Moderately Good Advice with Gardner and Kate
By Gardner Davis And Kate Taylor, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, February 1, 2013
There is a girl that I’ve had a crush on since we were freshman floormates, but she seems so perfect that I’ve never gotten up the courage to ask her out. Do you think I should just take the plunge?
— Hesitant Harry ’14
Gardner: The early bird catches the worm. A stitch in time saves nine. He who hesitates is lost. We can’t pretend we haven’t been told. We’ve all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time. Heard the damn poets urging us to seize the day. Still, sometimes, we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug, until we can’t anymore, until we finally understand for ourselves, what Benjamin Franklin meant: That knowing is better than wondering. That waking is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst, most intractable mistake beats the hell out of never trying.
I’m now in my second term but I’m still struggling to be independent and sometimes I still wish people would just tell me what to do. It’s such a conundrum. How do I deal with all this responsibility? — Stressed Sandra ’16
Kate: Responsibility, it really does suck. Unfortunately, once you get past the age of braces and training bras, responsibility doesn’t go away. It can’t be avoided. Either someone makes us face it, or we suffer the consequences. And still, adulthood has its perks. I mean, the shoes, the sex, the no parents anywhere telling you what to do... that’s pretty damn good.
I spend so much time trying to be a “sweet bro” but I’m slowly realizing that it’s just not who I am. Is it too late to fix this?
— Bro Bryan ’14
Gardner: Deep down, everyone wants to believe they can be hardcore. But being hardcore isn’t just about being tough. It’s about acceptance. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to not be hardcore for once. You don’t have to be tough every minute of every day. It’s okay to let down your guard. In fact, there are moments when it’s the best thing you could possibly do. As long as you choose your moments wisely. Dear Gardner and Kate,
Reality is finally setting in and I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I’m graduating soon and I have no idea what the future holds for me. How do I keep from getting overwhelmed by the undertainty of what comes next?
— Unemployed Ursula ’13
Gardner: Sometimes reality has a way of sneaking up and biting us in the ass. And when the dam bursts, all you can do is swim. The world of pretend is a cage, not a cocoon. We can only lie to ourselves for so long. We are tired. We are scared. Denying it doesn’t change the truth. Sooner or later, we have to put aside our denial and face the world head-on, guns blazing. Denial. It’s not just a river in Egypt. It’s a freaking ocean. So how do you keep from drowning in it?
Kate: We spend our whole lives worrying about the future, planning for the future, trying to predict the future. As if figuring it out will somehow cushion the blow. But the future is always changing. The future is the home of our deepest fears and our wildest hopes. But one thing is certain: When it finally reveals itself, the future is never the way we imagined it. Dear Kate,
I’m still terrible at pong. I may be the wost player to evver attempt the game. Should I just give up, or stick it out and try and improve?
— Discouraged Dan ’15
Kate: Life is not a spectator sport. Win, lose or draw, the game is in progress, whether we want it to be or not. So go ahead, argue with the refs, change the rules, cheat a little, take a break and tend to your wounds. But play. Play. Play hard. Play fast. Play loose and free. Play as if there’s no tomorrow. Okay, so it’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game. Right?
I’m having trouble sleeping. Ever night I end up tossing and turning.How can I fix this?
— Tired Terrence ’15
Gardner: Sleep. It’s the easiest thing to do. You just close your eyes. But for so many of us, sleep seems out of our grasp. We want it, but we don’t know how to get it. But once we face our demons, face our fears, and turn to each other for help, night time isn’t so scary, because we realize we aren’t all alone in the dark. Dear Kate, You gave me some pretty bad advice a couple weeks ago. What do you have to say for yourself?
— Adventurous Anna ’14
Kate: Patients see us as gods. Or, they see us as monsters. But the fact is, we’re just people. We screw up. We lose our way. Even the best of us have our off days. Still, we move forward. We don’t rest on our laurels or celebrate the lives we saved in the past. Because there’s always some other patient that needs our help. So, we force ourselves to keep trying, to keep learning... in the hope that maybe, someday, we’ll come just a little bit closer to the gods our patients need us to be.
Dear Gardner and Kate,
These answers sound an awful lot like the closing monologues from “Grey’s Anatomy” episodes over the years. Are you kidding me?
— Observant Olivander ’13
Kate: It was a busy week. No apologies.
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