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MIR ROR 10.18.2017





Editors’ Note

Uncertain Futures of Cybersecurity STORY


Happy Week 6, Mirror readers! In honor of this issue’s theme, “That Which is Public,” your intrepid (do we use that word too frequently?) editors decided to entertain you with their most embarrassing, public stories. Naturally, this task was difficult for all of them — not because any stories didn’t come to mind, but because there were simply too many moments from which they struggled to choose. May decided first. She blurted out, “MY PASSPORT PHOTO,” which of course left her co-editors begging to see it. The image of May — featuring Dora-the-Explorer-length hair, streaks of which were dyed copper, staring straight ahead angrily while simultaneously half-blinking — surpassed their expectations. Lauren decided upon the memory of herself running through her friend’s screen door, which then ripped and was replaced with a glass door. But the story continued for LB18 when she returned to her friend’s house and again forgot about the screen’s existence, resulting in her upright faceplant into the door and the acquisition of several bruises. Annette recalled her most “spontaneous” night over sophomore summer when she completed the Ledyard Challenge then streaked the Green. Overly committed to sprinting naked across the Green from Robo to Dartmouth Hall, she realized that an innocent, shadowed passerby coming from the Dartmouth Coach stop received a full view of her adventure. Annette, Lauren and May also begged their fearless leader Ray Lu ’18 for his most embarrassing moment. He thought long and hard but settled upon his debut role as a star actor in a sixth-grade play. He played “Talking Rock.” This week’s issue features further “public” escapades, including a Q&A with a public speaking professor, a story about students who work as nude models and a TTLG that reflects upon a student’s off-term experience at a French refugee camp. Enjoy!


By Nikhita Hingorani

Ensuring that our personal belongings are safe and secure seems to be a habitual process. We lock the doors to our dorms before going out for the night, secure our bikes to a rack before heading into class and enable a passcode on our phones before using it so often that these actions don’t seem to require a second thought or a valid reason explaining why we do them — we just do. However, how does this seemingly unconscious effort toward security translate into the things we do online? As the world is becoming increasingly connected, it is critical that we, in turn, become increasingly aware of how our information is being stored and portrayed to the online realm. From an individual to the corporate level, online privacy affects us all, so at its core, which possession should really be safeguarded more: a print article that lasts a few years or a web post that will last forever? Since 2015, internet users have secured the privilege to have free and equal access to websites and applications without hindrances from any internet service provider, creating an “open internet.” This regulatory framework is known as net neutrality. Recently, however, the Federal Communications Commission has proposed to reverse these rules, which will possibly create a way in which ISPs, as gatekeepers, can control what we can and cannot access online. If implemented, this will especially hurt small businesses, as they simply do not have the same financial resources as larger, dominating companies do to compensate for potential cutbacks in speed and data allocation. From a corporate perspective, this can really dissuade any new innovators, who are arguably the most vital for any future growth and development, from exploring the field. This is an act that can very well prevent the networked world from prospering. “It just makes no sense for an economy in which an increasingly larger proportion of net new jobs are being created by entrepreneurial companies and the encouragement of new business formations to give priority on the information networks to bigger companies,” said government professor Bernard Avishai, who is teaching Government 30.03, “Political Economy in the Age of Google,” this term. “It’s hard enough to create an equal playing field between big technology companies and new technology innovators. Why should we make the playing field that much more difficult by giving the opportunity for big companies to go at 100 miles per hour and small companies to go at 25?” As the online relationship between companies constantly change and develop, governments have to

consequently keep up with the various really more about the perception of manners of facilitating online growth privacy rights.” and the ultimate goal of providing for We may sense that our accounts the people, be it in terms of public are safe, but confirming unmitigated security, information exchange or privacy requires far more than the encryption advancement. mere selection of a check box. Thus, Besides the move to change net most users do not go to the extreme neutrality, Congress has enacted extents necessary to certify that a new law that nullifies the FCC everything they share is secured. rules that would have restricted ISPs “The idea of privacy may still be a from otherwise profiting from our cherished idea, but if you really want online usage, which may have wide to be private, you almost have to be implications on security and privacy a media hermit,” Avishai said. “You on the Internet. have to disconnect. If you want to be “Since so much capital is intellectual part of the connected world, you can’t capital, what we mean by roads and help but expose yourself in ways that bridges also changes,” Avishai said. were unimaginable 25 years ago.” “The question of what governments Palmer argues that social media has do to facilitate the exchange of adversely impacted privacy because information — that’s more important people are willing to share more than than what they have before, they do to “The idea of privacy and believes that, facilitate the above anything exchange of may still be a else, our increased trucks. All of cherished idea, but if social media use is these together creating a decay in you really want to be really make the development of for a kind of private, you almost true interpersonal revolutionary have to be a media skills. t i m e . From a student’s Governments hermit. If you want perspective, a r e g o i n g to be part of the computer science through a a j o r Je s s i e connected world, you m revolution.” Anderson ’18 On a more can’t help but expose believes that users i n d i v i d u a l yourself in ways that of social media level, as platforms accept students, our were unimaginable 25 this loss of privacy lives seem to be years ago.” as a risk of staying dominated by connected. She internet use, perceived it more as from Canvas -BERNARD AVISHAI, a trade-off between to Blitz to GOVERNMENT that supposed loss Google. Since and a prospective i t i s s u c h PROFESSOR g a i n , s u ch a s an integ ral advantageous component virality and of our daily lives, we don’t really increased responsiveness. think twice before going online. It “In general, the ease of sharing can be argued that social media has has broken down our privacy barriers exacerbated this approach, as many and broadened our sense of what is people utilize and perceive it as an appropriate to share with the world, essential means to remain “in the and this goes hand in hand with a lack loop.” of awareness about what hitting the When we post videos to Facebook share button really entails,” she said. or send our daily “snap streak” picture It is safe to say that making sure on Snapchat, we, as users, often are our belongings are safe in the online oblivious to what is occurring behind sphere is not as simple as turning a the scenes to make these actions key in a lock. However, the fear of possible and who exactly is viewing encroachment should not dissuade us what we send out. Sure, one has the as a generation from the unbounded option of making his or her online potential that the internet can provide profiles “private,” but how much us with. The benefits we reap from privacy does this simple act actually putting ourselves out there as users, guarantee? such as smarter browsers, better “The closest we have to a right to search algorithms, more efficient privacy is [former Supreme Court] spam filters, combined with the Justice [Louis] Brandeis’ notion of the proficient sense of understanding of right to be left alone,” said computer how things work that can be gained science professor Charles Palmer, from being vulnerable online, might who teaches Computer Science 55, help us transform this loss of privacy “Security and Privacy.” “Still, it is not into an overall enhancement of the a specific right, so in this country, it’s world.


Public Bodies: Nude Models and Body Confidence STORY

By Eliza Jane Schaeffer

Charles Mack ’18 began nude modeling for the money. “I started my sophomore year, and I was just looking on campus for jobs, and I saw that it was, like, $20 an hour, so I was like, ‘I’m fine with my body, I’m fine expressing myself, $20 an hour is pretty good, I’ll try it out,’” he said. At Dartmouth, art classes for some students practice depicting a variety of subjects, and included in the lineup for some classes is the naked human form. The models for these art classes are usually students like Mack, and the position pays well, likely because few people are thrilled to pose for strangers and expose themselves. But why is nudity a cause for shame? This discomfort is not universal — travel writer and author Rick Steves has written extensively on the striking degree of acceptance of nudity in European cultures — nor is it permanent. In 2009, the BBC brought together eight strangers and asked them to strip. After several hours of nudity, the individuals exhibited signs of great discomfort; however, after several days of nudity, they were unfazed by the naked bodies that surrounded them. Unlike Mack, Leah Alpern ’18 sought out nude modeling as a personal challenge. When she learned about the position her freshman fall, her reflexive response was awed disavowal; however, after some reflection, she realized she was originally thinking about the practice in “an immature way.” For many Americans, the naked human body is a private thing, to be shared only with oneself and few others. To be physically seen entirely is to be vulnerable, open. It is to have your insecurities uncovered, presented for the judgement of others. To stand naked in front of a room filled with peers seems to require a great act of courage. And, at first, it does. “Especially as a freshman girl … you feel like when you’re in a new place, you have to look a certain way, and you’re not really in control of who’s perceiving you,” Alpern explained. Her first few modeling sessions were challenging, but she leaned into the discomfort, eventually learning to think about her body — and nudity more broadly — in a different way. “Overcoming any sort of challenge you pose for yourself is empowering,” she said. “It made me more comfortable, and I changed my own way of thinking.” Marcella Saboe ’18 shared Alpern’s outlook on nude modeling. As someone who — like many young women — has struggled with body image issues, standing in front of a room of people completely unclothed was “nerve-wracking.” However, she was able to overcome her insecurities, an accomplishment she described as “empowering” and “rewarding.” At the time, she was enrolled in an art history class on early Roman art which partially focused on artistic representations of the female body throughout time; as she posed, she was intentional in reflecting on what she was doing in the context of this

history. “For me, it was different from anything I had ever done before, but I got way more out of it than I thought I was going to,” she said. “I went into it thinking, ‘maybe this will help me with confidence’ and ‘maybe I’ll make a little money.’ And once I did, it started becoming a meditative practice for me, and it changed my mindset about my own body.” We tend to assign value judgments to our bodies — even the body-positivity movement positions itself as a radical reimagining of what beauty is. This notion implies that a body can and should be evaluated as beautiful or ugly, an ideology at odds with the artistic tradition of replicating form to honor function. Ancient cultures reproduced naked figures in order to celebrate fertility and athleticism, while during the Renaissance, artists developed an almost scientific interest in the functionality of the human body. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo dissected cadavers in order to better understand the way in which the individual components of the body unite as one. Similarly, art students at Dartmouth take a methodological approach to documenting the human form. Mack, Alpern and Saboe presented their bodies to the class not as sexual objects but rather as planes and curves and surfaces to be reproduced on a page by their peers. “Even though it seems like they would be objectifying yo u , t h ey ’r e not, they’re just lear ning how to draw, and your body is a model for that,” Alpern said. And though all three m o d e l s we re anxious during their first few sessions, they soon became comfortable with the process. “ O n c e you’re able to form those pathways in your brain and get in the right mindset, it becomes comfortable,” Saboe said. N o w , Alpern is more concerned with combatting boredom than nerves, and Mack is more focused on staying awake t h a n s t ay i n g


Students working as nude models shed light on American attitudes toward nudity and body image.

calm. “It was really hard on me because it was a 10A, so I usually have lift for football before,” he said. “And at first, you do some small [poses] that are like five minutes or even like 30 seconds. But then, once you start getting to the 30-minute ones … in my mind, I’m

just like stay awake, don’t doze off.” Once hyper aware of the air and stares on their bare skin, these models became so comfortable as to experience boredom, representing a dramatic shift in their perspective on and experience of nudity. And thus, the private becomes public.


Through the Looking Glass: Makeshift Homes COLUMN

By Eliana Mallory

“Oct. 18, 2016: Worked in the warehouse all squatting in small, morning, sorting winter jackets and shoes. Ate squalid camps lunch with some new volunteers from Dover t h r o u g h o u t who are here for the week. We went into the Northern France. camp this afternoon to distribute shoes — it One may be was super cold and chaotic as everyone wants wondering how shoes before the demolition of the camp. There I found myself is sadly no way to give everyone everything volunteering in they need. We are trying to distribute as the Jungle and much as possible before the demolition so what it was like. we didn’t leave the camp till sundown (6:30 I d i s c o v e r e d p.m.). Another tiring day but again surprised this opportunity by how Care4Calais has formed relationships from an NPR and trust within the Jungle.” piece about a This is a short journal entry of mine British woman’s from exactly one year ago today when I was e x p e r i e n c e volunteering in Calais, France in the large volunteering for refugee settlement known as the “Jungle.” Care4Calais, the The Calais Refugee Settlement was NGO I would Europe’s largest unofficial refugee settlement e v e n t u a l l y in the port city of Calais. Calais sits on the volunteer with. English Channel and is approximately 20 miles As a geography from England, making it an important linkage m a j o r and point between France and England. The French minor, Jungle, a degrading and racialized nickname I was intrigued given to the settlement, is sprawled next to an to pursue this interstate that leads to the Calais Port. This e x p e r i e n c e settlement of roughly 7,000 refugees, primarily as it bridged male and Afghan, Sudanese and Eritrean, was t w o r e a l m s not maintained or recognized by the United o f p e r s o n a l Nations High Commissions on Refugees, as and academic most refugee camps are. This means that its interest. residents relied on local NGOs for essentials I am not able to adequately summarize such as food, clothing, legal aid, medical what I did while volunteering in this short assistance and other critical supplies. piece as it changed day to day and became The living conditions in this camp, mostly much more complicated once the evictions comprised of small tents, were exceptionally started on Oct. 24. I will instead focus on two bad as there was no infrastructure, and it was tenets of providing aid to the refugees that sprawled across sandy dunes, which meant stuck with me and shaped my experience. that any rain caused serious flooding — and it These values are both grounded in the value rains a lot in Northern France! Most refugees of humanization in a setting that seeks to dreamed of claiming asylum in England dehumanize. The Jungle was not a comfortable because they spoke English, had family already place to live. From squalid living conditions, to in England and believed there was a strong the complicated politics and social dynamics job market. On Oct. 24, 2016, the French amongst the camp residents, to the liminal state government ordered in which the camp and the eviction of the its residents occupied, to refugee camp as it “I’ve attempted to engage the histories each refugee came to symbolize with the moral questions carried with them — it Europe’s, particularly was a dehumanizing of humanitarian aid, France’s, failure to place. Recognizing this, respond responsibly especially the challenges Care4Calais aimed to to the exploding pertaining to humanitarian provide “dignified aid.” refugee crisis in 2015. In practice, this was T h e g ove r n m e n t aid workers and exemplified through established “Welcome volunteers, and to better what type of aid was Centers” throughout delivered and its delivery understand the discourse Fr a n c e t o h o u s e method. Shoes, winter refugees for a short that surrounds refugees jackets, warm fleeces amount of time after and immigrants today.” and pants were the staple the eviction before clothing items that were being forced to decide distributed to refugees t o c l a i m Fre n ch -ELIANA MALLORY ’18 daily throughout the asylum or find other camp. The clothing legal paths to staying came from donations in Europe. Instead, many refugees chose to given to Care4Calais from countless sources leave the centers and remain unauthorized in in England and France. As volunteers, it was France in hopes of still making it to the U.K. our job to sort the clothing and prepare it for While this eviction successfully removed the distribution. This meant sorting through every physical presence of the Jungle, refugees are item of clothing and asking ourselves, “Would still arriving in large numbers to Calais as it I wear this?” and “How would I feel if I was is the closest access point to England from gifted this?” If the answer was “yes” to wearing France. As there is no large camp for arriving it and excited about receiving it, we would keep refugees to join, many are living on the streets or it for the Jungle refugees. Coupled with this


methodology of choosing the highest quality goods to distribute, Care4Calais also had several distribution systems that attempted to destigmatize one’s experience of receiving aid. For example, Care4Calais had a ticketing system to assure that no refugee needed to wait in long lines and guaranteed that everyone was given an equal chance to receive critical items. Of course, these systems were not bulletproof and were regularly abused, but it struck me how large scale emergency aid does have the potential to be dignified and contextual. Another consequential moment during my experience in Calais that speaks to the importance and challenge of providing emergency aid in raw settings such as the Jungle was on Oct. 24 when François Hollande, the French president, issued the official statement for the eviction and demolition of the refugee settlement. This totally rocked Care4Calais’ systems, but, more importantly, turned the lives of the refugees upside down in a matter of seconds. As decrepit as the Jungle was, many refugees who I became familiar with told me how important the tent city was to them because of the communities and friendships they formed. Eventually everyone wanted to arrive in England, but in the meantime, the Jungle became a place of relative familiarity, certainty and comfort. With the eviction, that all changed. Communities were torn apart, refugees suddenly became much more vulnerable as the threat of deportation was exponentially higher and the dream of making it to England suddenly seemed out of grasp. Care4Calais decided to shift protocol from daily distributions of material goods to the distribution of information. During the eviction, Care4Calais had several teams throughout the camp spreading basic information about the eviction. Our job

was not to advise but instead to inform the residents of their options and what to expect in the coming days if they stayed in the Jungle or if they followed the directions and were resettled in welcome centers throughout France. As volunteers want the best for the refugees, we believed arming them with information was the best way to assure they could prepare for the upcoming changes. Given my position, it made me uncomfortable to urge refugees to leave the Jungle, a place they considered a type of home, for an unknown place that may put them in more danger or hinder their ability to develop important friendships and communities. I never grew comfortable with such dynamics while in Calais, and still have not today, but it was the best we could do given the circumstances. Oct. 18, 2017: While a day at Dartmouth is far removed from the realities of Calais, I often think about that dreary port city and the people I met there. I think about the many chai teas I shared alongside volunteers and refugees, about the endless mountain of donations, about the stories I heard, but mostly about my privilege in being able to leave Calais after a month and cross international borders without a worry. Since returning from Calais and reflecting past the “crazy, once in a lifetime” experiences, I’ve begun to think much more critically about my time as a volunteer for a large NGO. I’ve attempted to engage with the moral questions of humanitarian aid, especially the challenges pertaining to humanitarian aid workers and volunteers, and to better understand the discourse that surrounds refugees and immigrants today. From a personal standpoint, my time in Calais forced me to grow in tremendous ways. It is not worth listing all my many personal lessons, other than the importance of humility and self-reflexivity.



The Art of Public Speaking: Q&A with Joshua Compton STORY

By Zachary Gorman

Writing and rhetoric professor Josh Compton’s research primarily focuses on inoculation theory and the influence of public speaking. Compton’s course Speech 20, “Public Speaking,” aims to optimize students’ understanding of public speaking through the study of its history, the methods and challenges.

about rhetoric, and that’s the way Compton’s talking about it too. The difference, I think, is that we have moved from this performance model into a dialogue model. So it’s not just developing an argument for what I want to say because I want to say it. It’s respecting the audience enough to see our arguments through their eyes.

What is your background in public speaking? How did you originally become interested in the subject? JC: That sounds like a really simple question and has a really complicated answer. Throughout most of my childhood and early adolescence, I actively sought to avoid public speaking, let alone study it, let alone do it. I am a stutterer, and stuttering doesn’t typically seem to be in the same realm as those who enjoy public speaking. But in my first year as a college student, I was required to take a public speaking course. I didn’t know it at the time, but my public speaking professor was a giant in the field. He was the coach of one of the nation’s winningest speech and debate programs. I’m glad I didn’t know that prior to taking his class. I think I would’ve run away. He taught public speaking in a way I’d never thought about it before. Instead of teaching it as a performance art, trying to train us to act like polished public speakers, he taught what I would later reframe as a dialogue model of public speaking. The philosophy is that public speaking at its best looks a lot like dialogue at its best. If we think about our best conversations, how does that translate into this one-to-many form? That was a new way of thinking about public speaking for me. I really responded well to it. It gave me voice, and the metric shifted from a perfect voice, which I knew I didn’t have, to “How can I develop good ideas through my own voice? How can I not just act like a credible, confident public speaker, but become one?” That completely shifted my career goals. I decided to become a speech and English secondary education major. I taught high school for a year after my undergraduate work, and at the end of that first year I got a call from that first speech professor, Bob R. Derryberry, to see if I wanted to come help him coach the speech and debate program at that school. I came back to be his assistant coach. Fast forward a few years later, and I was the chair of the department there.

What is inoculation theory and why is it interesting to you? JC: I love this theory. Inoculation theory, in short, is a theory and explanation for how our attitudes, our beliefs and our opinions can become more resistant to change in the same way that our bodies become more resistant to viruses. In a typical flu shot, we are injected with a weakened version of the flu virus. It’s weak enough that our body is able to fight it off. We develop these resistance processes, then later when we encounter the flu we are able to resist it. This social psychologist named William McGuire, back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, discovered that the same thing happens with persuasive arguments. If we encounter weakened versions before we encounter stronger versions of an argument on an issue, we develop resistance to those stronger arguments. We think more carefully and more deeply about them. We understand more about why we believe what we believe. That develops a much more robust position. It reminds me of dialogue because in the most common way, the prototypical inoculation message, is what’s also called a “two-sided message.” Not just telling the audience once side of the story, but giving them multiple perspectives. Raising a counterargument: “Some people will say this. However, I believe this.” That is how you weaken the counterargument and create an inoculation message. It’s so much more powerful and effective than a one-sided message approach where we’re simply telling people one side of the story. You can look at the “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign of the 1980s, which was a very one-sided message: It said “Just say no” but not to what. More developed and better strategies later looked more like inoculation where people would go into school systems and say, “Here’s what your peers are going to tell you when they try to get you to smoke this cigarette. Here are some refutations of that.” What’s really cool about inoculation is that resistance isn’t restricted to the specific counterarguments that you raise. It actually creates a blanket protection against, theoretically, any argument. I love this theory because we can develop strong and robust health campaigns to protect healthy attitudes, and we can use it in educational settings. I found that you can inoculate against temptations to engage in academic misconduct and plagiarism. I’ve done some work with some colleagues at the University of Western Australia in Perth to find that we can inoculate against negative public speaking fears. The options are limitless when it comes to inoculation theory. And at its core is this theory of dialogue which is the core of my pedagogy and teaching philosophy, too.

How do ancient rhetorical traditions factor into the curriculum of Speech 20? JC: In the course, we read Aristotle and we learn some philosophies of Cicero and Quintilian. So we have this direct application of how rhetoric was being talked about and how rhetoric was being taught back in the fourth and fifth centuries B.C. The way Aristotle was talking about speech then is how most modern public speaking courses are designed now. You don’t just study rhetoric as this monolithic whole, you study rhetoric as the synthesis of the smaller arts: the art of invention, of discovering your ideas and gathering your research and finding your argument. Style, memory, familiarity, delivery. That’s the way Aristotle was talking

The course description of Speech 20


Writing and rhetoric professor Joshua Compton discusses the intricacies of innoculation theory.

mentions the unique challenges of contemporary public speaking. What are some of those challenges and how should they be handled by a speaker? JC: I think one of the most unique challenges is that the philosophy I was talking about earlier, where public speaking looks more like acting and monologue, is the way a lot of people think about public speaking. There’s this misperception that audiences should be passive and just take in the information of a speech. Speech doesn’t have to be that way. It can be so much more dynamic. It can be life changing. The audience can be actively involved. Maybe not explicitly, but at least at an internal level we can give them arguments that resonate with them so they can be actively engaged in the arguments. That sounds to me a lot like critical thinking, which is something that I know we’re talking quite a bit about recently with the rise of fake news. There’s this idea that when we engage, when we use central, systematic processing, we make better decisions. I think this dialogue model to public speaking is what leads to that. That’s what promotes this type of active, central thinking. So that’s one of the big challenges that I think we have. Are there any misconceptions about public speaking that you try to correct in Speech 20? JC: The one that I’ve mentioned a few times now, this idea that speech is all performance, and it’s acting like a good public speaker as opposed to actually becoming one. I guess some people would hope that there’s a set recipe for good public speaking, but that’s not how public speaking works. We learn that quite quickly in our study of public speaking. Instead of trying to learn the simple “10 steps to sound like a good public speaker,” we grapple with speech as an academic discipline, so we become rhetorical critics. We study theory and conceptual models and use a lot of mindful reflection to become scholars of speech, which

is so much more powerful than just sounding like a good public speaker. That’s the other big misconception, that speech is simply skills training. We could limit it that way, but I’m glad Dartmouth doesn’t. We teach speech as an academic discipline like the others, that it has its own research and theory. This is a course that enacts active learning principles. We learn speech by actually doing it. If you could suggest one thing to a public speaking novice, what would it be? JC: There are few things that will set a speaker apart more than authenticity. When audiences feel like a speaker is talking with them, when it feels one-on-one even though it is one to many, there’s no substitute for that. We can try to act authentic, but that fails. Audiences see through that. It isn’t just that an audience feels like the speaker is talking with them, the speaker actually is. The idea of speaking with an audience is dialogic and special. It’s something that can’t be replaced. So that’s one of the things that we aim for in this class. Why is public speaking important in the modern world? JC: Let me contextualize it then broaden back a bit. I spend a lot of my time thinking about public speaking and the liberal arts education. I was talking with someone recently where I said liberal arts education is dialogue. It is about working through really difficult issues, discovering new ways of thinking about knowledge itself, offering good answers and asking even better questions. It is collaboration. If speech is dialogue, then speech is a core of the liberal arts, too. It is one of the original liberal arts, actually. In general, I can think of no profession, endeavor, problem or solution that can’t be assisted by better public speaking. Dialogue is hard, but dialogue is the answer. So I see the relevance of public speaking in everything. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.


Personal Belongings COLUMN

By Laura Jeliazkov

She woke just as the light in the room went from dark to dim. She lay on her side, the blanket clutched tightly to her chin but in a tangle at her hips. Her ankles and feet were exposed. The air in the room was warm, though — the silence draped itself, softly, covering everything. The darkness was gentle. Her eyelids blinked and came up to rest halfway. As the fuzziness receded from the edges of her vision, amorphous forms crept slowly into a vague definition. The beds lined around the walls of the room took shape, then so did the varied shapes and lumps of slumber that inhabited them. Everything was still. She took a deep breath. The windows on the wall behind her head arched high; the blinds twisted at odds and angles down their length. There were wide gaps where the slats broke off or bent out of shape; the panes behind were colored a deep periwinkle. A pale stream of light slid through a thinner gap right beneath the window’s arch. It sliced a line through the dimness. Ricocheted off the opposite wall. The refraction fell onto a heap of clothes: a wrinkled t-shirt, a crumpled pair of shorts. It intersected a bottle of shampoo. Slid over a pair of glasses. Over a book laid open to a page face-down. A creased folding map. All throughout the dimness lay these various shapes. The whole floor was strewn with belongings. The traveling packs they came from slouched — shapeless, empty — against the bedposts. Yet the frenzied disorder did not intrude upon the stillness and the softness, no — rather, it grew into it. That deep periwinkle draped

itself over everything — the haphazard lines were unified. The proportions were smoothed. The scatter became one shape. The room was of one canvas. The frenzied disorder gave the stillness dimension, and it gave the softness depth. As she watched, these shapes and lumps of slumber became more and more defined. Corners and edges sharpened, and contrasts darkened. The pale stream of light grew in intensity. Her eyes followed it traveling lower and lower down the wall. It struck, finally, a point right at the brown-tousled head of a bed. Her gaze shifted to the bright yellow sheet blanketing this shape. Colors had faded onto the canvas of the room, now; the deep periwinkle was being divided, slowly, in different ways. The scatter began to split again. Finally, even shadows of depth appeared. Though her eyes had been open, she had failed to notice the stream of light growing too large for the thinner gap in the blinds right beneath the window’s arch. The stream had slowly breathed its soft warm light into the whole space of the room. She blinked. Moved her eyes slowly right. Slowly left. And just like that, the room had become, once more, a living space. She blinked, and it was as though a page had been turned. A light, whistling snore could be heard from the corner. A sheet rustled, then a body turned to its other side in a bed across the way. She wiggled her toes. A bird trilled outside. Someone reached a hand out from beneath the covers and felt on the floor for their glasses. She was in a room at a hostel. Her bed


with the tangled sheet was one among 12 in the high-ceilinged space. The shapes and lumps of slumber were a collection of strangers resting together for the night. And now, once again, the hum of the day had started up. The strangers were stirring. Stretching. Yawning. With a sudden, violent movement, she threw back her tangle of covers. She swung her feet to the ground. Stood up. And clad only in a pair of dark blue silk

underwear and a plain gray half-shirt, she padded across the cool tile floor. Didn’t stop to pull down the top from where it had ridden up her midriff. Didn’t bother to put pants on. Didn’t bother to straighten her hair for the strangers. She crossed the room. Reached the door. Opened it with a click. Slid out and headed toward the bathroom at the other end of the hall. She padded down the corridor comfortably. Proudly. Publicly.

down for it all to be over. But that quickly changed. Fast forward a few breaks later, and things just didn’t feel the same anymore. Now, instead of wanting things to speed up for me to leave, I kind of wish they would slow down. But I know time won’t speed up or slow down because I want it to.

first-years seemed to be doing. What was I going to be? The physics kid? Or the athlete? Can’t I be both? Can’t I be a combination of all that I want to be? Just Saba? I think a lot of us often feel this imaginary force to follow what people before us have done. No one sets these implicit rules, and more often than not, no one knows why they’re there. Think of Instagram, for example: You shouldn’t post more than once a day, no selfies, definitely no selfie sticks and the followers to following ration must be less than or equal to one. One Vogue article on Instagram “rules” reads: “If your picture doesn’t get more than 11 likes, you need to take it down because it sucks. Note: This applies to users with 100 followers or more. If you are new and have fewer than 100 followers, then hurry up and get cooler. If you’ve been on there for a while and still don’t have more than 100 followers, then maybe Instagram isn’t for you. You can always try Tumblr or Myspace.” I’ve been thinking about people that step outside of these norms, people that are courageous enough to let others see the real them. It took me a while to learn to be me. I didn’t know who I was when I was a freshman, but I have Dartmouth to thank for who I am now. I like this me a lot better.

Departures from the Norm COLUMN

By Saba Nejad

departure, n. de•par•ture, \ di-ˈpär-chər \ (1) The distance due east or west traveled by an aircraft I left Dartmouth a couple of days ago —Friday at 3 p.m. I was back 49 hours later looking more or less the same. Not feeling the same but definitely looking the same. I don’t particularly like leaving Dartmouth anymore to be perfectly honest. I think after three years, I’ve finally gotten a hang of things, and I don’t feel like giving it up and going through another three years before I can say the same thing about somewhere else. And then there’s FOMO. I have lots of it. While away on Saturday, I couldn’t stop thinking about how fun it would have been to go to Brews and Bands. But I guess you’ll never learn what else you could like if you never try anything new. Sometimes when I get back to Dartmouth, it feels like I traveled through time. I spent time away, but it feels like nothing here has changed at all. Like Dartmouth was on pause, waiting for me to get back. Sometimes, I get back, and Dartmouth looks the same but feels different. Maybe that’s because I am different now. (2) The act of departing

Nothing like the word “departure” to remind a senior that she’s headed into the real world in less than a year. Time, home, the real world, graduation — it all seems so foreign. Some avoid it, some count it down, some embrace it but we all have to face it. It’s not a bad thing, though. This departure, or rather, this early reminder of it, is to let you know that we’re all sprinting toward the finish line. But is it a finish line? Or more like starting blocks? Where will we all be next year? Who knows. Entropy is always positive, my dudes: Nothing will ever be the same! Maybe the next time you see some of your friends here will be at your reunion. It’s funny to think about. I remember the countdown until going home I kept during my freshman fall. It started at like 67, about two weeks after I went on Trips. It’s not that I didn’t like Dartmouth, not at all. It’s just that I really missed my dad, my old teammates and friends from high school. They were all together, and I was the only one that had decided to leave — I don’t think I even know why. But seeing them keep the connection they had made me want to still be a part of it. I really didn’t want to spend my time at Dartmouth, the best years of my life as I was being told at the time, counting

(3) Divergence or deviation, as from a standard, rule, etc. I don’t know what it is — maybe the fact that I’m an international student, or because I’ve lived all over the place or that my brain just hates static systems — but “home” has always been this weird imaginary place to me. What is “home”? In order to depart, by definition, you need to be leaving from a place, distancing yourself from a norm or deviating from a standard. I remember my first few weeks on campus. The rules seemed set — how people dressed, how and when they ate, how they talked or texted or interacted. Coming to Dartmouth felt a lot like being a fullback in a rugby match. I felt alone and in danger. I would much rather be up in the line surrounded by my teammates. Being in that situation, I did what I thought was the only way to survive: I learned the rules of the game and followed them, which is what


Publicity PHOTO

By Saba Nejad

The Dartmouth Mirror 10/18/17