Perspectives: The Final Days of Spring 2018

FROM the EDITOR—For this semester’s final issue of The Davidsonian, the Perspective section asked students to submit short pieces about something Davidson needs to consider before the school year ends.–Kayla Edwards ’20

Note: The piece by Elizabeth Miller is an online exclusive.

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A Lukewarm Take on Community Living at Davidson

Emma Tayloe ’19

While sitting in Wall, I’ve heard tour guides describe the building as a space where “people from all departments can run into each other and have conversations that they wouldn’t normally.” I support efforts to “un-silo” academic fields and build a stronger community. However, before we invest another couple hundred million dollars into building an academic space that “brings people together who wouldn’t normally cross paths,” shouldn’t we make sure that academic spaces are the best to target?

During my three years at Davidson, the strongest sense of community that I have felt has been living in the sustainability co-operative or “susty coop.” The coop is an actual house (or two, depending on how you count) with six bedrooms, two kitchens, a dining room and large-ish living room. It brings together folks from different classes, social circles (and yes, elds of academic interest). I’ve learned far more from my peers outside of my own discipline from the comfort of my living room couch than I have in Wall waiting for a meet-cute with a psychology major who can teach me how to optimize the pH of a given mobile phase. I’d like to think we coopers have also created a community gathering space for non-residents. This year, we’ve hosted “pre-going out gatherings,” SustainabiliTeas, student concerts, group meetings, dinners with faculty, students and speakers, “roof beers,” dance parties, a pan-cake breakfast for folks not participating in self-selection and a TodX evening of un-learning.

Only ten people have the privilege of living in the coop at a time and each year applicants get rejected. The coop may not appeal to folks who aren’t into green sustainability; it’s managed in part by the sustainability office and maintains a (perhaps deserved) reputation for focusing on environmentalism. I consider myself something of an environ-mentalist, but I think that the opportunity for community-style living should not only be available to but also actively include folks who don’t have any interest in environmentalism. Until sharing an outlet in the Clam Room leads me (a chemistry major) to show a psych major a new way to think about early childhood development, Davidson should consider building more spaces like the coop.

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If You Are “Overcommitted,” Quit Something

By: Jules Franco ’20

Recently, I encountered a quote from the Elizabethan writer Thomas Dekker: “Do but consider what an excellent thing sleep is…” While on the surface this statement may appear trite, it is fascinating to consider the sentiment in the context of Davidson College. The toxic and pervasive stress culture on college campuses is no original thought. Near-consensus on the danger of “professionalizing” the student experience appears to have been reached. And still, some students at Davidson feel embarrassed to have gotten a full eight hours a night when they could have been up until 2 a.m., working ahead in the library. This culture is ampli ed by rampant overcommitment to extracurriculars. As Davidson students, we tend to be members of several student organizations, volunteers at not-for-profits, and athletes. And yet, we go on complaining about how busy we are.

One of the most special elements of Davidson is that its community members feel a call to serve the place that has given them so much. This call, however, is often mistakenly answered by signing up to for breadth as opposed to depth. As the year closes out, we must carefully consider our commitments for next semester, remembering that no virtue is found in overexertion. To be good stewards of the community, it is imperative that we recognize when to step back. In so doing, leadership positions across campus will be open to those who would not normally self-select into those roles. This will not only challenge traditional conceptions of leadership, but will create more effective leaders who can devote the time and energy needed to make organizations stronger. So this summer, may we unlearn our aversions to sleep and relaxation, while we learn how to quit things when we should with grace.

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In Defense of All-Nighters 

Sophie McHugh ’18

Having just defended my honors thesis I’m in a pretty defensive mood, and I’d like to apply that to something which made defending my honors thesis possible in the first place: All-Nighters. I already know what you mom-friend types and actual moms are going to say, so let’s just get the stats out of the way right now, shall we? Yeah, yeah, all-night-ers are bad for your health. They shred your short-term memory and concentration to pieces, and can cause digestive problems. Making a continuous habit out of ‘em can shave precious years off your lifespan. They can even make you really really so so very tired.

Sure, sleep is important! Generally operating on the same clock that everyone else in your culture does is probably a good idea! But readers, trust me and the three hours of sleep I got early this morning when I say: a dedicated all-nighter can change your life. And not just by shortening it. An all-nighter is an eternity of time, both sunrise and sunset, into which you can pack the most overwhelming of projects. A realm where one can escape the distractions of friendship, parties, and television. A romantic getaway just for you and your work.

Now that I’ve convinced you to abandon sleep altogether this finals season, here are some tips from a seasoned nocturnal:

Plan for your all nighter. You can make a surprise one work, but it helps if you’re mentally preparing for one (or two or three) all week. Folklore and my mom say you’re affected not by how much sleep you got the night before, but the night before the night before. So if you have a big performance or presentation coming up, take that into consideration!

Be deliberate about your caffeine intake! Don’t chug a large Peet’s the last 10 minutes of late night; sip throughout the day to #curtail #that #crash. This goes for food too. Have a hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner to gear up for the big night. And definitely grab a Peet’s and a pizza during the last 10 minutes of late night so you have something to snack on in the early morning hours.
Pack! An all nighter is like a sleepover for yourself, so make sure you bring something to the party. Pajamas, blankets, snacks, exercise ball, your entire nail polish collection, and anything else are all fair game.

Stake out a good location. Somewhere you can spread; somewhere you can stay. The cacophony of a crowd isn’t really a factor past midnight, so take advantage of large spaces. My personal favorite is the top floor of the Union, where the red eye staff is friendly and the final phases of your all nighter are graced by the smell of delicious eggs. Bonus points because Rosemary in the Davis Cafe always congratulates you on your zombie lifestyle before telling you you’ve got another dollar on your meal swipe.

Take breaks. Browse Facebook, text your friend who’s abroad, whatever. Counterintuitively, I’ve found that the early morning is prime time to post on social media ‘cause you rack up likes all throughout the day. Though whatever you do, don’t take a nap break. You won’t wake up from it.

But be realistic. I mean please, if you’re absolutely crashing, don’t play Mr. Bean and hold your eyes open with toothpicks. When it really comes down to it, deadlines are like contortionists: flexible, and missing one isn’t gonna kill ya.

Happy all nighter-ing ‘Cats, and the best of luck entering finals season. And with that, I’m gonna go take a nap.

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This Finals Season, Ask for an Extension 

Jon White ’19

Most students don’t cheat when they’re casually studying on Chambers lawn, lemonade in hand and vigilant for passing pups to pet; they cheat after 16 hours in Base Libs, after days of sleep deprivation and illness, after their signi cant other broke up with them or a family friend passed away. Most students don’t cheat because they’re com- fortable, they cheat because they’re stressed and desperate. Of course, we’ve all been stressed and desperate at one time or another, and have decided not to cheat. According to the Honor Code, intent is irrelevant. That means that cheating is cheating, and mitigating circumstances alone do not excuse an infraction. However, thorough communication with a professor can create the time and space for balancing a hectic academic and personal life.

Life happens at the worst times, and it happens beyond our control. The mistake most Davidson students make is imagining a deadline as another thing beyond their control. It isn’t. Ask for an extension. Be honest with your professor. Look to see if extensions or grace periods are written into the syllabus. Know the Honor Code policy for each of your courses, as many professors allow certain kinds of tutoring and help. If a professor isn’t responding to your emails or isn’t attending to your circumstance, do not hesitate to contact Dean McCrae and let him know your situation. He can contact the professor directly or gure out an alternative solution. As both a Student Solicitor of the Honor Council and a fellow student, I urge you to ask for help when you need it. To me, honor and integrity begin with being truthful with yourself about what you can and can’t handle, and communicating that to the professor. This finals season, reject the type-A perfectionist standard that Davidson often upholds and ask for the extension, accept the C+ instead of the B, and give yourself the grace you deserve.

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Cooler Culture is not Cooler Culture: A Brief Meditation on Women’s Unpaid Labor

Elizabeth Miller ‘20

Friends, it’s that time of year again. Post-Frolics, pre-finals: frat formal weekend. The selected few, predominantly women and Friends of certain fraternity members, will venture to exotic beach destinations in the greater Carolina area. Yet hidden costs accompany this excursion: many of these guests will expend hours of labor and creative energy designing, purchasing, and painting a cooler to present to the benevolent fellow who extended the formal invitation.

The act of painting a cooler remains embedded in the greater tradition of exploiting women’s unpaid labor. It is the domestic labor of women that enables the existence of our entire economic system. It is the artistic labor of women that enables Davidson frat bros to get belligerently drunk on the scenic shores of North Carolina. The often lukewarm reception of coolers is also telling: yet another instance of women’s labor going unappreciated. Hidden costs are numerous: the financial burden of purchasing paints and a cooler, the time sunk into the creation of the cooler (not spent studying during the most academically demanding time of year), and the social cost if your cooler pales in comparison to those of your peers. Dates who can afford it can outsource the labor of this process at a steep price. The production of coolers accompany the emotional labor that women do for men on this campus on a regular basis, but that would require more than 300 words to unpack.

Perhaps, it’s not that deep, and maybe I’m just lazy. But let’s not pretend that it is not a byproduct of the classism and sexism inherent to our Greek system. This is not an indictment of women who choose to attend frat formals; I will be venturing to Wrightsville, which makes me a “hella dope and great person” according to an email I received about the whole ordeal. Rather, this is an appeal: men, I implore you to consider the kind of labor you demand of women. Women — think critically about the labor you perform for men because I assure you that they will not take my advice.

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