Hi everyone! I realized I never posted a proper end of the year wrap up, and time just flew by while summer completely sneaked up on me. I write to you all from Incheon International Airport after spending three amazing weeks in China and South Korea. However, I’ll backtrack before explaining how I got here.
I left campus very abruptly–actually, my finish date was the earliest it’s ever been in my three years at Harvard. You see, everyone has a different final exam schedule at the end of every semester. Reading Period is the week after classes end and before final exams begin. It is a week when things on campus quiet down a bit and when I, personally, catch up with friends. Another great thing about Reading Period that I’ve found through my experience thus far is that it’s the perfect time to take a breather. While academic commitments (aside from studying, of course) slow down, many extracurricular club events and House formals occur right before or at the beginning of the week, so those are two things I always look forward to. Apart from the fun, what do students do academically during Reading Period? Some folks spend the week writing papers while others are studying for exams or collaborating on group projects…or it’s a combination of all three. How much fun you can have depends on what your workload is like. Some people have a heavier Reading Period, while others have a more difficult Final Exam Period. For me, I love not having any scheduled classes and being able to structure my days around studying. Freshman fall, I had three exams and had no choice but to stay on campus until the very last day possible because that’s when my final was scheduled. However, the end of each semester does vary. This year, I was able to leave so early because I only had one final exam and the rest of my courses’ assessments were papers and projects that were due before the end of Reading Period.
After going home, I was incredibly busy. I was only able to spend five days there. Between spending time with my family and friends, as well as packing for my trip, the week definitely flew by. I mentioned in my last post that I would be spending part of the summer hosting a new documentary series about how different cultures affect education and studying. Myself and three other students from Harvard were chosen to travel to different countries, visiting schools and universities and interviewing students from various age groups. While the four of us got to move around together for a bit, we split off into pairs. We all started in Korea, moved to China together, and then Jenny (my partner) and I covered China more extensively as Bryan and Lilli (the other two Harvard students) left for Israel halfway through our trip. For the last three weeks, I visited many different places in China and Korea. Our traveling allowed us to observe studying and education from vastly different perspectives. For example, we visited some of the best universities in both countries, as well as tutoring academies, and even rural elementary and high schools, to name a few. As for now, we’re all heading off to do our own things for the summer. In August, Jenny and I will be traveling to India. We’ve also heard (and are really hoping) we might go to France. I never thought I’d be doing anything like this, but I’ve been really lucky and it’s been an incredible experience.
Taking promotional photos for the documentary!
I’ll be home for 3 weeks before heading back to campus to proctor for Harvard Summer School and do some independent research in the undergraduate labs. I’m incredibly excited to sleep in my own bed and have some home cooked meals. Living out of a suitcase and in a hotel room for the past 3 weeks has been pretty difficult just because it’s so hard to get comfortable doing so. Next time I write, I’ll be back in the States! Also, I’ll be writing throughout the summer, so I will do my best not to bore you all!