It is easy to lie about who you are, both to yourself and others. Most freshmen enter college with very few people who truly know them — and, of course, many barely know themselves. This makes it easy to take on a new identity — many consider the ability to reinvent yourself to be one of the most positive aspects of entering this new stage in life. Unfortunately, this reinvention often comes at the cost of important aspects of one’s personality and can change the core of a person.
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The first time I wrote for The Mirror was the second week of my freshman fall in 2011. Another new writer — hi Sara — and I foolishly volunteered to take on the centerfold as our first story ever. I had never written for a newspaper before. I dabbled in creative writing and had a passion for Emerson. But I was in no way prepared to take on what seemed to me at the time to be the most important story I could ever write. The pitch? A full-blown survey about political climate on campus. Not only did I know nothing about journalism, interviewing or surveying, but I was also woefully uninformed about politics — having come from an extremely liberal city where supporting George Bush was akin to murder and finding a real Republican was like encountering a unicorn. The rigorous training I received from the ’12 editors was well-guided but ultimately useless as I wandered FoCo alone attempting to get football players to answer questions about abortion. As my writers know, I subsequently asked a football player that I’d hooked up with to take the survey, figuring he’d take pity on me. Instead, he pretended like he didn’t know who I was (another first), and I slunk back to the light side of FoCo with my tail between my legs, having lost both my dignity and 30-plus survey takers.
Over the summer I commuted almost an hour and half every day to Burbank, California. As a Los Angeles native, I’m familiar with the cathartic process of driving. I relish the time spent alone in my car — one of the only times I know I can’t be doing other things. My parents, as liberal Jews, spent much of my childhood listening to NPR. When I was younger I was always bored by talk radio, and even today many parts of the more traditional news stories still make me a little sleepy. But I made a commitment myself to be more culturally aware last summer and made an effort to listen to NPR at least once a day.
How much would you pay for a one-night stay in the Upper Valley? $67 or $400? What about for a saucepan? $20 or $180? Beyond the confines of campus, the realities of economic differences between Hanover and the Upper Valley become abundantly clear. The price of a trash can from Walmart versus one from Main Street Furniture differs drastically, illustrating just how isolated we truly are. The population of the main village of Hanover is 8,636, with a median household income of $84,969. Lebanon, meanwhile, has a population of 13,483 and a median household income of $53,650. We went to several town stores and compared the prices of everyday items to those of stores such as Walmart and the Dollar Store. Whenever possible we compared the exact same items and brands across these different locations. While we have not covered every single option, we aimed to provide a wide cross-section of prices for students to draw economic comparisons within Hanover and across the Upper Valley.
SCOTT VS. SHAHEEN:Thanks YouTube.
This fall has been one of the most confusing and tumultuous terms of my time at Dartmouth. After conducting a brief survey of miscellaneous Decibelles and members of the Dartmouth staff, I can safely say that this seems to be a consensus among both my upperclassman and underclassman friends. I think there’s just something about beginning again that causes us to take stock of our lives and the directions in which we are headed. Many people I’ve talked to have felt that important life decisions are just passing them by — sometimes they have the strength and wherewithal to reach out and change their trajectory, and sometimes they don’t. In the past few weeks, I’ve felt as though I’ve made many important life decisions, yet am unsure if I’m actually qualified to make them. The importance and relevance of these choices range from splurging on a full cheesecake from Salt Hill for my writers to cutting my losses and ending my stint with corporate recruiting while trying to keep my head held high. Am I mature enough to make decisions about my future as a 21-year-old college senior? Frankly, who knows.
This week, The Mirror is getting personal. I’m not really sure how it happened, but all of our writers this week added a little tinge of personal history to their stories. I feel like I’m consistently sharing those deep personal secrets with my very limited readership — although apparently I have 43 followers on Newsle who receive these little literary gems each week (hi Dad). I love the issues in this week’s edition because I have some personal stake in each and every one of them. As a former athlete-turned-NARP and a practicing Jew, the centerfold on faith and sports touched a lot of issues I haven’t grappled with since freshman year. It’s been challenging for me to find a religious community here — when I came to Dartmouth I tried to get involved with Hillel and Chabad, but they weren’t really my scene. Whenever I’m home and attend Shabbat services I’m reminded of how much my faith means to me, and it saddens me that I have been unable to find that here at college.
This summer, a new friend and I went on a long hike — just the two of us. We didn’t know each other that well, and I was nervous we’d have nothing to talk about during the 10-mile ordeal. I spent a lot of time during the summer reacquainting myself with some people I’d known peripherally in the past, either through friends of friends, freshman year pre-games or other less savory scenarios. These re-connections afforded me the opportunity for some much needed self-reflection, which can be sorely lacking during our hectic 10-week terms. It is easy to get caught up in the insanity and rush of fall term at Dartmouth, or in reality, any term at our college on the hill.
I don’t know about all of you, but these first few weeks have been some of the most jam-packed and stressful of my Dartmouth career. Navigating difficult classes, handling hours worth of auditions and finally poring over my resume and cover letter as though they represented the only possible ways for me to have a successful and fulfilling future have taken pretty much over all of my time. I’ve received countless Snapchats of friends in 3FB in the wee hours, either cramming for quizzes after the multi-hour tedious rush process or researching consulting groups to add the perfect sentence to their already over-edited cover letters.
Hi guys! Remember me? It’s been a while. Emma and Jasmine are off doing big things, and I’ve been (re)charged with the job of providing you with your weekly dose of campus culture. But weirdly enough, I’ve got nothing to say. How is it that I’m starting my last year at this institution and can’t produce a single nugget of wisdom to share? Thankfully I’ve got a team of talented writers, and even all of you survey-takers, to do the sharing for me. First and foremost, let’s all give a warm welcome to AP’15 (you might know him from “Pigeons of Boston”) and Marian Lurio ’15 (a seasoned Mirror pro), our senior columnists for the 2014-15 year. Both of them have plenty of writing experience and fantastic senses of humor, so I’m confident in saying that all potential reader needs will be taken care of.
My first week at Dartmouth I climbed into a washing machine, my best friend from high school was picked up by Safety and Security, a kid pooped in my hall’s shower and I was sexiled for 24 hours. Thus began orientation, some of the craziest, strangest and most fun days of my life thus far. Welcome to the fray, Class of 2018.
This campus delves deeply into discussing certain issues. We talk endlessly about our D-Plans, meal plans and fraternity culture. This term especially, we have started to confront the complexities of race, class and sexual violence at the College. These issues are tremendously important, and it is phenomenal that we devote time and effort to understand them.
Dartmouth’s history and traditions were among the first things we noticed when we visited this school. They then played a crucial part in why we chose to spend four years here. We couldn’t wait to run around the bonfire and plunge into Occom Pond in the dead of winter. We could picture ourselves sinking into the same Tower Room chairs on which Dr. Seuss may have sat while he wrote his essays. We wanted to become a part of something larger than ourselves, something with a history.