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As spring begins, many students are left wondering what they can expect from this upcoming term. After a fall term with low rates of COVID-19 transmission, the College loosened some restrictions on campus life for the winter; for example, students were able to visit other residential facilities following the quarantine period and no reservations were required to study in Baker-Berry Library. However, in the final weeks of the term, COVID-19 cases skyrocketed — with the number of active student cases reaching 143 at the outbreak’s peak — causing campus to revert back to phase two of arrival quarantine. Though that wave has receded, an air of uncertainty remains around what awaits students this spring.
And so we meet again, remote spring term. We’ve been navigating Zoom University for over a year now, yet the thought of joining a classroom from a computer screen is still strange. But whether it’s the change in the weather or the promise of imminent vaccinations, there is no doubt that this remote spring term will be different. With hope on the horizon, Dear Old Dartmouth is starting to feel familiar again.
Being a Dartmouth student is always challenging, and these days more than ever we could all use some guidance. This week, Mirror is excited to introduce “Dear Dartie,” an anonymous advice column that will run each Wednesday and respond to questions submitted anonymously by Dartmouth students.
Now more than ever, we all need a break. During the recent COVID-19 outbreak, students on campus found themselves trapped in dorms, isolated and anxious about impending finals. With case numbers beginning to drop, students are ready for a respite from the chaos. Luckily, spring break is only a week away.
With several indoor spaces closed and social interactions limited amid the College’s recent COVID-19 outbreak, many students have faced a particularly stressful end of term. Now that spring is approaching, some worry that another outbreak could make next term just as challenging.
This winter, a group of six engineering students are finishing up a yearslong project: an ultra-sustainable, tiny research station on wheels for ecologists working in the Second College Grant.
When people learn that I grew up in Norwich, they usually have a couple of questions. For my sake, and for the sake of everyone who’s curious, I thought I would start by answering those.
Over the past two weeks, more than 100 students tested positive for COVID-19, and hundreds were quarantined after suspected exposures. As the College reentered lockdown, outdoor activities ground to a halt, and the plunge in campus morale was palpable.
We’re in the final stretch of the term. This week marks many endings: the end of 21W, the end of a campus-wide COVID-19 outbreak and the final days of The Dartmouth’s 177th directorate. Here on campus, it’s nearly 50 degrees and sunny, and the promise of an imminent spring in Hanover has been getting us through the final days of the term (or distracting us from our work by tempting us to go outside — either way, no complaints here).
Among modern world leaders, women are still few and far between. Just 50 years ago, the world saw its first female prime minister — Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka. As of today, there are still only 23 female government heads.
As COVID-19 restrictions send students outdoors looking for fun, the Dartmouth Skiway has seen a particularly busy season this winter. High traffic on the slopes has meant an unusual term for Dartmouth Ski Patrol, the student organization that supplies the Skiway with patrollers to maintain the mountain and respond to medical emergencies.
On Friday, Feb. 5, I woke up with a mildly stuffy nose and a scratchy throat. At first, I thought my dust mite allergy had started acting up again. My apartment in Washington, D.C. is perpetually covered with a thin layer of dust, and forgetting to take my allergy medicine on a given night can ruin my sinuses. So, I grabbed the green bottle of Zyrtec on my bedside table and popped one in my mouth. In 30 minutes the symptoms would be gone and I could continue with my day, one filled with Zoom calls, readings and fast-approaching deadlines. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but clearing my throat and nose would make all of that easier.
Up until a year ago, the sound of ping pong balls and music could be heard echoing through Webster Avenue almost every night, weekend or not. Although there are a variety of social spaces at Dartmouth, you can find pong being played in almost all of them. Pong, whether you call it a drinking game, a ritual or even a sport, is an iconically Dartmouth phenomenon. In Greek houses, off-campus apartments and alumni homes alike there are huge tables — sometimes even made from specially ordered lumber — painted with colorful designs and occupied by four paddle-wielding players.
What's one thing you'll miss about this winter term?
As winter term nears completion, campus feels like a ghost town. With active COVID-19 cases soaring to 140, students are locked down. Chairs stacked on tables reinforce that we can’t dine inside, and even outdoor activities have ground to a halt. But Dartmouth turns forth her silver linings on the night. The sun climbs higher every day, thawing the ground for spring. Berries and other rare snacks line the shelves in Collis. And before we know it, another round of finals will be behind us, as will the current virus outbreak.
Basements aren’t open. The flow of Keystone has ebbed. Moving shoulder to shoulder with strangers in a fraternity feels like a distant memory. With COVID-19 regulations changing the social scene on campus, some might assume that sexual violence is less likely to occur than in a normal term. But for many, these regulations add yet another layer of friction in reporting instances of violence at a time when the resources available to survivors might not be suited to the current context.
Last week, a record-breaking winter storm brought Texas to a halt, leaving millions of residents without electricity, water or heat as the state grappled with the temporary collapse of its power grid.
Freshman year, I used to trek, maskless, from the Choates to Collis almost every night between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. until I was on a first-name basis with the late night smoothie makers. I discovered that the cheddar and sour cream Ruffles were practically a panacea, curing everything from midterm blues to insomnia. On “on” nights, Collis was the unofficial destination for end-of-night reconnaissance (“Where did you end up?” “Is that glitter?”) before Dartmouth’s loudest tucked themselves in with mac and cheese bites — the only thing God and Satan have ever agreed upon.
Week eight is upon us, and the balmy mid-30 degree weather here in Hanover makes it feel like spring is approaching. It’s likely that the water puddles on the path to Baker-Berry Library will freeze up again some time in the near future, but we might as well enjoy it while it lasts.
When I learned late last fall that I’d been approved to spend winter term on campus, delusions of grandeur set in almost immediately. After three terms of quarantining at my parents’ house in North Carolina, I was sure that nearly a year of pent up extrovert energy would make my return to the world of human interaction a triumphant one.