, I gained my own experience of friendship, care and perseverance.
When the College announced that summer term would be remote, members of the Class of 2022 had to decide whether to have their sophomore summer online or push it off until next year. Three sophomores — Ronnie Ahlborn ’22, Lidia Balanovich ’22, and Ian Stiehl ’22 — settled on doing remote internships this summer instead of online classes.
The last time I was in a classroom was on March 11, for my German exam. My professor put a bottle of hand sanitizer on my desk, in direct response to my frequent anxiety-fueled comments about the coronavirus — voiced in my best German accent, of course. The next day, we got the announcement that the first half of spring term classes would be online.
For many outgoing Dartmouth students, senior spring represents a chance to create a fitting end to their time at the College. Having finally completed their academic requirements, seniors have the opportunity to create meaningful, fulfilling academic experiences in the classroom.
Nearly every essay I wrote during my first two terms at Dartmouth was composed at 10 a.m. on a Saturday, sitting in the lobby of Baker-Berry with a King Arthur Flour scone and an over-cinnamoned cappuccino in front of me. I’d never had any reason to believe my writing ritual was problematic, but when faced with my first essay of the remote term, composed at home and far from Blobby, I came to a grave realization: I was incapable of writing without KAF. Playing both Pavlov and his dogs, I had unwittingly conditioned myself to rely on the ritual.
When I set out to write an article on how the coronavirus has affected senior honors theses, I searched the Dartmouth website for a page describing what a thesis is. I found no such page. Each academic department has its own description of what a thesis looks like, and even within those departments, every project is unique.
If you're anything like me, this term has been a pernicious cycle of two extremes: eating an entire family-sized bag of PopCorners in one TikTok-fueled sitting, and then shamefully running five miles in repentance.
It’s week nine, and you arrive at Baker-Berry Library at 8 a.m. There are no people to be found, but belongings were left overnight, claiming the circle tables on 3FB and 4FB. You settle for a cubicle instead. Foolishly, you bring your belongings with you to grab lunch — a freshman mistake. When you return, every single cubicle is taken, and now you struggle to find a study space anywhere in the library. There is a palpable feeling of tension in the air. It’s finals season.
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.
“For the first time since freshman fall …”