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If you were to ask a Dartmouth student studying Mandarin why they were devoting their time to learning the language, they might cite its potential utility in the near future. With a population of around 1.3 billion people and an economy that, depending on who you ask, either is about to or already has surpassed that of the United States, China is irrefutably a major player on the international stage. So, the Mandarin-learning Dartmouth student would be right to say that Mandarin will become more useful. However, its overall use will remain limited, and it is unlikely to ascend to become the next global lingua franca — or “bridge language.”
I’m sure most of us at Dartmouth have heard of the Stanford Duck Syndrome — it’s frequently mentioned around campus, although rarely actually discussed. For those of you who may need a refresher, the Duck Syndrome gets its name from the fact that ducks appear to wade calmly through water, but underneath the surface they’re frantically paddling to stay afloat. When referring to people, we’re talking about those divine humans who seem to be flawlessly succeeding in every aspect of their lives, from looking well-dressed to getting 4.0’s to being a charismatic and talented leader all at the same time, while internally trying not to drown just to meet the demands of life.
What do you do when the world melts apart?
Dartmouth encourages and aspires for us to become citizens and leaders of the world, and an international perspective is a critical indicator of an enriching education. Yet gaining this perspective begins with how we read the world. To read it insightfully and critically, we require intercultural competence, knowledge about one’s own culture and other cultures and the ability to bridge these divides through dialogue. For many of us, especially those not fortunate enough to currently be studying abroad or completing an internship, our source of literature is the news. When we watch the news, we should consider issues in an international perspective to achieve our goals, to fulfill our civic responsibilities and to expand our minds.
What were your first memories of Dartmouth?
Rush is here. Dartmouth’s rush system — and the Greek organizations it feeds — are both imperfect, but for the weekend they are here to stay. For both members of the Class of 2020 hoping to join Greek houses and affiliated students, these few weeks are a stressful time. Even for those uninvolved, the campus atmosphere can feel decidedly different.
In a crowded hall at the Cambridge Union over 50 years ago, some 700 observers at the world’s premiere debating club sat poised, eager to bear witness to an oratory spectacle. The motion of the day: “Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?” Arguing in the affirmative, legendary African-American author James Baldwin stood at a podium in a dishearteningly white space. On the other side was William F. Buckley, conservative intellectual, tasked with defending the contrarian view of equal opportunity in America.
It was announced earlier this month that Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency, was hacked and the personal and financial information of consumers stolen. It was also recently revealed that Equifax knew about a significant breach of its network in March of 2017, five months before it was disclosed publicly. The company has stated that the hack in March was unrelated to the recently disclosed breach in which millions of American consumers’ personal information was stolen, which is questionable considering both incidents reportedly involved the same hackers.
There is a common saying often heard by husbands: “Happy wife, happy life.” This saying also holds true in the primary and secondary education system: If teachers are happy with their work life, both the administration and the student body will be more likely to thrive. State and local governments currently have too much jurisdiction over education curriculum, which may be contributing to the lack of quality teachers across the United States.
Like many Dartmouth students, I went through a transitional process from high school hopeful to nervous college student last fall, a shift that involved a great deal of uncertainty and doubt. As Eliza Jane Schaeffer ’20 astutely observed in her Sept. 13 article on adjusting to Dartmouth life, “The College on the (Northeastern) Hill,” ordering Collis pasta is quite the feat for a first-year. In that same article, Schaeffer pointed out the unique challenges Southerners face on Dartmouth’s campus, where they are heavily outnumbered.
On adjusting to Dartmouth.
After seeing “Antigone in Ferguson” on Friday night, I did not leave necessarily with mixed emotions but rather with numerous discrete, difficult-to-handle thoughts, ideas and feelings. The show itself — a modern reading of the eons-old Greek tragedy “Antigone,” interspersed and complemented by song — was spectacular, raw, powerful, vulnerable, thought-provoking, discomforting and (by design) cathartic. The parallels between “Antigone,” which tells the story of the young title character and her quest to bury her dead brother Polyneices after he is deemed an enemy of the State and left to rot in the streets; and the story of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri and whose body was left uncovered in the streets for four hours, were clear. Even so, the cast of “Antigone in Ferguson,” which included established actors Tracie Thoms and Zach Grenier, as well as equally talented performers who were closer to the tragedy in Ferguson — two of Michael Brown’s teachers and multiple members of the Ferguson police force — did not explicitly equate Michael Brown with Polyneices. Rather, it seemed the intent was, as Bryan Doerries, the artistic director of the production, put it in an interview with The Dartmouth, “to set up the conditions for a conversation in which people will interrogate what the word ‘Ferguson’ means to them.”
They broke the law — plain and simple. It’s the common thread that runs through every argument directed at the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Even the phrase “undocumented immigrant” seems to irk conservative Americans, who more commonly prefer “illegal alien” as well as the crude shorthand: “illegal.” As if breaking a law in a broken system is all that defines a family seeking a better life. But I digress.
Last month, College President Phil Hanlon announced a working group that will “explore the opportunities and challenges of increasing the size of the undergraduate student body.” This occurs as the College faces a housing shortage, a low rate of faculty increase and a shortage of classroom space, not to mention increasingly crowded dining halls and study facilities. Before it even considers increasing the size of the student body, Dartmouth should first address existing concerns, since any increase in undergraduates should be accompanied by new extensive facilities and an equal or greater increase in faculty numbers.
Health, according to the World Health Organization’s Constitution, is defined as “complete physical, mental and social well-being.” Drug abuse can take all that away. Opioid addiction is not a “moral issue” as the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors claims. It is an illness and deserves to be treated as such.
If the enemy of our enemy is supposed to be our friend, what happens when this friend becomes increasingly indistinguishable from the common adversary we seek to delegitimize?
I recently returned from three months studying and interning in Beijing. I noticed something unsettling when I returned to America: I had stopped Googling things. When I had a question, I simply let it formulate and then vanish. In China, I did not have a VPN on my phone and relying on Bing is like being led by a blind guide through the ill-lit cave of the Internet. It once returned a WikiHow page on how to raise a child when I looked up some song lyrics. And so I stopped trying to find things out.
Betsy DeVos’ changes to the sexual assault portion of Title IX is understood by many as a deterioration of an already flawed system for survivors of sexual trauma on college campuses. This legislative action, announced last week, follows critiques of Title IX from men’s rights activists and from lawyers of students who felt they had been wrongly accused. Considering President Donald Trump’s administration’s track record with women, there is no question that the assessment is true.
Michel de Montaigne is widely considered to be the first modern essayist. “The Essais,” which in Middle French means “attempts” or “trials,” were the products of Montaigne’s sometimes messy ruminations. He freely admitted these were abundant with inconsistencies and contradictions. However, now compiled in books well over 1,000 pages long, “The Essais” is one of the most significant contributions to Western thought.
Welcome to the Dartmouth bubble! Or that’s what they call it, anyway. For you first-years here, if you haven’t heard this expression yet, you will very soon. You are, after all, in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire, population you. Despite the fact that I am now an alumna who graduated this past spring, the expression continues to follow me even now. I finally “escaped the Dartmouth bubble,” one person congratulates me, while another chimes, “Welcome to the real world.”