Today, the Opportunity rover on Mars was officially declared dead. This May, a massive dust storm hit Mars and blocked the sunlight from reaching Oppy, who ran on solar power. This rendered her unable to function, and after sending out over 1,000 unanswered messages, her team at NASA has officially declared today the end of her mission. We leave her alone in space today, her purpose served. Maybe someday, when a manned craft finally reaches Mars, we can return Oppy to Earth, to a human race who is thankful for her service and the knowledge she has provided to us. Until then, I feel strangely sad for the end of this inanimate object. She has gone cold, existing without instruction in the vast expanse of space. Goodnight Oppy — hopefully, we will someday be able to bring you home.
I often wonder how many students at Williams suffer from Impostor Syndrome, AKA feeling like you somehow aren’t smart enough or qualified enough to be here. I would venture to guess that a lot of Williams students feel, or have felt that way at some point during their time here. What about the college’s culture and environment creates and perpetuates these feelings? Maybe we all take ourselves too seriously? Maybe we have nothing to do with it, but rather it is born from increasing societal/ capitalistic pressures? I have no answers or nuanced perspectives, but I do wish all of us Ephs would be more open to talking about the reality and plight of impostor syndrome here on campus and beyond.
For those of you who don’t know, I had to put my horse down this Monday. It hurt me on a far deeper level than I ever would’ve expected — at random times, the pain will hit me and I’ll be rendered unable to breathe, to speak, to do anything but cry. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that I’m currently experiencing all five stages of grief simultaneously. However, what’s truly shocked me is how kind everyone around me has been. Even when they don’t know what to say, they adopt some of my pain as their own, even if they don’t fully understand it. This, to me, shows some type of deeper altruism of which humans are capable. The title of this post is a play off of a book on moral contractualism entitled “What We Owe to Each Other”. Now, I’ve never read said book and am by no means well-versed in philosophy, but my interpretation of what little I know of it is that humans treat each other in ways they can justify; essentially, they base their actions on what others can accept and what they owe to them as mutual citizens of planet earth. This, to me, harkens back to the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated. This type of worldview, in which your altruism is based strictly on some sort of contract between yourself and the rest of humanity, has always struck me as selfish and not fully understanding the true depths of human kindness. Humans are, in fact, rather stupid creatures. We give our love unabashedly, often expecting nothing in return. We help others with no thought for ourselves, we put others above us, we act in ways that are evolutionarily pointless and harmful. And yet we still do it. I loved my beautiful horse Ava with reckless abandon, and after losing her others have done so towards me. So be human today. Love beyond the boundaries of what is sensible, and make sure those who you love know that. Do not do only what is owed to you or only help people so far as you’d want to be helped yourself; that would make for a very cold and utterly inhuman world. Instead, act wildly and irrationally and totally and absolutely like the unpredictable, inefficient human being you are. Love others to the point of senselessness.
In college and during first days (and possibly up to your last days at Williams) you make a lot of first impressions. The first impressions you make partly depend on the context in which you meet, which can change the way people think about you. First impressions are hard to change. Imagine this: you meet someone in Hoxsey when they release all of their inhibitions. But at the same time, if you had met that person in class after they shared a profound revelation they made about the reading, the way you view them would be different right? It’s just to say that people are so incredibly complex and multi-faceted. You can be one person in one setting, and another person in one setting (obviously). As someone who is in your own body 24/7, you know about all of your different sides, but some people on campus may only know you as your Hoxsey self, or as your academic selves which can be kind of weird.
where there’s only one animal, a dog. It’s a shih tzu.