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At this point in the year — between post-midterms fatigue and pre-finals stress — it isn’t uncommon to become disenchanted with the notions of hard work and success so often emphasized at Dartmouth. With an administration in turmoil, a monopolistic dining system, a flawed housing system and an undeniable pattern of elitism and racial discrimination in faculty hiring and retention, it can be incredibly easy to focus on Dartmouth’s problems.
Two weeks ago my heart beat louder and more painfully than the screeches of the U-Bahn metro as it came to a halt. Eight weeks ago I arrived in Berlin, Germany for my language study abroad program. Three days ago an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England claimed innocent lives. Two weeks ago my U-Bahn stopped, and a man five seats away started screaming in Arabic.
Stanford University researcher Walter Mischel’s “Marshmallow Experiment” has become a classic child psychology test. A group of 3- to 5-year-old children were given a choice between eating a marshmallow immediately upon receiving it or waiting 15 minutes and being rewarded with a second one. About 30 percent of children succeeded in delaying gratification, and years later, those children were found to be more socially and academically successful. The low-delayers were more likely to have higher body mass indices, addiction problems and an overall lower rate of success.
The moment I pressed the red "x" button, relief and dread washed over me. For the longest time, I couldn’t bring myself to delete any social media apps from my phone. The “Fear of Missing Out” syndrome always stopped me — what if I missed something important or one of my friends did something that I needed to know about? How would I stay up to date on the latest news happening around the world and on campus? I was conscious of the fact that I spent, or rather wasted, too much time on social media, but I refused to take the first step to address this issue. The breaking point finally came a few weeks ago. I just had enough.
President Donald Trump left Washington last week for his first international trip as commander in chief. He will be addressing members of all three of the world’s Abrahamic religions during stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican. On Saturday, May 20 he arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and met with Saudi King Salman and a variety of members of the royal family and government.
The two terms I took creative classes at Dartmouth stand apart in my memory. They were in the spring and summer terms, and the nice weather played a part in my heightened sense of well-being. But there was something stress-relieving about being graded for creating as opposed to analyzing. Instead of answering questions, I was exploring their meanings. One assignment asked that I write about a problem from a friend’s perspective. I ended up writing a cathartic short story where I articulated my homesickness for Singapore and high school.
At the end of every season, regardless of the sport, pundits sit down and analyze the postseason, seeking to identify playoff trends that might inform the coming regular season. This process tends to lead to lots of articles in the vein of “How the Atlanta Falcons’ Super Bowl Run Changed the National Football League.” On the heels of last year’s Major League Baseball playoffs, these articles tended to focus on the Cleveland Indians’ bullpen, especially lanky left-hander Andrew Miller. If you don’t believe me, The Ringer, in its coverage of last year’s playoffs and this year’s season preview, published articles entitled “The Indians and Andrew Miller Are Reshaping How We Think About Elite Reliever Usage,” “It Might Be Miller Time at a Ballpark Near You: Searching for Every MLB Team’s Andrew Miller” and “Welcome (Maybe) to the Next Phase of Baseball’s New-Look Reliever Age.”
In early March, the entire Dartmouth community was emailed an invitation from the College president’s office to participate in “Inside Dartmouth’s Budget,” a five-session lecture series on higher education finance at the College. The email advertised the program as a chance to “unpack Dartmouth’s budget by exploring our revenue and expenditures in the context of national trends and external forces that impact higher education.” Intrigued, I signed up and was randomly selected to participate.
I defended my senior fellowship project, the culminating experience of my undergraduate career, Tuesday morning. I’m taking one class this term and have a few edits to do on my thesis, but I walked out of my defense meeting feeling happy. I was essentially done with Dartmouth, and it had been an incredible time. Not three minutes later I was fighting back tears when I learned that something else was done with Dartmouth: the venerable late-night institution Everything But Anchovies.
“The causes of death were family, finances and fatigue. The tasteful tombstone is set amid the soothing green of a field of Perrier bottles,” wrote Time magazine in an “obituary” of the yuppie. The year of death: 1991.
In 1944, one year before the end of World War II, the British Special Operations Executive — a secret wing of the British military formed for the purposes of espionage and sabotage behind enemy lines — devised a plan to kill Adolf Hitler. In its design, a German-speaking marksman fluent in the dialect of the Bavarian district of Berchtesgadener Land would parachute in and assassinate Hitler from afar as he walked to his morning tea at the Berghof, his Alpine retreat in Bavaria, Germany. Using information provided by one of Hitler’s personal guards, captured at Normandy on D-Day, plans were drawn up for Operation Foxley, which would be the third attempted execution of the Fuhrer. But those plans, and the operation, were never realized.
When you hear about algorithms — like the one Facebook uses to construct your personal newsfeed or the one Google is fine-tuning to fight the spread of fake news — it’s likely that you’re hearing about predictive analytics. An algorithm is just a series of instructions: Multiply the two, carry the three or go to class at these three times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Predictive analytics, as the name might imply, are algorithms meant to collect and use data to generate a prediction about an outcome that cannot be definitively known until the event occurs. Based on what you know, is a given person going to make it to class? If it’s Green Key Friday, then that probability might go down.
When I leave Streeter Hall every morning, I am usually too distracted to notice my surroundings, but last weekend I felt unsettled after registering that my daily route is adjacent to a cemetery. There is nothing particularly odd about the cemetery itself, but its integration into campus feels unusual. What bothered me about the cemetery was not that it was there, that it lacked a border or the feeling of encroachment on a spiritual space, but rather what its vicinity symbolized about Dartmouth.
If French president-elect Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election can be called a landslide, then the column inches hyperbolically trumpeting it as the wholesale rejection of global populism can rightly be called a tsunami. The authors of a Washington Post piece on the election couch the French people’s decision in mythological terms, saying that “France ... shrugged off the siren call of right-wing populism.” CNN asserts, in heroic language, that Macron defeated populism in the “great political battle between globalism and nationalism that is underway in Western democracies.” The Huffington Post calls Macron’s victory “somewhat comparable to Napoleon Bonaparte.”
I was delighted to read Eliza Jane Schaeffer ’20’s article on “the essence of the professor-student dynamic.” Schaeffer is exactly right about what empowers students — and what fosters learning. She writes that “building a relationship between students and professors, helping students engage with the material outside of the classroom [and] approaching learning as a collaborative endeavor” forms the basis of that relationship. These factors have long been a hallmark of the Dartmouth experience, and their importance is well-documented in the teaching and learning literature.
Many Southerners remain confused about the Civil War, its origins and the implications it bore for the Confederate States. Harvard professor John Stauffer reported in a 2011 Harvard Gazette article that nearly 70 percent of white Southerners believe that states’ rights were the underlying cause of the war, while slavery was only a secondary cause.
I don’t have Netflix. Therefore, whenever my friends discuss “13 Reasons Why,” I can only sit and listen. From the information that I’ve gathered, this show vividly illustrates — rather dangerously — the hyper-judgmental environment that many of us lived through in high school. As much as we attempt to overcome the peer pressure surrounding how we speak, act, dress and exist, many fail to do so. “13 Reasons Why” did not catch my attention because of its accurate portrayal of high school or shock-value; it caught my attention because of its stark contrast to Dartmouth’s culture of embracing embarrassment.
After midnight, the party in the fraternity basement had simmered to a dull roar. Most bedroom doors were shut so the brothers could get some sleep.
Today, the town of Hanover will have its annual ballot to vote on new zoning articles and town officers. Potential new laws are of special interest to the Dartmouth community. This year, Hanover’s town meeting is acutely relevant to the College, thanks to one high-stakes petition article.
When French president-elect Emmanuel Macron’s victory in Sunday’s election was announced, my first reaction was a breath of relief. My second was an inane little voice inside my head whispering, “Oh, no. It’s still just us.” The fact that Front National candidate Marine Le Pen failed in France — and by a wide margin — while President Donald Trump succeeded in the United States gives us one less excuse for our now cartoonish image on the world stage.