Get off social media. Delete your accounts, even. Social media is actively harming your mental and physical well-being. The constant stream of tailored content is like catnip, and social media platforms are algorithmically designed to hold your attention. These apps chew up your free time, actively harm your self-image and worsen your overall mental health.
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Justice Clarence Thomas has always been a contentious member of the Supreme Court. Completely ignoring the debates over his judicial philosophy and opinions, he donned the robe after a narrow confirmation beset by accusations of sexual harassment in 1991. In 2016, he was accused of yet another instance of sexual harassment at a dinner party in 1999. What is stirring the pot today, however, is his wife — Ginni Thomas — and her partisan political activities. The Washington Post and CBS News have recently obtained copies of text messages between her and former president Donald Trump’s top aide, Mark Meadows, in which she urges him on multiple occasions to find a way to overturn the 2020 election and sends him links to QAnon-associated conspiracy theories about ballot fraud. Enough is enough. Members of the Supreme Court are duty-bound to keep the political sphere at a significant distance, and it’s now beyond apparent that Justice Thomas can’t do that.
The sleepy cul-de-sac behind my childhood home in Alaska sat at the bottom of a long hill. One summer, with my scooter in tow, I would climb to the top of the hill and race down, reaching 10, 15 or even 20 miles per hour before I made it to the bottom. I felt like the King of the Cul-de-Sac. One Sunday afternoon, with the breeze of the hill wisping through my helmet, I took my hand off one of the handle bars to adjust my sleeve. Instead of stoically keeping my balance like the regal nine-year-old I was, I fell. Hard. My lips and knees were scraped raw, and a tooth was ground down by the asphalt. My parents rushed me to the emergency room, where my wounds were washed and I received a CT scan and several X-rays. Later that week, I went to my local pediatrician for a follow-up — and another X-ray — and my dentist, who gave me a filling for my chipped tooth. Thanks to Medicaid, we paid about 20 dollars out of pocket for these services — and that was just for gas.
When College President Phil Hanlon announced the elimination of five varsity sports teams in July of 2020, one reason he cited for the decision was the College’s desire to reduce the number of recruited athletes in each incoming class by 10%. Athletic recruitment, he wrote, “has begun to impact our ability to achieve the right balance between applicants who are accomplished in athletics and applicants who excel in other pursuits.”
Ivy Day, the fateful moment on April 1 when thousands of students receive their admissions decisions from eight elite institutions, is less than a month away. As joyful as this day is for some, it also raises an important issue: The college admissions process in the United States is flawed and must change.
If you looked at the Tucker Center website, you would think Rollins Chapel were open. According to the site, the chapel — which has served as the College’s spiritual center for nearly 140 years — is currently “open for individual prayer and meditation.” Additionally, the site notes that the building, “utilized as an interfaith space available for Christian, Hindu, and Jewish services,” offers a Labyrinth prayer area which “[s]tudents, faculty, and community members are free to use” during regular chapel hours.
On Feb. 26, as Russian troops marched toward Kyiv, the United States government reportedly offered Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy a chance to escape the country. Zelenskyy apparently responded quickly: “The fight is here,” he said. “I need ammunition, not a ride.”
In a Feb. 21 press release, the College announced that faculty and administrators had voted 89-4 to delay the development of proposed undergraduate housing along Lyme Road. The reason? Faculty members expressed concern about the distance of the housing from the core of campus, arguing that it contradicted the commitments Dartmouth made in its strategic master plan and threatened the quality of the “undergraduate experience.”
Never before had the Zuo household seen chaos like it did the week before I moved into college. In a hurricane of nervous shopping, my parents and I spent hours pouring over Dartmouth’s move-in guidelines, picking out the perfect twin XL bedding set and ordering textbooks. One by one, all of my earthly possessions were shoved into two suitcases, unpacked, added to and packed again. By the time the car was fully loaded, we had made our list, checked it twice, and then checked it a few more times just for good measure. At the end of it all, my parents — confident that I wouldn’t starve or freeze to death in my first week — finally took a step back, and there was peace in our living room again.
Rapid antigen tests are having something of a moment. In December, demand for the tests surged, reflecting a widespread desire to test before visiting relatives over the holidays. Last month, the Biden administration premiered its website to allow every household to order four free rapid tests. On campus, we’ve presumably administered thousands of such tests over the past weeks as people have tested out of quarantine.
There are benchmarks for everything now. When you are young, these benchmarks measure when you learn to walk, talk and read to determine whether you are on track in your development. As you grow older, people begin to measure not merely what you are able to do but how well you do it. In grade school, there are standardized tests and percentile calculations, then high school brings a combination of GPA, ACT and SAT. Even in college, it does not stop. We are constantly graded and assessed, our performance mapped and recorded.
For most people, the term wilderness evokes images of vast, untamed tracts of land rife with danger and mystery, such as the Wild West or the Amazon rainforest. To the more scientifically inclined, it is a natural, often terrestrial environment that is relatively undisturbed by humans. But wilderness represents so much more to those who have experienced it. Wilderness is the myriad stars flickering above like embers from an ancient fire. It is a herd of bison on the prairie, the sound of their hooves rolling like distant thunder. Wilderness is beautiful and sacred, capricious and beguiling.
I retired from Dartmouth in the fall of 2020 after spending 28 years at the College as a coach for the track and cross-country teams. A major part of that job was recruiting, and one of our key strategies involved distinguishing Dartmouth from our Ivy League counterparts. Living on a walkable campus was a real draw, especially compared to the extensive shuttle bus system at Cornell University. We could tell potential students that Dartmouth’s athletic facilities were on campus — unlike Columbia University or Yale University, where students rely on shuttle buses to get to practices and competitions.
At the end of fall term, my grandma — my biggest supporter in my journey to Dartmouth — died from complications of COVID-19. In the midst of finals, I scrambled to leave campus early and fly to Missouri for her funeral. While I was there — in a county with a 25% vaccination rate and what I saw to be a low masking rate — I found a newfound appreciation for Dartmouth, a place that took COVID-19 seriously and consistently sought to combat the virus’ spread.
COVID-19 containment is over. In some parts of the world, it never really began, and in other parts, it has been finished for some time. Now, even longtime bastions of scrupulous public health measures, from the Ivy League to Israel, are turning away from their previous containment strategies. Faced with the seemingly unstoppable omicron variant, this is the only logical result. Now, the writing is on the wall: omicron will burn out soon, and it is time to decide how we will proceed.
In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, making access to federal funding for transportation projects conditional upon whether or not a state had a drinking age of 21. If a state allowed the sale of alcohol to anyone under 21, they didn’t get their money. Regardless of what you think of the minimum drinking age, the law worked. By 1988, just four years later, all states had altered their drinking laws so they wouldn’t lose funding. To this day, no state allows the sale of alcohol to anyone under 21. There were complaints and controversies, but in the end, no state was willing to forgo their free cash for highways from D.C. over the drinking age. There’s an important lesson to be learned here is that the way to get states to act on matters generally considered out of federal purview is to tie their money to it.
I have a question for you: Do you think it is morally permissible for you to consume a bag of chips? A regular, plastic, and often half-filled bag of chips?
Criticizing Dartmouth is, admittedly, pretty easy.
Two years ago, our world was transformed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As my boarding school in Massachusetts, like other institutions across the nation, shifted to online learning, I was forced to book an immediate flight home to Hanoi, Vietnam. From 8,000 miles away, I watched with an outsider’s perspective as America’s devastating COVID-19 response unraveled. From the previous administration’s denial of the pandemic and laissez-faire policy approach to citizens’ anti-masking protests and fatal shootings –– reactions incomprehensible to me given the grave death toll of the virus –– life in the US seemed surreal, almost dystopian.
Over winterim, I had the opportunity to visit my grandmother’s nursing home. While I was encouraged to sanitize my hands and wear a mask, neither measure was required, given my vaccination status. Within the home, residents, caregivers and visitors carried on with mild caution but, generally speaking, operated with little regard for the global pandemic. Due to the nature of the omicron variant — which is significantly less likely to spread to the lungs than earlier variants — the powerful immunity of a vaccinated population and the capacities of nearby medical facilities, this nursing home opted to loosen restrictions among the population most at-risk to COVID-19.