Professors are cancelling classes, there’s a giant conglomerate of ice and wood in the center of the Green and my friends are talking eagerly of finishing tomorrow’s midterm so they can start binge drinking immediately afterward. Ah yes, Winter Carnival has finally arrived.
Yet while the rest of campus gears up for a weekend packed full of activities, I’m sitting in the back of Collis grimacing at everyone’s growing excitement. This big weekend is by far my least favorite, because I just don’t understand the hype. I’ve been called a Grinch, and there’s likely a visit from the spirits of Carnivals Past coming my way. While my inner resentment toward our wintery holiday sometimes confuses even myself, I’ll try and explain a few reasons I’m over the hype.
Complaints about the snow sculpture – I’ll admit, I was slightly disappointed when I saw the unveiling of last year’s sculpture. After seeing old pictures of giant pirate ships and towering wizards, my expectations may have been a little high. But my biggest pet peeve about the weekend has got to be people who feel the need to endlessly complain about the sculpture. You may not have liked it, but where were you when they were building it? Blitzes are constantly being sent out asking for help, but I never see more than a couple of people out there. If you want an amazing sculpture that belongs in the history books, go out there and help make it. I’m just tired of hearing people complain about how disappointed they were by the sculpture that was slaved over as they sat in their rooms watching Netflix.
Outdoor Activities – This is definitely a personal vendetta, but I just hate the winter. I hate the cold, the snow and the early sunsets. I can’t understand why students spend five weeks complaining about the temperature and posting weather app screenshots on Facebook, only to plan an entire weekend around the outdoors. See, most people say it’s because I’m from Kentucky but we have winters there. too. It snowed for a week before I left for Hanover. When that happens though, Kentuckians know to stay inside. Why do people want to jump into a frozen pond? A human dog sled race? WHY? Winter Carnival annoys me because somehow I’m the strange one because I don’t want to wear a lime green tutu from Party City while my friends drag me around in the snow.
Overzealous Alumni – While not necessarily exclusive to Winter Carnival, the presence of alumni certainly adds to my apprehension toward the weekend. I think it’s great that they want to come back to dear ol’ Dartmouth, but there’s a fine line between appreciating your alma mater and trying to relive the glory days. Last Carnival, I was berated in my freshman dorm by two alums for not having a condom to give them. Another man later insinuated that I could help him complete his “Dartmouth Decade.” It’s sad when college students refuse to behave like adults, but it’s far worse when alums do. Worst of all are the alums who tell stories about playing pong. I’m not interested in the fact that your dad “ran table” over Carnival, just like I wasn’t impressed when you told me the same thing last Homecoming and Green Key. Alumni are great, but not when they’re added to the already messy drunk people running amok.
Themes – This one probably makes me sound like I’ve reached my peak as a crotchety old man. Honestly though, I hate that everything over Carnival has to have a theme. What does the theme even mean? Other than the poster and sculpture, I have yet to see where “Game of Thrones” has come into play. More than that, every single event this week has to have a theme, that is actually just a veil to cover the true point of the party. Why can’t we all just admit we want to get belligerent without having to dress up in flair, pour sand on the floor or drink André out of plastic flutes? At least over Green Key, we admit that we’re literally drinking to celebrate the temperature passing 50 degrees. Winter Carnival just seems like an elaborate ruse for people to emulate the themed house parties from college movies.