Mar 272014
 

DEAR EIGHTEENS: 

I’m going to tell you how to be the best Worst Class Ever.

Unlike my boy Alex Libre ‘16, who just confessed his timid inability to share the secrets of the Dartmouth Experience, I’m about to mother-bird some heaping helpings of “awesome, all-encompassing, inspiring advice for what to expect in the next chapter of your life” straight into your peeping little freshman maws. Chew slowly and savor it.

Step One: Crack open six root beers, pour them them into plastic cups (extra foam), garnish with a dirty ping pong ball. Now drink them all in under 10 seconds. Now read everything you can on the internet related to lacrosse, heteronormativity and Dr. Seuss. Done? Congratulations, you’ve just won Dartmouth in miniature.

It should actually look quite like this.

Step Two: Recognize that getting into Dartmouth isn’t the greatest accomplishment of your entire life. It’s a big deal, but honestly, not THAT big. When, in hoary ages past, former President Jim Kim lifted my glowing application from the stack of MAYBE’s and deposited in the sacrosanct vessel of YES’s, he did not automatically confer upon me some guaranteed future of prestige, fanfare, endless cash, Keystone and yachts festooned with pretty girls and first edition English novels. If I want those things (and I DO) I have to get them for myself, starting on Day One. Your freshman grades and your freshmen friendships matter more than any others because they will cut you the deepest, infecting you with the personal standards that will predominate internally for the next four years. So amid the neon Bacchanalia of Trips and Orientation, remember your mission here is simple: work hard and do great things.

Pictured: Former President Jim Kim, notably not the sole architect of AP15′s success.

Step Three: Develop a Stockholm Syndrome-y relationship with some place. I like the 1902 Room, the Graveyard, and the cluster of pine trees behind Zete. It’s nice to have a home base where you can collect your thoughts and settle down from time to time.

A nice place to take a summer afternoon nap. I’ve literally rested in peace here.

Step Four: Don’t be evil. For the love of Jove, please don’t do evil things. Every once in a while, step back ask yourself “Is what I’m doing evil? Am I setting a good example? Are my actions hurting other people?” Recent research has suggested that just asking this question of oneself once per week could prevent upwards of 17.69% of all evil.

Pictured: Pure evil. Immorality is B-Side anyway.

Step Five: Do all the stupid traditions, but make fun of them the whole time. Ledyard Challenge, Dartmouth 7, Touch The Fire, pictures with Keggy. Trust me, these are all monumentally idiotic, banal, hyped-up endeavors. But do them anyway. Self-congratulatory Outsiders have nothing to be proud of. Don’t fall prey to their siren song either. Participate, but make sure your actions always contain a healthy infusion of irreverence.

Pictured: Ivy League Students.

Final Step: (This is the most important step of all. Steps 1-5 were just foreplay.)

Make someone your hero. So much of the good that’s done at Dartmouth takes the form of protest, criticism, calling out injustice and evil. This is important, but we constantly forget to make space for worshiping the people who do creative, not destructive good. There are many vague and uninspiring institutions in place at Dartmouth for celebrating others, and you can join them if you like. But take the time to find people whom you can love and revere for their own sake, and on your own terms. By far the greatest spans of happiness I’ve enjoyed in the past three years are owed almost entirely to my relationships with just a few people. A 12, a 14, a few 15s and a 17. These people kept me from drowning and irreparable collapse into the dark, arctic, alcoholic slushhole that Hanover sometimes feels like. Find these people for yourself. You will never forget them.

Where have all the good men gone? And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules? To fight the rising odds?

That’s just about all I got for now. If you didn’t really read this whole post, the basic gist is: drink root beer, don’t be evil, stay sassy.

Beloved 18s, I want you to realize you have big shoes to fill. Every year in late spring when the seniors graduate, Dartmouth loses a thousand geniuses, beauty queens and individuals of indomitable irony in a burst of early summer fire. By fall, the phoenix of Dartmouth will swallow you all and resurrect itself anew from amid the ashes. It is up to you to make life beautiful.

Extra Credit: Say hi to my little brother Braden Pellowski ‘18. He’s a teeny bit shy but is in desperate need of love and friendly affection. Anything from a smile to a Collis coffee date would really boost his whole day!

 

 

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