Dartmouth in the Age of COVID-19
My day begins at the sound of my 9:30 a.m. alarm blaring on my iPhone. In my two room double, with no roommates to bother, I let the sound echo throughout the room for a few minutes before I drag myself out of bed, grab my shower caddy and head to the fourth floor girls bathroom. Bathroom policy during COVID-19 allows only one person in the room at a time—despite the two stalls, two showers and two sinks.
Luckily for me, the bathroom is empty, and I get ready for the chilly New Hampshire morning.
At 10, I head down to the third floor with two of my other friends who had the misfortune of choosing an 8 a.m. Spanish drill class. Bundled up in L.L. Bean boots and a heavy down jacket (the unofficial Dartmouth uniform), we trek across the frozen quad and arrive at Collis for breakfast.
Collis is one of the four dining halls open during this quarter, which serves à la carte style omelets, scrambled eggs, smoothies, acai bowls, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, baked goods, coffee and hot drinks. I grab a strawberry-peach-banana smoothie and a bacon-egg-cheese sandwich and head to the café seats outside.
After breakfast, I return to the warmth of my dorm room for my first class, Fashion & Identity. Today we are decoding the stylistic clothing choices of political icons such as Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. The Zoom class is about an hour long and consists of a screen-shared PowerPoint presentation and breakout rooms for a deep dive analysis on a specific accessory.
After class, I catch up on some psychology work in preparation for my quiz after lunch. I usually finish all my note-taking, textbook-reading and lecture-watching a few days ahead and spend the day leading up to the quiz consolidating and reviewing the lecture notes. The morning of, I quickly flip through my Google document to refresh my memory and go over certain vocabulary.
For lunch, I meet up with another economics major who is in my intro class, and we catch up while helping ourselves to penne with spicy calamari, candied sweet potatoes and steamed peas at 53 Commons, the all-you-can-eat, buffet-style dining hall open this quarter.
I hurry back in time for my 2:35 p.m. Psychology teaching assistant-led section on Zoom. Our section has been converted for the online format and consists of an undergraduate TA and 10 students. We review the material, ask questions and do sample practice problems for the first half hour and then take our semi-weekly quiz for the second half. Today’s quiz is definitely a time crunch, about 14 questions of neurobiological functions.
Most of the time I don’t wake up that early for breakfast (I usually will wake up almost an hour later, right in time for my first class), so by 3 p.m., I’m really tired and take a quick nap to recharge my energy. And by quick, I mean like a solid two hours.
After I wake up from my nap, the sun has already set, revealing a darkening sky, and I head to the second floor common room to finish up the next day’s work. Two of my friends are already there, and we try our best to get some work done but end up being really distracted by our Halloween plans.
We wrap up studying and head to get some dinner at the 53 Commons. This dining hall is usually packed by dinner since it’s the only all-you-can-eat one and two of the other dining halls are closed by 5 p.m. The long line snakes from the granite staircase to the road opposite of the Green, which means that something delicious was being served tonight.
Sure enough, the vegetarian section has their famous pumpkin ravioli, and the main entrée line has their oven-roasted sirloin beef rubbed with canola oil, garlic, onion accompanied by side dishes of white rice pilaf and roasted zucchini coins. The 53 Commons is famous for its desserts, and today’s is their beloved mini cannolis with sweet cream and chocolate chips. Luckily, we’re getting dinner pretty early today because by 6:30, there would be none left for us.
With a full stomach and happy hearts, my friends and I walk back to our dorms to actually grind out some work. In the cozy light of the second floor common room, I finish the psychology lecture videos for the next class and take a few pages of notes.
I brush my teeth, get ready for bed, change into some comfier clothes and turn on my blue LED TikTok lights. At 11 p.m., one of my friends comes over and we watch a few episodes of “All American” before I crash at 2 a.m.
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