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Spare Thoughts: 20F Edition

By Caty Brown and Jessica Cheng

Welcome to Spare Thoughts. In this section of Spare Rib, we answer questions and problems submitted to us by readers and students like you!

If you want to submit to us, fill out the form at Responses are all anonymous and may be edited for length/clarity.

Remote Romance?

Bored and in quarantine, is it worth reaching out to past campus crushes while stuck in quarantine for the foreseeable future? What advice would you have for those bold enough to try to start or continue that flirting while completely separated by COVID? Could you share any insight on what has worked for you (what to say, how to slide into their DMs, how to keep up conversation, etc.)?

If you're looking to start a romance, doing so while in quarantine might not be the easiest. However, there's no reason you can't give it a shot! A lot of people are definitely looking for connections and new (or old) people to talk to during this time, and they would also probably appreciate it if you reached out. Depending on how well you know the person you're reaching out to, starting with something like "hey, I really enjoyed talking to you while on camps and would like to get to know you better", "I haven't talked to you in a while, how are you doing?", or "what classes and terms are you on?" can't go wrong. As a last note, it might be better to reach out to people with the mindset of trying to make/solidify friendships, instead of trying to start a romance. If one of the friendships turns into something more, great! Generally though, starting relationships online is trickier than in person.

Transfer Troubles?

I am thinking about transferring colleges, and I need help deciding what to do. I am a sophomore this year and I really like the professors and classes at Dartmouth, but I have had a lot of trouble making friends. I am not from the Northeast private school world, and that culture is really hard for me to adjust to. The school feels very cliquey and money driven. Most people that I meet feel really ingenious, and the few people that I enjoy hate the school. I only had Fall and Winter on campus, and I have tried to keep up with floor mates and classmates from school, but I have realized that my relationships from home are so much deeper than those at school. I never feel like I will be a priority to anyone who I (currently) know there. In addition, I have a really hard time with the hookup/frat culture, because 1. I am queer and 2. I have a long distance relationship and don’t feel like I have friends who wouldn’t leave me in a frat or make me feel safe there. Before COVID, I had a whole plan about how I was going to Rush, join as many clubs as I can, and try with everything in me to find people who I genuinely enjoy. If I couldn’t do that by the end of W21, then I decided I would transfer. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID, I won’t be back on campus until sophomore summer. Obviously, my great plan was put on hold, yet my decision cannot be. I don’t feel ready to transfer right now because I don’t feel like I gave the school a real shot. But, I worry that I may miss the window to leave, and for the two terms that I was there, I was miserable. Due to financial aid issues, I can’t take a gap year (already tried) and I don’t really know where I’d go if I transferred, but I have thought of a few places that are less remote, more accepting of my identity, and a bit more close to home. (Barnard/Columbia, etc) My big issues with transferring are the financial aid packages that I may get, and the worry about finding friends, professors and more at a completely new place. What should I do?? How can I make friends while doing remote classes for three terms?

You're a '23 so while the whole COVID situation really sucks, you still have 2 years to find friends who value you and who you value. It makes sense that you have a deeper connection with your friends back home, because you've probably had a lot longer to find and get to know them than you've had at Dartmouth! A lot of people come into college expecting to find lifelong friends and establish a tight friend group within their first year, and that doesn't happen for a lot of people. It takes time to find your people and to establish connections with them, so I'd say give it some more time! During quarantine, many people are feeling lonely and cut off from campus, so don't hesitate to reach out to them! Partner up with people to complete project for your classes, or ask for their numbers so you can talk about the homework. Also, a lot of clubs will be moving online, making them even more open and accessible. Keep an eye on your emails and I bet you can meet some really cool, genuine people by joining a club or two this term.

Career Clashes?

How to tell my parents I think I want to pursue a career in the arts when they really want me to get stem major.

Because you're a '24, you should spend the first ~2 years exploring as many subjects as you can, stem or not. Maybe you find a stem major that really excites you and then you could double major, minor, or do a modified major with art and stem that would satisfy both you and your parents. If not, then sit down with your parents and tell them how you feel. Parents can be really difficult, but give it some time and see how everything plays out.


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