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A few nights ago, I was up late, lying in bed and watching reruns of The Office. I was horrified. Jim and Pam were shopping for a new toothbrush for their daughter, Cece. “How reckless,” I thought, shaking my head in disgust while the sweethearts of one of America’s favorite sitcoms walked aimlessly through a drug store, neither of them wearing a mask. I cringed before realizing that life didn’t always used to be this way. I fantasized, as I often have since the start of quarantine, about when times were normal.
I am embarrassed to admit how many hours I spend scrolling through my TikTok feed each week. But I am not alone. As of July 2020, TikTok had around 800 million monthly active users, with the average user spending 52 minutes per day on the platform. This number skyrockets up to 80 minutes per day when the age group is restricted to users aged four to 15. TikTok has also recently received widespread media attention. Earlier this month, President Trump issued an executive order that would ban the app unless it is sold by its Chinese parent company. While I do not agree that TikTok should be banned, I believe that a separate, insidious danger of TikTok has been overlooked — the prevalence of pro-anorexia content on the platform. Indeed, especially given its target audience of teens and young children, the short-video app must take action to rid itself of its pro-anorexia appeal.
As university tuition continues to rise in America, college students are questioning whether the additional income one might earn with an Ivy League bachelor's degree will actually offset the costs required to pay for that degree. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, students are forced to further question whether the pricey tuition of online college is even worth it at all.
As a member of the Dartmouth swimming and diving team, it is hard to put into words how incredibly upsetting it was to hear of the administration's decision to cut the team. It is clear that the current Dartmouth administration has completely neglected its primary responsibility — Dartmouth students — in its attempt at total reorganization and overhaul.
Blake Neff ’13 resigned from his position as Tucker Carlson’s writer after CNN exposed his misogynistic and white supremacist online vitriol. Few were surprised that he wrote for The Dartmouth Review, which proudly claims the likes of Dinesh D’Souza and Laura Ingraham. The Review creates a nice, cushy home for privileged bigots like Blake Neff. I should know. I wrote for the Review on and off my freshman year.
COVID-19 has put a great economic and emotional strain on the country. Lives have been put on hold as we wait patiently for the day when social interactions are once again possible. But for students, whose four short years in college are so professionally and personally pivotal, it feels less like life put on hold and more like lost time. The virus has created educational obstacles for all students. But as this unofficial sophomore summer has made strikingly clear, those educational barriers are not blind to privilege. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed clear structural inequities at Dartmouth that disadvantage its most vulnerable.
For those who live with family members that exist on radically different parts of the political spectrum, remaining civil is not a matter of courtesy — it’s a matter of necessity. My mom ingests a steady diet of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal; I start my days with a New York Times morning briefing. In the past, any political confrontation between us would often end in slammed doors or silent treatment. Because of the lockdown, however, my mom and I have been forced to confront our political differences. I’ve been reminded that it’s much easier to remain combative when you don’t need to live with the person on the other side of the aisle.
Days before the start of my senior year at Dartmouth, I went out for a run in my suburban Chicago hometown to celebrate my 21st birthday. Awaiting me after my run were not birthday messages celebrating my newly minted adult status, but rather news that would brand my class as part of Generation 9/11. Terrorists had just brought down the World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon. Days later, the halcyon senior fall we had long anticipated gave way to conversations about recovery efforts, military campaigns in Afghanistan and rising discrimination against Muslims.
On July 24, Julia Griffin, the Hanover town manager, penned an op-ed in The Dartmouth titled “Selfish Students.” In this article, Griffin warns students to “smarten up” and attempts to scare them by discussing the potential reversal of students’ future on-campus privileges. While I strongly agree that students must socially distance, Griffin neglects to address other Hanover community members who blatantly ignore guidelines. Instead, she bitterly characterizes Dartmouth students as the main threat. All of us, as a community, have the responsibility to uphold social distancing regulations. To point fingers in discourse, to cast blame and to depict Dartmouth students as enemies rather than community members does not protect Hanover; it divides us and dooms our community’s future.
“Opening an unconditional, fair and transparent investigation is our right and it is not an extraordinary measure as the school [has] claimed,” wrote Maha Hasan Alshawi in a July 24 Facebook post.
In her recent guest column entitled “Selfish Students,” Hanover town manager Julia Griffin criticized Dartmouth students currently living in Hanover for not wearing masks and not following social distancing guidelines. As a student currently living on-campus, I have also received many emails from college officials conveying a similar message, such as a July 3 email from Dean of the College Kathryn Lively informing us of “increasing … complaints from faculty, staff and other local residents” who have seen Dartmouth students ignoring the various recommendations. From my experience, however, Griffin’s sweeping claim is untrue at the macro level and the warnings of college officials — while well-intentioned — are biased and misguided. In fact, I see local Hanover residents committing social distancing violations just as often as Dartmouth students. By antagonizing students, the town and the college fails to acknowledge that local residents are part of the problem, putting us all at risk.
Given the current state of the world — an unprecedented global pandemic, the ongoing ecological disaster of climate change and the social justice crisis of systemic racism — it is not surprising that the more religiously inclined among us have sounded warning bells that the Apocalypse is near. A New York Times article from April provided a concise snapshot of how widespread this sentiment is today, as well as how historically rooted the notion of the “end times” is in many religious traditions. Culturally, many of us in the United States are captivated by this idea of an Apocalyptic event and its fiery aftermath. Movies famously depict such events: from the nightmarish depictions in “The Road” to the more light-hearted and hopeful scenes in “WALL-E” to the all-too familiar totalitarian state in “V for Vendetta.” Despite some thematic differences, all of these portrayals of the Apocalypse conceive of it as a singular future event which is shared by an entire community or even an entire planet. However, this focus on large scale societal calamities distracts from the reality of what an apocalypse actually is: a personal reckoning with the tragedies of life. Perhaps, if this were better understood, we as a society would be less willing to sacrifice the lives of those around us merely to maintain some semblance of normalcy.
As Dartmouth prepares to welcome back a portion of the student body to campus in September, the rate of COVID-19 infections around the nation continues to skyrocket. This latest spike in the spread of COVID is marked by one particular difference: young adults are getting infected at much higher rates than they were during the spring. Why is this the case? As The Hill reports, many young adults have a misguided impression that the virus cannot cause them harm, consequentially risking their health and that of their family and friends.