A Penny for my Scattered (Summer) Thoughts

This week’s post is going to be a sampling of a little bit of everything which is representative of my scattered brain as the semester nears to a frightening end and I’m trying to gather up all my loose ends now so that I’ll be able to look back at a skillfully tied bow when I board my plane home back to San Diego in a few weeks (this run on sentence probably represents my zipping mind as well!).

Reading Period (a week without classes right before Final Exam week) officially ends Thursday night (May 3), which means the first official day of Final Exams is May 4, AHHHH! Now this definition of Reading Period, which you’ve probably seen all over this blog, is kind of a misnomer because there are still tons of classes and responsibilities in the form of review sessions, optional (but not really) sections, and the like. For many students (non science kids usually), Reading Period is a time to crank out tons of Final Papers and many classes have Final Presentations and Projects due as well. Language classes also tend to take place during Reading Period but also typically end before the start of Final Exam week.

Although most look forward to Reading Period, it’s still a crazy busy time – but can definitely be well balanced as the weather tends to get better and there are tons of social events like House Spring Formals, and last Sunday DAPA (Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisers) and CEB (College Events Board) held a joint Garden Party where there was free cotton candy, snow cones, and a MOONBOUNCE! One of my absolute favorite facets of Harvard is definitely this beautiful and delicate balance of work and play! The tremendous support also keeps me sane during these potentially stressful times. For example, the Resident Dean of Mather (my upperclassman House/dorm) sent out an email that offered her adorable dogs for stress therapy petting sessions!! If someone had told the high school me that Harvard College would offer such a 360 degree service, I honestly wouldn’t have believed you for a second. In fact, I’m still taking in the fact that there are so many opportunities here for me; most of the time, it just feels unreal that my life has been so blessed and has come to such a good place.

Tangent: After I was accepted into Harvard College and basically committed the next day, I was obsessed with the idea of not dying before college. I remember consciously taking less risks – such as driving safer and not eating unidentified food – because I didn’t feel like it would be a good time to die since I hadn’t experienced my Harvard dream yet. After a few days of screaming “I can’t die before college!” it was bluntly pointed out to me that I shouldn’t want to die…ever. It didn’t seem obvious to me at the time, but I’m glad I had loving company to help me realize I shouldn’t let Harvard wholly define me. Sure, I worked my butt off to get accepted and continue working other body parts off in my endeavors to exploit my undergraduate opportunities, but it really is important to me that I let Harvard verify my diligence and supplement my identity rather than completely define it.

Anyways, you can probably tell that in the midst of Final Exam shenanigans, I’m so freaking happy. This enthusiastic euphoria stems from my summer plans. It’s literally going to be the best summer of my life and I’m still questioning whether I deserve it. Half of my plans are set in stone – I just need to book the other half of my flights! I’ll be going home for 2 weeks, traveling Europe (Paris, Venice, and Barcelona) with two of my sorority sisters for 2 weeks, interning in a clinic in Peru through DRCLAS (David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies) for 8-9 weeks, working with Refresh Bolivia for 3 weeks, and then flying right back to a (hopefully) welcoming Cambridge to move into my new room with my best friends and kick off JUNIOR YEAR.

NOOOOOOOO!!! I’m (just about) half way done with college. Don’t ever tell me or let me realize this again. Although I only look forward to what comes my way in the future, I really hate moments where I can no longer deny the passage of time!

I’ll check back in again next Wednesday (when I’ll be done with 3/4 of my classes!) Wish me luck because oh boy, am I going to need that partnered with caffeine.

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  1. lu’s avatar

    I do not know how I come to this kind website,and see ur journals….it is really fantastic…I am a little girl from China,and I know Harvard is one of the best unis in the world….So u must be talent….haha…and after seeing ur journals about ur life and ur study….I am totally impressed by the enormous difference between American colleges and Chinese colleges….U are all excellent students….Maybe I should learn from all of u….haha

    1. Jeanie Nguyen’s avatar

      Thank you so much for reading Lu! I really appreciate it and I’m very glad to hear you enjoyed it! I always really enjoy learning about the differences in academic institutions as well. Please don’t be shy if you have any questions about life as an undergraduate at Harvard!

      –Jeanie Nguyen

    2. Summer Storage’s avatar

      YJ i really agree with you get a really long summer break!!! 🙂 ) i hope all of these lot of fun and enjoy these summer ,,,

      1. Jeanie Nguyen’s avatar

        Thanks! I’m SUPER looking forward to my summer 🙂 and I hope my favorite season treats you well too!

        –Jeanie Nguyen

      2. YJ’s avatar

        Hi! Wow, you must be really busy these days. I’m getting ready for my AP exams (scary!) and all sorts of end-of-the-year school concerts and performances and things… I thought high schoolers were the busiest people ever during this time of the year – guess I was wrong! 🙂 I haven’t really thought of what taking finals as an undergraduate would be like… when you take your exams, is it like being in high school again? Good luck with your finals! (You’re so lucky you get a really long summer break!!! 🙂 )

        1. Jeanie Nguyen’s avatar

          Hey YJ,

          Yes, I must admit it’s a very hectic time of year, but it’s a good kind of busy! (As long as I continue getting some sleep, haha) I love being officially done with a class because it always feels so rewarding! I actually just finished one of my exams this morning and I’ve never really felt like I was back in high school during any of my exams here at Harvard – probably because all my undergraduate exams, whether midterms or finals, have been much more challenging.

          Finals back at my high school were way more relaxed! They were always worth ~15% (a very small percentage relative to what they are weighted in college) and grades were essentially locked before final exams which definitely decreased any little pressure there was. Being tested in a more chill environment in high school definitely makes it harder to take undergraduate finals more seriously. However, approaching the potentially high stress period of Final Exam week with a more laid-back attitude definitely has its positive aspects as well.

          Let me know if you have any other questions about exam period! Thank you so much for your kind wishes and I hope the best for you too as you prep for AP Exams and other final activities. Keep up your hard work!!

          –Jeanie Nguyen

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