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This past December, I spent some time with the Dartmouth Outing Club in Big Bend National Park, out in West Texas along the Mexican border. We hiked through dry washes and over plateaus and camped out along bluffs by the Rio Grande. Driving out on the morning of the last day, I saw the sky flare up red along the horizon, a stark beauty against the desert.
In another installment of "Recollections, A Dartmouth Experience," winter sets in...
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This principle is said to govern the machinations of the entire universe. Scientifically or otherwise, it certainly makes sense: All actions have consequences. The United Nations does not seem to have accurately understood the principle in its responses to North Korea. Every North Korean infraction of global policy does not precipitate an equal and opposite response; No, every action gives way to a meager — and nearly always ineffective — set of sanctions.
I hope you enjoyed your winter break. Perhaps you traveled somewhere: to another country for a few weeks or another state to visit family and friends. Or maybe you visited a more local attraction, like I did. My family and I endured a two-hour car ride to Joshua Tree National Park, a desert named after the shaggy, Dr. Seuss-esque trees dotting the otherwise barren landscape. At one particular sight, Skull Rock, we clambered up the boulders to join the equally eager throngs of visitors who, like us, hoped for a picture with the rock resembling a human skull. Near me, a middle-aged woman, clutching her phone camera, prepared to take photos of her husband and pre-teen son who were standing a few boulders away. She audaciously hollered across the way at the pair, instructing them to stand up straight, shuffle a bit to the left and smile, alternating between Mandarin and Cantonese. This exercise continued for several more minutes until the woman was satisfied with the photos she had taken.
Weather and climate: they aren't the same.
Money matters, and some college students quickly learn the value of saving it. But money management does not enter mainstream conversations or the classroom nearly as often as it should. Only 17 states require high school students to take a financial literacy course, and that number has remained constant since 2014. As a result, students entering college often lack knowledge of topics such as financial aid and budgeting; this lack of knowledge correlates with lower credit scores and higher debt delinquency. All 50 states should therefore require high school students to learn personal finance skills before they graduate.
In this age of political divisiveness, social unrest and social media prevalence, genuine human interaction is more important than ever, yet unfortunately overlooked and undervalued. Our conversations have become smiles in passing, our smiles in passing have become Facebook reactions and those have faded to the ever prevalent “let’s get a meal sometime!” texts. There is no debating that the way we communicate has changed greatly, and much of that change has marked a transition from valuable conversations conducive to growth and learning to simple transactional relationships and interactions. With 2018 just beginning, this resolution is worth your attention: Build better relationships.
In an earlier article, I noted Dartmouth’s relatively limited international reputation. A few weeks later, the admissions office emailed the student body, recruiting students to promote Dartmouth to their local communities during the winter break. The office called this initiative “Take Dartmouth Home.” To me, it sounded perfect.
Second in undergraduate teaching, ninth in campus beauty, 11th in postgraduate income potential and unparalleled in sense of community, Dartmouth College looks about as close as it gets to an ideal school — and about as far as it gets from the Arizona public schools I attended. In the land that touts Arizona Ice Tea, Barry Goldwater and a smashing 48th place ranking for public school funding per elementary and secondary school student, “education” meant endless regimens of busywork and chaotic history classes taught by an academically unqualified volleyball coach. It did not take me long before I realized that I would not get an education in the same place I got my schooling. More determined than dejected, I looked to the YouTube channel CrashCourse, the education company Coursera, the local library, my friends, aimless Wikipedia chains and games like Age of Empires instead. In the meantime, I dreamed of getting into a school like Dartmouth where I could finally get the education that the Arizona public school system did not provide.
Colleges rarely cancel classes, and Dartmouth is no exception. Only once per term, fall excepted, are classes postponed or canceled in observance of a holiday: In the summer, July 4th; in the spring, Memorial Day; and in the winter, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On the second Monday of winter term, rather than learning inside lecture halls and seminar rooms, we transition to auditoriums and chapels. Yet to truly honor MLK Day, in light of its 2018 theme at Dartmouth centered around “Borders,” we must engage outside the “Dartmouth bubble.” Meaningfully celebrating MLK Day requires an element of service learning, answering King’s call to instill and encourage lifelong civic responsibility.
When Greece joined the European community in 1981, the nascent democracy’s prospects looked promising: it was stabilizing after a seven-year military junta and had a debt-to-GDP ratio of 28 percent with low deficits. In the same year, Greece elected the free-spending, populist Panhellenic Socialist Movement to power; they used this mandate to establish a system of lavish state welfare programs. Debt soared as productivity declined and taxes went unpaid — by 2007, debt reached 103.1 percent of GDP. When the 2008 financial crisis came, Greece collapsed into crippling recession and almost brought the global economy down with it. Even after implementing austerity measures, Greek debt today is 179 percent of GDP and GDP is just 55 percent of what it was in 2008.
As I head into the lobby of Baker-Berry Library before the 2A rush, I stop into KAF to peruse the seasonal drinks. The “tea of the day Palmer,” my self proclaimed secret drink, is no longer in season. The squeak of my boots is a familiar sound, one I haven’t heard since I last wore them in the thick winter mud. I try to find an open table, determined to work but fearing that without motivation from the groups of tours passing through, I would just binge-watch “Stranger Things.” An acquaintance sits down next to me, the kind that asks what I did last night and if I hooked up with anyone but doesn’t remember where I live or the name of “that group” that I’m in. “You’re taking next term off? You don’t know what you’re doing? Good for you!” Their congratulations seems unearned, as if taking a break is some sort of defiant and unusual practice. But that’s just it: At Dartmouth, the constant conditionality at the College, from your daily schedule to the KAF menu, puts things into perspective, for better or worst.
Another installment in "Recollections, A Dartmouth Experience."
I’ve been getting these emails. They call for volunteers for construction projects for low-income families, applicants for social justice grants and mentors for children in the Upper Valley region. They tell stories about a world beyond Dartmouth College.
The National Football League is struggling. Ratings are dropping and public opinion of the sport has fallen. Why this is happening is not clear. Some, like John Schnatter, the chief executive officer of Papa John’s, point to recent protests during the national anthem in which football players have kneeled to express dissatisfaction with police violence. Schnatter believes these athletes’ actions are “polarizing the customer.” Others are quick to blame recent discussion of concussions and the health risks associated with the sport that have driven a rapid decline in youth football participation. While both factors have contributed to the dilapidation of the once-pristine cultural monolith that is the NFL, one of the most injurious culprits behind football’s declining viewership is not so much political or health-related as recreational. I am talking, of course, about fantasy football.
People often think of free expression as a tradeoff, with hateful speech an unfortunate corollary to the predominant good of free speech. The implicit assertion is that, were freedom of expression curtailed and offensive groups banned, levels of hate would go down. Some on both the far left and the far right argue for just that: They demand censorship of speakers, groups and ideas that they deem offensive or unacceptable. These beliefs are critically flawed. While some may follow the kneejerk reaction that if an idea is dangerous, we should ban it, a rigorously-defended right to free expression is actually the most effective means of preventing bigotry.
When the president's Twitter account went offline, one man came under close scrutiny ...
Every time I sit down to write an opinion piece for The Dartmouth, I have to wrack my brain for a topic or issue that is new, fresh and original. Most of the time, I am sorely disappointed. My ideas originate from mealtime discussions with my friends. My opinions are easily influenced by any number of well-written articles, and the concluding arguments to my pieces are hardly revolutionary. It seems that after centuries of literacy, everything that can be argued has been done. The advent of the internet has only made that more obvious: A quick Google search will bring up someone else’s pros and cons list for every opinion I’ve ever had. As I continue to write, I bury the disappointment accompanied by my unoriginality with the rest of my teenage angst, hoping that one day my brain will do me a favor and spark up something the world has never seen before. But recently I’ve begun questioning why I care about originality so much. Why is it so important that my thoughts about the world, myself and school have to be different from everyone else’s? Is originality really so valuable?
The chief suspect in the recent New York City terror attack, which left eight civilians dead and more injured, committed an act of unspeakable evil. Such indiscriminate murder shocks us all, and we rightfully feel a deep sense of resentment toward the attacker. Soon after the attacks, President Donald Trump took to Twitter, blasting the attacker as “a very sick and deranged person”; a few days later, he called the suspect an “animal”while speaking with reporters. Trump’s comments echo a common sentiment: that those who commit horrific acts cannot possibly be motivated by ideas, and that any ideologies they espouse are a mere cover for their fundamentally violent, animalistic nature.
Logically, I am aware that Orientation only lasted seven days. Realistically, it felt like seven years. By the end of it, the word “transition” did not seem like a real word anymore, and I had perfected the reflex of telling people my name, hometown and intended major. Though most of Orientation felt like a repetition of information, there was one moment that stood out with unfortunate clarity: When the coordinators asked how many of us had graduated in the top 10 percent of our high school class, we saw that most of us had been in that percentile. The gravity of that exercise didn’t hit me until a few minutes later: If so many of us had been in the top 10 percent of our high schools, obviously we couldn’t all be in the top 10 percent at Dartmouth. Of course, I promptly dismissed that realization and reasoned that I could cruise on smoothly as always, because school was something that I’d always known how to do.