Ah, yes; the familiar scene of students shuffling in between classes, the hum of chatter in the post-10As line in Collis and the faint — but ever-lingering — smell of fear. We’re back on campus, but our first-week-of-class glow is covered up by a familiar rectangular piece of fabric that makes it nearly impossible to recognize one another (sorry if we accidentally stare blankly at you for a few seconds; we’re trying to figure out if you’re actually our roommate from freshman year or a ’25). Despite these obstacles, we at Mirror are excited for these next ten weeks at Dartmouth and the opportunities that an in-person academic term provides.
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The pandemic has affected students of all ages in different ways. Although it's easy to claim that one Class had it worse than another, we have all had our college experiences irreversibly altered. And for the Class of 2021, they will be graduating from Dartmouth in just a few weeks following over a year of largely remote learning.
Let’s be honest — who doesn’t love some good, old-fashioned gossip? And at a small school like Dartmouth, stories spread like wildfire. As information circulates and evolves from one gossiper to the next, it’s hard to tell which fables are false and if there’s any truth in the rumors.
Dartmouth is certainly no stranger to traditions. In its over 250 years, Dartmouth has accumulated dozens of quirky idiosyncrasies that its students have come to cherish. From the flair-adorned upperclassmen that greet freshmen on Trips to Senior Week festivities, one’s Dartmouth career is anchored by an assortment of traditions. As we approach the end to the (hopefully) last academic year of primarily remote courses, we can look forward to a return to these beloved traditions that have been disrupted by the pandemic.
One thing the pandemic has given us is time. With many of our usual social and extracurricular activities put on hold, this past year has felt like somewhat of a twilight zone; time is passing around us, but our day-to-day lives move at a speed akin to running in a dream — time feels thick and resistant. Extra, undefined hours can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when our usual pastimes aren’t available. However, these extra hours have also given us time to think. The kind of thinking time we only get while taking a long, hot shower or on a solo run. This week at Mirror, we are taking some time to think and reflect.
As we approach the midway point of the term, old routines are starting to solidify. The same long lines pile up in Collis each morning, and by the afternoon, students have migrated to the Green to bask in the sun after a surprisingly snowy start to spring. We end the day people watching in Foco or gearing up to finally finish that problem set we’ve been procrastinating all week. Maybe these routines give us comfort — something we can rely on in the midst of all this uncertainty.
Whoops! Following the recent snowfall, it appears our verdict in last week’s issue that “spring has sprung” may have been a bit premature. However, an April snow shower is nothing novel to those native to New England, and for some, one last snowfall might even have come as a welcome anomaly. Regardless, with midterms now in full swing and extracurricular commitments building up, we most likely won’t be spending much time outside anyway.
Week three already? Once again, we have slipped past the simpler times of introductions and syllabi right into the depths of midterms — some things never change. But the sunny skies and unseasonably warm weather of this Hanover spring almost make us forget about that paper we haven’t started or those readings yet to be opened. Almost.
As they say, spring has sprung. Near campus, April showers are in full swing, promising a lush and flowerful May. The crisp New England breeze is cut by the warm sunshine, and students are flocking to the Green. While many of us have settled into our new homes, be they on campus or nearby in the Upper Valley, some have returned back to old ones. The sudden start of a new term always catches us by surprise, but as we have done time and time again, we will eventually catch up on that little assignment that got away — don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.
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.
Starting college is scary enough without a pandemic looming in the background. During my own freshman fall I had a seemingly never-ending list of questions: How do I adjust to the fast-paced quarter system? Which clubs should I join? How do I meet new people? What’s “blobby,” and how do I get there? When those questions became too much to handle, I turned to other freshmen who shared my confusion. And soon enough, we all adjusted to life in the woods. We learned which classes to avoid, how to order Collis stir-fry and how to migrate in “shmobs” from the Choates to the Fayes on Wednesday and Friday nights.
I used to be a big fan of routines; my weekly structure provided me with the consistency I thought I needed. It was comforting. If you asked me to recall what my Thursdays looked like this past winter, I could provide you with a slightly alarming amount of detail: what time my alarms were set for (8:45 if I was feeling ambitious), the time I actually woke up (9:45, leaving me with just enough time to rush to my 10A), what I ate for lunch (most likely a brie and apple sandwich from KAF) and where I studied between classes (2FB).
This article is featured in the 2020 Freshman special issue.
Sophomore summers are usually filled with idle days spent swimming in the Connecticut River and long nights spent trying yet another flavor at Ice Cream Fore-U. The summer provides a unique opportunity for Dartmouth students to enjoy the beauty of New England while bonding as a class. This year — with the Class of 2022 spread out across the globe amidst a global pandemic — is noticeably different.
Ever since the College announced its reopening plan for the 2020-21 academic year, it feels like we’ve been sent into a tailspin. The emails from the Office of Institutional Research are still languishing in our inboxes, as we frantically attempt to draw a full picture of the undergraduate student body: Who will be on campus in the fall, winter and spring? What will life look like on the “Hanover Plain”? How will our D-Plans morph around our priority terms?
As the Dartmouth community enters into a summer of continued health and safety precautions, the Hopkins Center for the Arts will continue Hop@Home — a program that streams live events into the comfort of one’s home. This summer, the Hop will also embark on a collaboration with the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
This article is featured in the 2020 Commencement special issue.
This editors' note is featured in the 2020 Commencement special issue.
When I was a senior in high school, I thought that choosing a college was the biggest decision of my life. Maybe it was. To be honest, I hadn’t needed to make many important decisions until then. When I was trying to figure out if I could see myself at Dartmouth, I didn’t make a detailed list of pros and cons — instead, I reflected on the conversations I had during Dimensions, Dartmouth’s program for admitted students to tour and experience life on campus.
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.