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Curiosity in Action!
Happy week two, everyone! Here at Dartmouth, everyone counts time by the weeks, something made extremely convenient by the fact that we only have ten weeks in one quarter instead of the traditional 16 in a semester. While the fact that I am now 20% done with my first fall on campus and I feel like I haven't even really settled in yet is mildly alarming, the truth remains that life here is fast-paced and truly a fun, wild ride.
One of the main things that I've been preoccupied with this week has been trying to get my extracurricular activities figured out! There are so many opportunities to get involved and learn outside of the classroom that I don't know quite what to pick.
One of the many club meetings and catered dinners I've been to this past week was a "Food for Thought" dinner sponsored by the Thought Project. The Thought Project is a Living Learning Community that students can apply for which provides a community of engaged people who love to think through problems together. Various other LLCs on campus can cater to your interests, whether they be in entrepreneurship, international relations, or even the arts! As a member of the Thought Project, I have the extraordinary privilege of eating dinner with faculty as they talk about various issues, present their expertise, and open up the forum for discussion.
The dinner this week was hosted by Professor Peterson in the Biology department, who also happens to teach my favorite class this term: Biology 11, Major Events in the History of the Human Genome. The LLC bought some dinner from Jewel of India, a fabulous restaurant in Hanover, and Professor P. brought in a presentation about the biological concepts—or lack thereof— behind the ideas of race.
Throughout the dinner, our group of students learned about the history of the human genome and the misconceptions that plague society about the scientific support for individualized and unique races. Spoiler: there isn't any! Instead, humans have a complex and inter-weaving history that frequently converged and diverged with different racial groups in the past. This intertwined narrative leads to the conclusion that there is no such thing that can say, for example, Caucasians evolved differently and uniquely separate from East Asians, and thus we now have two separate races. Instead, all of our history is linked together and spans hundreds of thousands of years!
After the presentation, the forum was opened up for discussion. Students were free to ask questions about the material or pose rebuttals. The dinner actually ran overtime because of how interested everyone was in this topic, and as everyone filed away when the tables were cleared, I could still hear people talking about the presentation.
In fact, this type of engaged learning outside of the classroom has been a recurring theme in the past week. I've begun to see just how much curiosity permeates the campus, both in and out of the classroom. This type of inquisitiveness is so inspiring to me as I see what my classmates and community members are interested in, and how their different fields of interest color their lives. The idea of engaged living and learning has always been close to my heart, and seeing it in action in others has been super fun!
So now I ask you: what are you curious about?
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