Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm sure you've noticed, dear readers, that I've been neglecting postings as of late. I kept trying to think of things to write about: new things I've discovered about Dartmouth, new experiences and adventures that have taught me something utterly unique about the College on the Hill. It's not that I don't have anything to say - I do. It's just that there have been a few things keeping me from writing.

First, discovering things about Dartmouth means necessarily being separate from it: it wouldn't be called discovery if you were already a part of that which you were exploring. And I feel as though, after two years here, discoveries about Dartmouth are fairly indistinguishable from discoveries about myself - and I have yet to decide whether or not I want to share those discoveries here.

Which leads me to my second point: although Dartmouth is a wonderful place, it's also a small place. Living here is like living in a petri dish - and that analogy works on so many levels. (The first time I went to office hours with my English professor this term, for instance, he told me that he'd read my blog.) I've often wondered if there's a way to be a social person here without encountering uninvited criticism and scrutiny... I imagine this statement could be misconstrued in a thousand different ways, but each of them would only serve to prove my point, I think. So no matter what I write, I feel, someone will have something bad to say about it, and about me, or about both - and that's rather paralyzing, especially for someone who seeks only to be a positive force (or, at the very least, an unobtrusive presence) in people's lives.

Third, I don't know how much more I can say about Dartmouth that's appropriate for an admissions website. Of course, Dartmouth is a charming little collective of brick buildings tucked away amongst the pine trees of New Hampshire where eager, bright-eyed students toddle off to class in the mornings. But Dartmouth is also the inspiration for Animal House. There seems to be this fine line between "selling" the college to prospective students like yourselves and letting you know what you're really buying. Yes, you're going to be receiving a world-class education with a walk-in closet and a full bath - but you might also get a mundane lecture of 100 disinterested, hungover students with a drippy faucet and the occasional mouse. You'll get friendly, kind, interesting, compassionate peers - but you'll also get bored@baker (look it up... trust me).

When people ask me what I want to do after college, I used to say that I wanted to go to University of Chicago and get a PhD in English and become a prof and live in a quiet little house built fifty years before I was born. Now I tell them I want to live in a field, off the grid, exploring and adventuring and misadventuring. I say this now because the thought of three more years of school after these four years feels absolutely excruciating. It seems nearly impossible to me to balance what I want to do and what I have to do - and I think I have a lot more what-I-want-to-do to get out of my system before I can move on to the obligatory. And I want to live in a field because I want to live alone - I want to escape the endless exhaustion that comes with participating in a community every hour of the day. I'm fascinated by the possibility of it, by the limitless freedom of choice - by this I don't mean physical or logistical choice, but rather ideological decision: I want to think everything, an everything unconstrained by the linguistic and geographical and social limits of an institution - any institution.

"Do you think it'd be different at any other school?" my roommate asked me.
"No," I said. "I don't."



    You're a liberal arts person, so there may be hope for you ;-). Brilliant writing, as always. Interesting change of tone from your first posts; you're real.

  2. I've read through your blog and honestly, I feel just like you! You are a wonderful writer, but it's even more amazing that everything you say is everything I've felt and wanted to say, but didn't know how. I relate to everything you say so much, so thank you for your posts.
    p.s. I've been obessed with "thinking and being alone in hermitude" too... you should try it sometime, it's very cathartic.