Well, we did it — we finished 20F. Whether that means completing your first term in Hanover or managing to stay sane while taking online classes in your childhood home, we all have something to celebrate. This fall was not without its obstacles and difficult moments, but we can all take pride in knowing that despite all that the world has thrown at us — a pandemic, a divisive election, remote learning — we managed to persevere.
This past weekend, the nation breathed a sigh of relief. Even if the election results didn’t satisfy everyone, at least the process was over. After long days and longer nights of refreshing electoral maps, tracking vote counts and listening to news anchors drone on in the background, Dartmouth students could finally turn back to our studies and buckle down for the final weeks of the term. In many cases, we cracked open our textbooks after popping champagne, satisfied that our campaigning efforts had paid off.
It’s week eight. But more importantly, it’s the week of the election. And, well, that’s as much as we can say. Without a clear winner called at the time we write this, as ballots continue to be tallied and the prospect of recounts loom, the U.S. is trapped in a twilight zone. Whether you’ve been obsessively following election coverage since Tuesday morning or occasionally checking your phone for breaking news updates, we’re all feeling the stress of being in a state of limbo. Is it time to cry? Should we pop the champagne? Do we even know? When will we know?
They call October “spooky season,” and this year, it’s not hard to see why. Dartmouth students are nearing the end of our third term since COVID-19 began. Finals are approaching, and exams and essays are always spooky. Next week, Americans will head to the polls to determine the trajectory of our nation, and many students can only hope their absentee ballots get counted. Spooky. And of course, Halloween is right around the corner, but can any costume be spookier than the masks we’ve been wearing for months?
The election is coming up, midterms are in full swing, the new season of “The Bachelorette” has started — oh, and it’s week six. At times it feels like the term is flying by, whether that means realizing we’re past the halfway mark and your professor still doesn’t know your name, or coming to terms with the fact that you’re never actually going to “catch up” on lost sleep.
In the age of COVID-19, we have often looked for comfort in generalizations. For instance, take the sentence you just read. Since March, our society has defined the current moment as a distinct “age” — novel and different from everything we knew before the pandemic. And to understand this bizarre time, we’ve relied on the most mundane of phrases. These are “unprecedented times.” We struggle through “an era of uncertainty.” We adjust to “the new normal.”
Week four is always hectic with midterms, club tryouts, realizing it’s definitely time to wash your sheets and other timely reminders that we’re almost halfway through the term. Although this fall is obviously different, Dartmouth students — whether on or off campus — tend to find themselves in a similar state of overcommitment, teetering on the brink of having too few hours in the day to complete everything they have on their plates. And yet we manage to push through, albeit with fewer hours of sleep under our belts.
For our generation, technology is second nature. We’re at least as comfortable gripping a laptop as a book, and thanks to auto-correct and iPhone calculators, our spelling and mental math skills have fallen by the wayside. The internet is where we seek information, entertainment and even connection. While older generations might not understand how we make friends or find love online, for many of us, virtual spaces form a real and robust world.
As students get into the swing of a new academic term, this week marks the end of quarantine for many living on campus. For some, this may provide the excitement of increased freedom and flexibility. But for others, these additional privileges may incite feelings of uncertainty. With the pandemic standing at odds with the desire for human contact — especially for freshmen seeking to make friends — will we be able to conduct social interaction in a safe and responsible manner?