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Sometime around my Webkinz and Limited Too phase of the early 2000s, I developed a strong belief in the power of fortune cookies. I swore by them. Every time my family would dine at our favorite Chinese restaurant, I’d scarf down my food and count down the minutes until the check — and with it a bundle of fortune cookies — would arrive. As my family went around sharing their fortunes, I clung tightly to mine in the hopes that it would provide a glimpse into my future.
Despite having hours of alone time and access to a seemingly endless stream of inspirational posts about self-improvement in quarantine, I’ve found myself more stressed than ever. And as it turns out, I’m not alone. Anxiety levels have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and college students –– an already stress-prone population –– are no exception to this phenomenon. This week, I sat down with psychological and brain sciences professor Bill Hudenko to learn more about stress induced by the pandemic and its impact on students.
What do pearls, fake Gucci, Baby Yoda, Billie Eilish and Donald Trump all have in common?
There is a small portrait of William Shakespeare stuck to my computer, mustachioed and smiling under the sunglasses drawn onto his face. “Today is the day,” I tell Shakespeare every morning when I sit down at my desk. “Today is the day I make you proud!”
As I sprint down the untamed grassy hill, I take a nervous look at the road below — people are looking for me, and I don’t know where they are. I’m more anxious than ever, but I know my friends have my back. The sun is blaring, and I’m utterly exhausted. The intensity builds, and all the anxiety, nervousness and exhaustion comes closing in on me. Then suddenly, right when I reach the tipping point, all that weight disappears, and I get the best news I’ve gotten in a while: “Warzone Victory.”
Well, here we are: week six of spring term, and week eight or so of social distancing. The curve of coronavirus cases may be flattening, but most of us are still exactly where we were a month ago — at home, alone. And by now, isolation feels almost natural. Amid talk of what the post-pandemic world will look like, it seems we’ve already arrived at a “new normal,” even if we hope this normal won’t last for much longer.
“My best friend and I got invited to go to Italy for one day to do some type of competition. When I got to the airport, I didn’t have my passport, so I got dragged to a correctional facility by a police officer. He sniffed my ID and was like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re a sketchy guy.’ I smelled it, and it smelled like cigarettes.”
Most Dartmouth students deserted campus in mid-March, to the tune of provost Joseph Helble’s “Important Campus Updates.” It seems that almost as suddenly, pleas to re-open the economy have cropped up across the United States. With the nation in the throes of both a public health crisis and an economic and social disaster, Dartmouth students and professors are grappling with the question of recovery — and how to get the timing right.
Remember when we all thought that with online classes, we were going to have so much free time to watch Netflix, go hiking and maintain a consistent sleep schedule?
Each year, the month of Ramadan provides Muslims with a celebration of faith, community and family. During this year’s Ramadan — which began on April 23 and will run through May 23 — the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many Muslims to search for new ways to spend the holy month.
The everyday comforts of Dartmouth are few and far between these days. Writing is harder outside of Sanborn, a trip to the backyard doesn’t have the same zest as a DOC hike and no matter how much flour you use, your scones never taste quite like they do at KAF. However, no matter how far away from Hanover you feel, you can still hear the voices of home on Dartmouth College Radio.
If this pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that when duty calls, medical professionals answer. From a whistleblower physician in Wuhan to front-line hospital staff in New York City, doctors, nurses and countless other medical workers have taken center stage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We can all admit that time has been passing by weirdly in quarantine. Your afternoon can feel like it’s going slower than the last five minutes of your 10A, but then suddenly it’s Friday and another week has passed. Even with the demarcations of classes and meetings, it can be difficult to keep track of time, and sometimes you wish you never threw out your childhood day-of-the-week underwear. And little is more horrifying than receiving a notification of your weekly screen-time, informing you that you’ve spent an average of eight hours a day on your phone. Although it seems like our lives are stuck in a time warp, time is still passing and things are changing.
Driving up to Hanover at the start of my freshman year, my imagination kicked into overdrive: I’d find my best friends, take amazing classes with life-changing professors, throw myself into the social scene and continue my passion for skating by joining Dartmouth’s figure skating club. Unfortunately, none of that came to fruition — at least not immediately.
These days, it can feel like the coronavirus pandemic is the only topic in the news. It’s understandable, given the massive human toll and global scale of the crisis. However, I, for one, have started scouring the internet for any hint of good news. And I’ve found a source of hope in reports that as humanity lives in quarantine, the health of the environment is improving: There is more and more news now of clearer waters, better air quality and a decrease in pollution.
This term, I’m finally taking the legendary course that is ENGS 12, “Design Thinking.”
Let’s face it: Zoom calls are awkward. In those seconds between when you join the meeting and your lecture begins, what are you supposed to do? Prepare your pen and notepad? Sip your morning coffee? Ask how the professor’s day is going, even though you know every day is the same in quarantine? Or perhaps you resort to a small talk staple and describe the weather where you are.
We all know the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s supposed to inspire optimism in the face of adversity and get us to make the most of a bad situation. I, for one, have never liked this saying. What about the sugar? The water? Who is going to be squeezing all of those lemons? As a person with extensive childhood lemonade stand experience, I can tell you that making lemonade isn’t that easy. Unless you add strength, creativity and collaboration, lemons are just plain sour.
Whenever I get homesick at Dartmouth, I reminisce about my favorite places in my hometown. I think of midnight diner runs, hour-long conversations in my favorite cafe and the bagel shop that meets my notoriously high bagel standards. These places are as essential to my hometown as the people that inhabit it. Local businesses give my New York suburb its charm and sense of community.
Coming home for spring term means leaving many things behind at Dartmouth. Almost all students had to abandon campus, in-person classes, sports teams and social groups, all of which are losses we feel acutely. For members of the LGBTQ community, coming home can also mean abandoning or hiding entire components of their identity.