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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.
To say that the presidency of Donald Trump has been tumultuous is an understatement. As is the case with any first-term president, there have been highs and moments of excellence and there have been lows and shocking gaffes — the verdict is still out on which is more significant. Within the policy whirlwind that has occurred as Trump transitions from his gilded apartment to the White House, the president’s continued reliance upon Twitter stands out.
As a 17 year old, I can earn minimum wage and drive a car. I am therefore impacted by labor and employment, distracted driving and police misconduct. Until I am 18 years old, however, I do not have the right to vote on the national, state or local level.
You can't always get what you want.
Housing arrangements vary widely here on campus: Some are ramshackle and old, some are luxuriously new; some are centrally located near Baker-Berry Library and Collis Center, some are practically in Vermont. Some dorm clusters have convenient snack bars and plenty of places to study, others force students to take a 10-minute walk to get food and feature a single study room in the basement accompanied by the lovely sounds and scents of washers and dryers. Despite these differences, every student who lives in a college-owned dorm or apartment currently pays the same price of $3,048 per term.
Homecoming was meant to be a night of unity and tradition. The whole college and many alumni came together to celebrate our community and one of our most cherished traditions: the Homecoming bonfire. The energy in that ring as we ran our 21 laps grew stronger than the waves of heat from the roaring tower of flame. As enthusiasm grew, the call of tradition won over a few brave students: They were going to touch the fire. Laws, walls and officers could not shatter their resolve to keep tradition alive. They leaped over the barriers, dashed toward the fence — and got arrested. Chants of “let him go” filled the Green as students protested. The students caught could face criminal charges or four-figure fines. If any are international students, they may face deportation.
Rupi Kaur is an Instagram and Tumblr poet you’ve likely read. Of the hundreds of thousands of young poets who share their work on the internet, the 25-year-old Punjabi-Canadian has been the most successful by far. Her first book of poetry, “Milk and Honey,” was self-published in 2014 and republished a year later by Andrews McMeel Publishing. It quickly topped The New York Times Bestsellers List and, in 2016, outsold the next best-selling work of poetry, “The Odyssey,” by a factor of 10.
We rarely hear about Indonesia in the same context as many other majority-Muslim countries. Yet with about 227 million adherents within its borders, Indonesia has the most Muslims of any sovereign state. Indonesia has had, in its 68-year history since its independence from the Dutch, a strong record. It has had a tradition of tolerance, state secularism and moderate Islam. However, these features of Indonesian society are faltering. Hardline Islamism is rising, and the success of the archipelago’s secularism and pluralism are, as a result, at risk.
There is a collapsible, gray-and-white-striped fabric box from IKEA that sits neatly under my bed. This box has a flip top that opens to reveal all of my “going out” clothes. All of my female friends have their own versions of this box — a dresser drawer, a storage bin, a section of their closet, etc. On “going out” nights, we pull out various tops and bottoms, all baring more skin than is entirely practical for the bitingly cold nights of Hanover. Getting ready takes us anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, complete with plenty of laughter, compliments and outfit assistance on themed nights.
The American mall is home to some of our favorite retail stores. It’s where we go to browse for the latest clothing trends or to try on those boots we’ve been wanting. You see a shirt, try it on, decide you look dashing in it and, if you agree with the price, you buy it. What rarely crosses our minds throughout this process is how that shirt was made and who made it. After all, we worked hard for our money, which we have a right to exchange for the shirt. In this seemingly innocuous transaction, however, you have just been unknowingly swept up into the vicious cycle of fast fashion.
Discrimination is a learned behavior. Nobody is born with notions of the superiority of one group over another, nor would we even perceive much of a difference between people if these dissimilarities were not taught to us. But from an early age, we are segregated by sex, whether by direct grouping or by internalized societal pressures, so we grow up learning not to cross imaginary lines. The divide between the sexes is enormous and older than the human historical record. It’s high time the gap was filled, and what better place to start than the minds of America’s children?
On paper, the 2016 election cycle was an overwhelming success for the Republican Party — one that saw the Senate, the House of Representatives and, most importantly, the presidency fall under GOP control. With control of the White House and Senate, the administration of President Donald Trump was able to appoint Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, all but guaranteeing a strong conservative presence on the nation’s highest court for decades to come. Yet, in spite of the resounding triumph within each of the United States’ three branches of government, the Republican Party remains more fragmented than it has been in decades. Typically, divisions within major political parties have coincided with the presence of a crushing defeat, not an overwhelming victory. However, the recent failures of the GOP are anything but innocuous for a party that, despite its legislative dominance, seems increasingly disunified.
As a high school senior, the colleges I visited prided themselves on their undergraduate experiences. Admissions tour guides emphasized the depth and breadth of the opportunities available — study abroads, spring break internships, corporate recruiting partnerships and more. College was depicted as an all-you-can-eat buffet, where the idea that there was a single route to a degree was preposterous. At the same time, these same admissions tour guides spoke glowingly of their colleges’ four-year graduation rates. Dartmouth was no exception. But spending a greater number of years in higher education should not be so universally considered as indicative of failure. The benefits of a longer undergraduate education, which allows students to undergo a broader and deeper range of academic and non-academic experiences, outweigh the costs, financial and otherwise.
Last week, I attended two dinner events, ordered free gear and learned about two funding opportunities on campus. Such is the power of the knowledge I received via Listserv, the software with the capability to forward emails to the entire Dartmouth campus.
On Sunday, Oct. 1, the largest mass shooting in modern American history took place in Las Vegas. The usual questions came immediately to media attention: What was the shooter’s motive? Was this an act of terror? But no one second-guessed a critical part of the story: The perpetrator was a he. Since 1982, 91 mass shootings have occurred with more than four victims, and of those only three were committed by women. Mass shootings in America are a gendered issue, something that we need to acknowledge and question. What aspects of masculinity are contributing to mass shootings — and how can we take concrete steps not only to eliminate tragedies but also to change social attitudes surrounding gun violence?
Every woman deserves uninhibited control over her body. To question her dominion over her very self is to threaten her most intimate security, to impose inequity in interpersonal relationships, to inherently discriminate against her in professional environments and to put an essential element of her ability to lead a healthy, productive and happy life into the hands someone else. How can any person claim to know the best or most morally right path of action for anybody other than himself? Yet in opposition to what ought to be an unalienable right, a war for reproductive rights has been waged for decades, and on Oct. 6, President Donald Trump’s administration predictably stoked the flame.
In the fall of 2016, conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos came to Dartmouth to speak, despite vocal objections from many students and faculty. Last spring, Native American studies professor N. Bruce Duthu ’80 declined his appointment as the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences amid concerns over his support of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Both of these events roused dialogue about Dartmouth’s commitment to supporting diverse ideas, but they also raised a larger question. What obligation does Dartmouth, as a private academic institution, have to uphold free speech and at what point should Dartmouth comment on and act upon the public actions of its students and faculty?
Earlier this term, a floormate told me how guilty she felt for watching YouTube videos unrelated to coursework, something she had never felt in high school. While Dartmouth students have a reputation of being laid-back, even as a first-year I have seen how deeply imbued students are in the corporate recruiting world. As week five approaches and the term reaches its halfway mark, this balancing act becomes a juggling one. We manage academic and athletic schedules, friendships and relationships, healthy eating and declining DBA. This seems logical — most of us are Dartmouth students because we are wired to take advantage of every opportunity we can. But despite the extent to which our classmates pretend to have it all, not everything is possible. Unless we consciously change it, America’s emphasis on stress and corporate culture begins during our four years at college.