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Most Dartmouth students deserted campus in mid-March, to the tune of provost Joseph Helble’s “Important Campus Updates.” It seems that almost as suddenly, pleas to re-open the economy have cropped up across the United States. With the nation in the throes of both a public health crisis and an economic and social disaster, Dartmouth students and professors are grappling with the question of recovery — and how to get the timing right.
Remember when we all thought that with online classes, we were going to have so much free time to watch Netflix, go hiking and maintain a consistent sleep schedule?
Each year, the month of Ramadan provides Muslims with a celebration of faith, community and family. During this year’s Ramadan — which began on April 23 and will run through May 23 — the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many Muslims to search for new ways to spend the holy month.
The everyday comforts of Dartmouth are few and far between these days. Writing is harder outside of Sanborn, a trip to the backyard doesn’t have the same zest as a DOC hike and no matter how much flour you use, your scones never taste quite like they do at KAF. However, no matter how far away from Hanover you feel, you can still hear the voices of home on Dartmouth College Radio.
If this pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that when duty calls, medical professionals answer. From a whistleblower physician in Wuhan to front-line hospital staff in New York City, doctors, nurses and countless other medical workers have taken center stage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We can all admit that time has been passing by weirdly in quarantine. Your afternoon can feel like it’s going slower than the last five minutes of your 10A, but then suddenly it’s Friday and another week has passed. Even with the demarcations of classes and meetings, it can be difficult to keep track of time, and sometimes you wish you never threw out your childhood day-of-the-week underwear. And little is more horrifying than receiving a notification of your weekly screen-time, informing you that you’ve spent an average of eight hours a day on your phone. Although it seems like our lives are stuck in a time warp, time is still passing and things are changing.
Driving up to Hanover at the start of my freshman year, my imagination kicked into overdrive: I’d find my best friends, take amazing classes with life-changing professors, throw myself into the social scene and continue my passion for skating by joining Dartmouth’s figure skating club. Unfortunately, none of that came to fruition — at least not immediately.
These days, it can feel like the coronavirus pandemic is the only topic in the news. It’s understandable, given the massive human toll and global scale of the crisis. However, I, for one, have started scouring the internet for any hint of good news. And I’ve found a source of hope in reports that as humanity lives in quarantine, the health of the environment is improving: There is more and more news now of clearer waters, better air quality and a decrease in pollution.
This term, I’m finally taking the legendary course that is ENGS 12, “Design Thinking.”
Let’s face it: Zoom calls are awkward. In those seconds between when you join the meeting and your lecture begins, what are you supposed to do? Prepare your pen and notepad? Sip your morning coffee? Ask how the professor’s day is going, even though you know every day is the same in quarantine? Or perhaps you resort to a small talk staple and describe the weather where you are.
We all know the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s supposed to inspire optimism in the face of adversity and get us to make the most of a bad situation. I, for one, have never liked this saying. What about the sugar? The water? Who is going to be squeezing all of those lemons? As a person with extensive childhood lemonade stand experience, I can tell you that making lemonade isn’t that easy. Unless you add strength, creativity and collaboration, lemons are just plain sour.
Whenever I get homesick at Dartmouth, I reminisce about my favorite places in my hometown. I think of midnight diner runs, hour-long conversations in my favorite cafe and the bagel shop that meets my notoriously high bagel standards. These places are as essential to my hometown as the people that inhabit it. Local businesses give my New York suburb its charm and sense of community.
Coming home for spring term means leaving many things behind at Dartmouth. Almost all students had to abandon campus, in-person classes, sports teams and social groups, all of which are losses we feel acutely. For members of the LGBTQ community, coming home can also mean abandoning or hiding entire components of their identity.
Health care workers are like firefighters: They will risk their lives running into a burning building to save people they don’t know. Unfortunately, right now there are often too many people for them to save, and they are entering burning buildings without protective equipment. But they keep running and trying anyway.
I have to start this piece by admitting something: I’m a little relieved commencement won’t be happening this June.
In a time when we’re more isolated than ever, social media is quickly becoming more prominent in our daily lives. Because we don’t have much to do, screen time has increased for many Americans, and social media usage appears to be rising too.
After trying to fall asleep for hours, plagued by the worried insomnia that living through a pandemic seems to cause, I rolled over to grab my phone and open the podcasts app — a last-ditch effort to soothe myself to sleep. I tried to find something mindless, searching for a calming voice talking about anything that could help me relax. But every single recent podcast was about the coronavirus. None of these would help me sleep.
By spring term, freshmen at Dartmouth have usually nestled into their favorite study spaces and figured out their preferred methods of learning. But now, with the ambiance of the Tower Room and the bustling traffic on Blobby farther away than most of us would like, many Dartmouth students have had to adjust to learning at home.
April in Hanover brings bird songs and flower buds and 50-degree days that feel like summer. Students shed coats and swarm the Collis porch, treading through puddles of melted snow to get to class. But this month, thousands of feet won’t churn the paths of the Green to mud. Instead, most of us are hundreds or thousands of miles from campus, learning how to do Dartmouth from home.
For Dartmouth students lucky enough to not have pressing safety and financial concerns, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unexpected surplus of free time spent at home. Many students are filling the newfound time with hobbies both old and new.