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When I first arrived at Dartmouth, I was the most undecided of all “undecided” majors. Freshman year, I spiraled through many options until I finally settled on English. Literature has always been my passion, and besides, I am clearly a humanities person.
Hanover High School is the designated voting place in Hanover, NH.
The last few weeks, and months, have been pretty crazy — news of mailed pipe bombs, an accusation of sexual assault by a Supreme Court nominee and yet another mass shooting driven by anti-Semitism have left many in this country reeling. More recently and more close to home, last Friday’s shooting incident and subsequent campus shelter advisory put many students on edge. These events have left many of us itching for change. Yesterday, perhaps, was a chance for us to tell the world how we feel. With an urgency unmatched by other midterm elections, countless of our peers urged one another to go vote. Thus, in this issue of the Mirror, “Let’s Get Political.”
Last year, I spent my fall term as an exchange student at the University of Havana, around the same time that you may have been listening to Camila Cabello’s hit song, “Havana.” Cabello’s lyrics do not lie — I am also left longing to return. Havana could not be any more different from Hanover. I don’t presume to know the ins and outs of Cuban culture, but I do have anecdotes aplenty to illustrate some of the differences between life there and life here.
When was the first time you realized that you had a voice? No, not the first time your mom recorded you speaking your very first words — when did you decide that those words held power, or that they were capable of having an impact? For some, this realization occurred rather quickly — maybe it was during second grade, when you stood up for the shy kid who was picked on, or maybe you ran for student body president in middle school and encouraged your history teacher to instate no homework Wednesdays.
We all have one — the crazy, radical, get-in-your-face uncle, the one you talk to only once a year at Thanksgiving because he makes sure to pull up a chair next to you, smile and ask how you’ve been. You know him — you spend the night trying to dodge any politically charged topic that might propel him into high gear. You bring up any subject you can think of to distract him from his goal — the weather, arcane Scrabble rules, updates on your mother’s blooming herb garden. But let down your guard for one minute and next thing you know, you’re half an hour into a high-octane lecture on the illegitimacy of capitalism and the coming revolution. It’s just one night though, and by your second serving of pumpkin pie, the words are passing in and out of your ears as easily as the velvety whipped cream has disappeared from your plate.
From Kennedy to Obama, from Reagan to Bush, countless presidents have visited our campus while still just hopeful candidates, their eager eyes set on the Oval Office yet their immediate efforts focused on New Hampshire voters. Dartmouth is a distinguished presidential campaign pit stop and has been host to a total of six presidential debates over the years. The walls of our college hold the promises of presidents’ past — their invigorating attempts to excite voters and spirited rhetoric during debates.
Over the past few months, it was difficult to miss the barrage of reminders regarding the importance of voting in this year’s midterm elections. This was especially true at Dartmouth, where members of the College Democrats became somewhat notorious for standing around on campus and asking passersbys whether they were interested in voting for Democrats in New Hampshire this year. The College Democrats’ rigorous efforts to get out the vote — and the forthrightness with which they addressed passing students — could have come as a bit of a surprise to those who weren’t accustomed to such campaigning.
Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. It’s rainy, it’s cold. I’m sitting in the basement of the Hanover Public Library — a personal first — with three women and men, all of whom are comfortably three times my age. We’re discussing race relations. We’re all white.
I’m a firm believer that astrology is complete nonsense. Still, I’ll admit, there are times when I’ve heard characteristics of an Aquarius, my zodiac sign, and thought to myself, “Oh my God, that’s so me.” The reason I, and so many others, are so susceptible to horoscopes is because we want to believe them. According to an article in The New York Times “Why Horoscopes Are Comforting,” the more we can predict about our surroundings, the more confident we feel about our survival. A longing for a sense of security is what influences us to listen to whatever supports horoscopes’ prognoses and disregard whatever refutes them. This, in essence, is confirmation bias at work. Confirmation bias is our impulse to be more drawn to and put more weight on evidence that aligns with our own beliefs.
In honor of Halloween, the Mirror dives into all that is creepy, weird and unsettling — all that is uncanny.
We are often attracted to uncanny situations. Stories with ghosts, the reanimated dead and unexplainable mysteries have become a vital part of our popular culture during this time of the year. During special days such as Halloween and Friday the thirteenth, people intentionally create unsettling environments. For example, they may organize events such as haunted houses in order to be fully immersed in discomforting surroundings. Similarly, Dartmouth students may find interactions scary or unsettling at places such as Greek houses. Even though Greek houses are often stereotyped as being a place for parties or social gatherings, these houses do sometimes create a somewhat troubling environment for students who are not used to a scene of hard partying.
Christie Leigh Harner, professor of English and creative writing, specializes in Victorian and 19th century literature. She has authored several papers on the subject of science and visual arts in Victorian literature. This fall, she is teaching a course on Victorian children’s literature.
What scares college students? Honestly, it’s hard to say. I’m scared by a lot. So I turned to some of my braver friends for an indication of what makes Dartmouth students quake in their boots — aside from the negative 17 degree weather. Here’s what we came up with:
What are you doing for Halloween? It’s a simple question, but one that Dartmouth students often have trouble answering. Perhaps that’s because Halloween usually comes at the end of the notorious “midterm season,” only for finals season to follow in its footsteps. Maybe, instead, it’s because Halloween seems to always trail Homecoming weekend and a hybrid “Hallow-homecoming weekend” is just too much to handle.
“Man wanted for Murder in Hanover, N.H., July 17, 1891. Known by the name of Frank C. Almy.”
I anxiously coiled my hair around my fingertips. My forehead furrowed deeper and deeper as I squinted my eyes. Soon, I grimaced — bracing myself for the coming pain. Stomach clenched, I could feel my heart beating faster and faster.
It’s freshman year. All eyes are on you. Especially when you check the countless emails coming from the College’s Listserv inviting you to attend meetings or join a new club. Upperclassmen recommend you take Computer Science 1 and to choose the Non-Recording Option to protect your GPA. Just in case. Your senior self will thank you. But graduation feels infinitely far away; you have a long, long way to go.
So many pamphlets, websites, lectures and discussions are made available to high school students to prepare them for college’s intense social transition that it’s easy for Dartmouth students to forget that they are at the College to receive an education.
Adjusting to college can be a significant challenge for all students, but a student who also has to acclimate to a new country is in an even tougher position. Students living overseas, who account for roughly 13 percent of the Class of 2022 and who come from 57 different countries, simultaneously navigate the traditional adjustments to Dartmouth’s academic rigor and an adjustment to American culture.