finals

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Hello again!

It’s been a super busy week for me, so I’ll be quick. It’s crazy that it’s already the last week of the school year! Junior year has gone by like lightening, and I’ve hardly had time to truly consider the fact that in just a few short months, I’ll officially be a senior. It hasn’t quite hit me yet, but I’m sure once I’m on the plane home for vacation with my finals and a certain looming 20-page paper behind me, I’ll feel like celebrating my new senior-status.

Speaking of finals, my French Literature class recently ended with a few students presenting their final projects. This year in French we studied several famous French authors and playwrights including Pierre Corneille and Moliere. French 70A has been one of my favorite classes this semester. Taking a 70 level French class is a requirement for my field in History & Literature, and I’m glad that it is. It is a same class where we spent a lot of time talking about the history of the literature, reading old-style French, and writing about our interpretations of the literature.

French Class Presentation

My classmates performing a scene from Moliere’s Les Precieuses Ridicules in the Kirkland House Senior Common Room

For final presentations, students could chose a scene to rewrite and act out from the plays we studied. My fellow classmates did everything from tragic monologues to comedic group scenes – all in French of course. One group performed a scene from a Moliere satire called “Les Preciueses Ridicules.” Their rendition was great, along with their festive costumes.

Looking to watch more theatricality, on Saturday I went to the final Immediate Gratification Players Performance. The IGP, an improv group, is one of my favorite groups on campus, and I try to catch their shows whenever I can. While their performance was a tad bit raunchier than their Parent’s Weekend show, they were still just as funny! It was their last performance of the year, so the show included a celebration of their Seniors.

IGP Performance

The Immediate Gratification Players performed on Saturday for their last show of the year!

That’s all for now. I’ll keep you updated next week!

 

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It’s that time of the year when I continuously vocalize that college is really hard…and receive absolutely no sympathy. That’s probably because when I say college is really hard, I actually mean having so much fun is super exhausting…

May 1st marked the last day of official classes and the beginning of Reading Period which is a whole week of unstructured studying time for students to prepare for Final Exams. A lot of final papers and projects have deadlines during Reading Period – so much so that students can even finish all their classes before the official week of exams begin! I am always actively grateful for this week because a lot of universities have classes up until exams which I think is completely ludicrous, unreasonable, and pretty much sets you up for tons of stress eating. Good thing Harvard cares about us 😉 But don’t think Reading Period is a like a week on the beach!! Depending on your schedule, you’re probably living in the library and attending review sessions like it’s your day job. The great part is that by night, there are tons of activities lined up! Whether these activities include going into Boston for movies, study breaks (read: snacks), end of the spring semester formals, or catching up on sleep, Reading Period definitely rounds up the typical semester routine very well.

Scott & I go to a sorority formal in Boston!

Not very many kids complain about classes ending for Reading Period, but this isn’t to say that we don’t appreciate class. The semester definitely reliably blends unpredictable events into everyone’s life which can make attending every single lecture and (discussion/problem solving) section difficult. Most lectures, however, are recorded so if you absolutely can’t go to class, you can always watch the video at your own leisure. There are even tools out there that allow you to watch videos 1.5x to 3x faster – talk out upping your efficiency, though it can be hard to understand someone talking that fast. These technological advances can make life easier, but there are invaluable perks about attending lectures. A lot of my classes have “clicker” questions that are along the lines of mini pop quizzes during lecture; students answer questions that are meant to check for conceptual understanding on the spot. These responses not only help professors evaluate how well they’re communicating to students, but also help them take attendance. Besides from the logisitics, there are plenty of sweet incentives to physically attend lecture. The last day of my Physical Sciences class involved professors and teaching fellows using liquid nitrogen to produce vanilla, chocolate AND strawberry ice cream! Also one of my totally boss professors, Pardis Sabeti, catapulted t-shirts from her lab at the Broad Institute into the audience! Next week, I’ll be heading over to the Broad Institute for the first time, as Dr. Sabeti is opening her lab up for a tour! It’s pretty common for professors to go above and beyond here to interact and motivate students. I’m just glad I’m available to take advantage of these opportunities, especially during Reading Period when my schedule is a bit more free.

During the semester, Pardis threw oranges to students who bravely answered questions during lecture.

For her grand finale lecture, there was a specially made t-shirt catapult! What a crowd pleaser!

It’s inevitable that the end of the semester brings a lot of stress with final exams, projects, and papers, but it’s important to realize that we have a lot of accomplishments to celebrate as well! We can celebrate with food, formals, and free t-shirts, but what we’re really celebrating is each other, with a focus on the graduating class. Many seniors dedicate over a year to their thesis. Theses can be either mandatory or optional, depending on your unique concentration/secondary field (major/minor) combination. Regardless, a thesis is undoubtedly a grand accomplishment whether it was mandated or voluntary! Thus, concentrations will hold thesis receptions and presentations to provide opportunities for seniors to rightfully boast about their hard work!

My friend presenting her thesis on babies in movie format!

I’m a neurobiology concentrator, a department with an optional thesis. Every spring, there is a neurobiology thesis presentation where seniors voluntarily present their work in a very informal manner. In fact, the goal is to present their thesis in one minute in any kind of format! Students can either go the traditional route and speak with a powerpoint guide, but students have also written poems and made movies to share as well! Each student is presented with an “award” that’s something along the lines of “best thesis with the cutest subject” (babies) or “best thesis research location” (Italy). Don’t be too quick to brush these awards off as jokes though! A lot of them come with monetary prizes, such as the prestigious Hoopes Prize!

The end of every semester calls for a celebration honoring our hard work. This semester is a bit special because in light of recent tragic events in Boston, it also seems imperative to celebrate Boston. Other bloggers and I have mentioned before that’s it’s a tad difficult to motivate Harvard students to get off campus because there’s always so much to do on campus and because it’s like we’re constantly living in a time crunch.

However, when you have tickets to an NBA playoff game, you get off campus without hesitation! My roommate scored amazing tickets for the both of us to the 4th game between the Celtics and Knicks. It was a crucial game for the Celtics since they lost the first 3 (of 7) games in the series, so my roommate and I made sure to cheer extra loud, especially in overtime when the Celtics pulled through for their first win in the series! I have to admit I’m pretty much a fake Celtics fan (being from Southern California and all), but this didn’t stop me from constantly bragging about my attendance to an NBA playoff game. Campus is less than half an hour from TD Garden which is a great arena for not only sporting events, but also music concerts and much, much more! I can’t believe it’s taken me 3 years to make it out to TD Garden, but I’m beyond glad that I can check that off my bucket (grucket) list!

I hope this blog shows you that Reading Period is really fun and a week to absolutely look forward to – prefrosh, I’m really excited for you! – but remember that fun is exhausting too, so it’s also critical to balance with work. Kind of a lie, since my work thus far has been pretty fun. This semester, I took my favorite math class ever: Math 19a, modeling and differential equations for the life sciences. The majority of topics we covered had direct, real world implications. It’s a course that’s offered every semester and this semester had an (abnormally?) low enrollment number which catalyzed a really close pset (problem set) group aka new friendships! We had 2 exams during the semester and instead of a typical final exam, we had a final paper. I know it sounds crazy to have a math paper, but it’s probably one of the best works I’ve produced here as an undergraduate. My topic focused on modeling the periodic outbreak of whooping cough and although putting numbers and equations into written words was a new challenge for me, I’m proud with the finished project I submitted! The day after my math paper was due, I had an exam for my Genetics class (the class where they catapulted t-shirts). If you’ve been counting, that’s 2 classes down! I’m almost ready to submit my final paper for my Dopamine junior tutorial, bringing myself around for my Spanish research paper, and then I have a few days until my Physical Sciences exam on the last day of finals (May 18th). Between studying, I’m going to try to pack so I can avoid what happened at the end of sophomore year. When school finally ends (insert bittersweet feelings here), I’ll have a few days to get myself together and then I’m leaving the country for the entire summer! I don’t think I’ve posted a blog about my plans, so I’ll keep you all lingering until next time 🙂 Wish me luck with my last week of junior year!

 

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It’s officially been seven days into winter break (aka J-term) and it’s been a beautiful string of seven days! After surviving/conquering another semester of college, everyone truly deserves a relaxing break – the sad part is I’m already kind of itching to get back … SLIGHTLY.

Last Friday (Dec. 21st) was the last day of final exams. I had a final in the morning despite it being my 21st birthday. Although this has been my #1 complaint since the Final Exam schedule was published from the registrar, the brightest side is that it forced me to stay on campus until my birthday which granted me the pleasure of celebrating with my college friends!

The way finals work at Harvard is that the majority of classes will hold exams in the span of one week and on any given day, there are 2 exam slots (1 exam at 9 am and another exam at 2 pm). Therefore you can have a maximum of 2 finals per day. Exams are not proctored on Sundays and some classes may not have final exams but rather a final paper/project instead (these final-alternatives tend to be due during Reading Period, the week before official Final Exams, also known as Dead Week at other universities). Some classes also may proctor a final test earlier than the university’s official exam week (this most commonly happens for language classes…I think). One of my ultimate goals is to never have 2 finals on one day. I’ve been successful so far, but some of my friends have had 4 finals (one for every class) on the last 2 Final Exam days – pretty much as cruel as academic torture gets.

Home is not just where the heart is, but it’s also where I can take a postcard picture with my phone. SUP SAN DIEGO

My birthday final went pretty well and my friends super skillfully utilized the 4 hours between the end of my final and my flight home to celebrate my birthday. I flew to back home to California, regaining the 3 hours of my birthday I had lost from the final. My family received me better than I could ever ask for and I definitely milked my birthday for every free item I could 🙂 I literally kept this 21st birthday celebration so strong that I think my birthday was a bigger deal than Christmas. I have tons of family in Vegas so I’m spending the holidays here.

HEY VEGAS, you look better with the lights off

At school, I definitely feel like my circle of friends has easily become like a new family to me. Some people say you’ll never make friends like your college friends, while others simply say you’ll never make friends after college. Although I can not personally definitively confirm any statements, I can contest to the intensity of my college friendships in terms of their strength and pace! I’m lucky to say that my friends at school have definitely hindered me from feeling homesick often. As terrible as this sounds, it makes it hard to remember what being around family feels like – especially since I was only with my family for less than 2 weeks this past summer! Being home now, for the entirety of J-term feels so, SO great! There’s nothing like family and the instant connection I feel with them. I’m cherishing the time I’m spending with my 18 month old niece and the hours of algebra and Spanish tutoring with my cousin who’s a freshman in high school. I’ll be spending the rest of break studying for the MCAT and running like a wannabe beast in preparation for the Boston Marathon.

More on my MCAT preparation and premed lifestyle in my next post!

I’ve been vacationing so hard this past week that I’m itching to get into a routine. Sleeping cycle-lessly and eating nonstop may or may not be taking its toll on me :p I guess moral of the story is that you’ll make great friends in college but the relationships you’ll leave behind will be met again! So to all you high school seniors nervous about moving away for college, try to leverage your anxiety and use this time to enjoy the holidays!! Yes, this is easier said than done. I know my senior year of high school was probably the most emotional year of my life with my future so close yet profoundly unknown – but once all your applications are in, then it’s out of your hands so there’s no use in worrying. Good luck to all you still working on those applications too! The process sucks, but it’s an investment worth making for your near future! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for all of you!

Cheers from Vegas!

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Today marks Day 5 (of 8) of Exam Week. Eeek! I wish everyone the best of luck with exams regardless of where you are in your education! It can definitely be more of a high-stress time, but find comfort in the fact that you’ve technically been preparing for these exams for months on months!!

With one more academic semester coming to a close, nothing on campus is normal this time of year. For example, despite my life science concentration (major), I’ve been cranking out almost as many papers as my English counterparts! (Key word: almost) I’m blogging right now in a the most peaceful mindset that I’ve had in almost a week. My two most important papers, culminating everything I’ve learned in half a year (!), were due this past Tuesday/Wednesday. As Reid mentioned in her last blog, a lot of papers/final projects are due during Reading Period – a week when no classes are held so we have unstructured time to prep for examinations! Yet keep in mind that a lot of language classes will still meet. My Spanish class served as a paper-writing break for me!

Here’s how I’ve spent some of my unstructured time:

MCB 145: Neuroperception & Decision Making

Hands down favorite class of the semester. The material is so riveting, the teaching staff is super approachable and admirably knowledgeable! (swoon here) I’ve just really loved this class because like MCB 115 (Cellular Basis of Neuronal Function), it’s done a phenomenal job at fostering our creative thinking juices within a scientific environment. In addition to the standard lectures, all our readings are scientific articles on currently accepted/widely accepted theories. Even I am cognizant of my progress as a scientific thinker: I use to just passively read and accept information and analysis, but now, I’m actively engaged in their methods and interpretations as well as constantly demanding the authors to genuinely win me over with their hypotheses. Ah, my nerd juices are happily fizzling.

Our last class was a miracle berry party! This was my 2nd time going on a “taste-trip” because Annenberg (the freshman dining hall) offered it as a study break when I was a freshman. You ingest this fruit or tablet and it makes everything – from pickles to grapefruit – taste sweeter! There are some videos on YouTube if you’re interested in living vicariously. Not completely suggesting it, but I’m pretty sure my professor bought tablets exactly like this on Amazon. I love food and I love parties, so it was a great way to end my favorite class!

Our final project mirrored a research proposal that would be submitted to the NIH (National Institute of Health). This paper made me a little paranoid for all my other assignments because the suggested page length was 4-5 pages … little did I know they meant singled-spaced! Was hardly aware people still counted that way! But I think my affections for this class stem from the growth of a potential senior thesis idea.

Slight explanatory tangent: I believe every concentration (aka major) either requires a senior thesis or has it as an option. I’m at the very beginning of thinking about pursuing a senior thesis so I’m not super knowledgeable, but from what I imagine, a thesis is essentially your first ever 80 page baby. You hate it because it keeps you up at night and makes you cry. Yet you love it because you’ve invested your mind, heart, and time into the thing! For my neurobiology concentration, it’s not required. However for my Global Health & Health Policy secondary (minor), either a separate mini thesis is required or a chapter in the thesis.

Anyways, during MCB 145, I developed a personal interest in preferences and am sort of on a quest to explain how and why people (or animals like mice) play favorites using neuronal activity. Depending on the feedback I receive, I may want to pursue this topic for my senior thesis. That means, I’ll be looking for a wet lab to start in the spring and most likely dedicate my summer there too! All this future planning, GAH

24 hours after my MCB paper was due, my final paper for Aesthetic & Interpretive Understanding 50: Literature & Medicine was due. I used 2 books we’ve read in the 2nd half of the semester to show how one’s understanding of the temporality of death results in his/her understanding of one’s self identity. Some pretty deep and depressing material, so I was beyond elated to submit the paper! This class, fulfilling a general education requirement as well as a requirement for my Global Health & Health Policy secondary) was a lot better than I expected! With one 2-hour lecture a week (in addition to a weekly 1-hr discussion section), it wasn’t super time consuming and the synergistic perspective of literature and medicine was a refreshing way to be introduced to a patient’s (and not only a doctor’s) point of view.

As classes end, students are typically bombarded with reminder emails for review sessions from their current TFs (Teaching Fellow, typically graduate student course assistants). However, one of the best surprises from the semester happened when I got an email from my LS1a (Life Sciences 1a, a huge introductory science class) TF. I was enrolled in this course my freshman fall (omg, 2 years ago!) and LS1a still remains one of my favorite classes! Probably because I had the coolest TF! This past semester marks his fourth year TF-ing LS1a and he emailed all his past students for a reunion. He reserved a classroom in the Science Center and brought us snacks! I was so impressed by his memory because he remembered where our section was held and pretty much seems to be aware of everything going on in my life. There’s definitely not only a high correlation, but a causation between how much I like my TFs and how much I like the class overall.

 

Like Scott & Reid who took some time to enjoy RENT, I too wanted to soak up some performing arts and watched Next to Normal. Some of the characters were familiar from last spring’s Legally Blonde student production, but the tone of the musical was completely different. I was basically sobbing which doesn’t really say too much but sniffles were heard throughout the theater!! I applaud and applaud for these kids who are going through pretty stressful finals and a week of performances on top of that! I don’t like giving away too much of the plot, but Next to Normal did get good reviews!

Lastly, before I enter finals mode perpetually, another Congratulations to the Class of 2017 is in order!! You all are major rockstars. Soak in and enjoy these well-deserved, precious times. I’ll certainly remember my moment of acceptance for eternity, but I also remember the wild wave of questions that came soon after. The Admissions Office and us bloggers are all rooting for you! Don’t be too shy and join your class group on Facebook!

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If you’re coming in to Harvard College as a math/science kid, there’s one prominent aspect that sucks and I’m going to warn you now so you can mentally prepare. Your finals will always be last. Most likely you’ll be the one on campus studying until your brain almost overheats as you bid your non-math/science friends farewell during Reading Period (the week before Final Exam Week when classes end officially) and as seniors celebrate their last week of avoiding real life.

It’s only fair if I weigh the benefits of late exams too. Non-math/science students basically don’t receive their earned Reading Period because it’s more of a Writing Period for them. They’re forced to crank out ridiculous amounts of pages revolving around their profound, revolutionary theories that will change life as we know it – all meanwhile the math/science concentrators hibernate their brains, enjoy the abundant spring formals, and naturally pity their peer writers.

There are definitely some hefty pros and cons to both sides. You may find peace of mind in the fact that every student has their academically rough times eventually. One struggle that unites us all simultaneously, however, is moving.

Most students will remember Move In day as the glorious day they met their freshman year roommates, settled into their first dorm room ever, and even perhaps had their first appeteaser of genuine independence. All students will try to forget the anti-glories concomitant to Move Out days.

Unlike most other universities, Harvard is awesome about providing (free!) storage for students during the summer. All upperclassmen Houses (dorms) have their own storage areas (i.e. squash courts in their basements, music rooms not used during the summer, etc.) for everything from clothes, bikes to furniture. Generally, the biggest move you’ll make as an undergraduate follows your freshman year as you move your belongings from the Freshman Yard to your respective upperclassman House. Students get 12 stickers that are mandatory to tag your belongings so storage is limited in a sense. Storage is also first come, first served, depending on space availability, but I’ve never heard of this being a problem. If you live within a certain mile radius, however, you don’t get these convenient storage privileges. Also, the hours of access to storage are pretty limited. Rooms with supervisors are open for business about 6 hours a day around Final Exam week and no one gets access to these rooms until a few days before the fall semester begins. The storage system isn’t flawless – I’ve heard of basements flooding during the summer or students losing their items – but life definitely would be way worse if it didn’t exist!

This past Saturday, I had my last final exam during the 2nd to last possible final exam slot. Although I spent the week optimistically thinking “at least it’s not the last final,” I also (over)optimistically bought a flight home 3 hours after my last final. After a few days in the Gutman library (where there was free coffee and tea compliments of the Dean!!!!), I decided I would study in my room and take study breaks to pack. Initially, this system worked pretty well because my hate for packing would accumulate rapidly and I would actually want to study more. I clearly studied too much since my packing was (maybe) half way done as I was walking into my last final.

I ran home after my physics final to finish packing so I could catch my flight in 3 hours. I really, really hate to say it, but it was an impossible feat. I nearly threw everything in boxes while trying to strategically pack for my European/Latin American summer, frantically struggled to tape them shut, and struggled even harder to fight the nearing mental break down I felt creeping up as the countdown to my flight’s take-off ticked louder and louder! Most stressful situation of my life. Thank goodness I’ve met some of the greatest people of my life during my 2 years as an undergraduate. Some of the best and most altruistic friends literally came to my rescue as they fought the packing tape out of my hands and ushered me out the door to catch my flight home. They reassured me that my things will be packed, stored, and ready for me come September. I can never thank them enough!!!!!! Seriously though, if any of you need an organ, hit me up!!

My motivation for writing this blog post was to use my venting as a mechanism of informing future/prospective students of some non-academic tasks that are intrinsic to Harvard. But I’m extra glad I can hit two birds with one blog because for everyone out there who devoutly believes Harvard is a strictly selfish and cut-throat environment, you’re wrong. While moving my belongings, my friends got all nasty sweaty as their biceps and lower backs screeched in pain when they know they’re not really benefitting from helping me out – besides from all the baked goods I will deliver to them weekly from now on. Helping me out isn’t a resume booster, it’s not going to help them land their next internship – in fact, this unidentified shout out may even be their best reciprocation – yet, they still helped me not only because I really needed it, but because they wanted to! Awww, my friends are truly the best and the people I’ve met at Harvard have definitely defined my happiest experiences.

Although I categorize my friends back home as my “high school friends,” I’ve known most of them since middle school and our friendships have most definitely solidified throughout the decade we’ve spent together. It’s crazy to acknowledge that my friendships in college are just as great when it’s only been ~2 years or less, but living with your friends is probably the most efficient catalyst.

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Hello!

Now that I’ve finished my school year, I am on to my next endeavor: Dorm Crew. I’ll be working on campus in a different way than what I’ve been doing these past two semesters, sweeping rooms instead of brushing up on my education. (In all fairness, I’m going to continue studying French throughout the summer, so I’ll never really stop my traditional learning.) These past few days I’ve been working as a storage monitor in Lowell House, one of the prettiest houses on campus. However, the basement storage rooms lack that same aesthetic appeal, and spending three hours a day in a cold basement before the big storage rush is 100% the most boring job I have ever had in my life. But it is also the easiest job I have ever had, and I am making a ridiculous chunk of money from monitoring an empty room.

 

Next week, the real work begins. I’ll start working Dorm Crew, cleaning out the rooms (in preparation for summer term students/reunions) that I cleaned way  back in August (in preparation for the academic year), and I’ll continue that job until June 1st, when I’ll be free and with a full wallet. I’ve completely emptied my room, hiking up to the Quad with my boxes and the help of my generous friend Parul, packing the rest of it into my dad’s car on Wednesday afternoon, and leaving a bag and my linens to hold me over during the month I’ll be living on campus. I get my temporary housing assignment on Saturday night, and have to evacuate my room by noon on Sunday; according to the Reunion jobs (for whom I’m working the second week), I will most likely live in the Quad, and according to Dorm Crew, I’ll most likely be in the River housing, so we’ll see where I end up. Setting up house for a little bit will be nice, especially if I live in a dorm that I’ve not yet inhabited. (Hopefully not Canaday or Currier!)

 

In preparation for my difficult 3 weeks ahead, I’ve been sleeping a whole lot and hanging out with my friends around campus. Last week, I helped a friend with their final project for a Civil War class, so we held a Gettysburg reenactment in Cambridge Common. Before, I took a nice shot of the Common, showing how green everything’s become these past few weeks, due to the rain and random days of sunshine.

 

Cambridge Common

 

A Resident of Cambridge Common

 

Also, before my tough work, I’m having a little vacation. I’m with my dad in NYC today! We’re about to go to B&H, my favorite electronic store, and are going to snoop around looking for cameras. I really want a video capable camera, and am thinking about getting a Nikon 7000, if I can afford it! (Is this my motivation to do Dorm Crew? Hm…only time will tell.)

 

PEACE! Happy end of my school year!

 

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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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Hello!

Here are some photos from my trip!

Mosque in LA

Finals of CUPSI!

 

Delicious Mexican Food

 

Streets of LA proper

 

NYC in the Rain

 

 

So yesterday was the last day of classes (ohmigosh). However, I still have class to go to; today we’re watching a play presented by Italian 40 for part of our Italian Acd final, and we have an oral exam on Monday. The only weird part about taking a foreign language is that we meet during Reading Period and have exams during that time instead of in the Final exam period. So, on Friday I’ll have my final French presentation on the topic of writers fighting against oppression, and on Monday I have my oral exam for Italian, and then I am DONE! (My final paper for Expos is also due on Monday…eek, I have to do some research in Harvard’s intimidating library system.)

 

List of Things…

 

Besides studying this upcoming weekend, I’ll be participating in Grand Elections for The Crimson (from the other side, as an exec instead of a comper, electing the compers to the board) and playing many gigs with The Nostalgics. YAY. My mom is coming up to hear my band play for the last time this year on Saturday and Sunday, and she’s also going to see my Freshman Seminar’s printmaking art show! It’s in the Adams Art Space, which is really cool, and we’ve been working hard to set this exhibit up, so I’m excited to have her come!

 

Sneak Peek of Exhibit!

 

I’ve been reallllll busy these past few days trying to catch up on the work I missed last week, but soon it will be done and I’ll be missing it all, so I’m savoring it, I guess. I’m going to stick around until June 1st, and my dorm crew work doesn’t even start until May 13, so I have an entire two weeks to do absolutely WHATEVER I want! I am looking forward to exploring Boston, Cambridge, and other places around the area. Perhaps I will bike to Walden Pond, or better yet, take the train to Appleton Farm, my favorite place in Massachusetts. (Seriously, it is so gorgeous.) I will also be packing up all of my stuff and moving it into storage in Currier, where it will stay until next fall when I move into my new room! (Crossing my fingers for a single.) I’ll be far, far away in Paris…it’s becoming so real, I bought my ticket last week and this week we have an orientation meeting to figure out logistics! Harvard is great; even if you hate everything about it for some weird reason, you can’t deny the amount of resources that abound from the university (:

 

I don’t have much else to write about. If any of you have questions, feel free to comment and I’ll cover them next week! Congrats on accepted students, and choose Harvard … you will not regret it.

peace

-reid

 

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As I sit here writing this piece, I can’t believe how much has happened in the world this past year. Osama Bin Laden was assassinated, Harry Potter finally triumphed over arch nemesis Lord Voldemort, and Rebecca Black became an infamous internet sensation with her single “Friday”. Not to mention the turmoil regarding European Debt and revolutions in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia.  

My 2011 may not have been as life-altering at the global level but it has been one of the most interesting years of my life. At the beginning of 2011, I was a senior in high school and had just committed to Harvard to play tennis. With college applications behind me, I was able to engage in school activities and events that I couldn’t before. My goal for my last semester in high school was to make it the most memorable semester of high school. I attended Monte Vista pep rallies, went to Senior Ball, and was able to end high school on a high note. To me, high school was a great experience, but I would be naive to think that everyone enjoyed their high school experience. For those high school students on both ends, no matter how great your high school experience is, college is better. Long gone are the days where students are comparing grades, and you have to take subjects that don’t interest you. College is a time for exploration and journeys one can only imagine. Seniors, don’t stress out if you aren’t accepted into your dream school. Each college offers a unique education that is invaluable in many ways. I know college decisions seem like everything in the moment, but the most important thing in the long run is to find a school that is a perfect fit.

For myself, I couldn’t have imagined a better first semester in college. Looking back, I never imagined I would have had the opportunity to do half the things I have done first semester.  It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in high school, but looking back it makes much more sense.

While it is always sad to be at the end of one year, it seems that 2011 was just a small taste of what 2012 will bring. While it is safe to assume we won’t be visiting nearby galaxies, 2012 looks to be a year when the human race will push the boundaries further than they’ve stretched before. It is impossible to predict what may happen in 2012, but whatever happens trust that your dots will connect in the future. Good luck seniors, and Happy New Years to all!

Timeline of my 2011:

My three sisters (Sona, Sheena, Sabina) and I are hanging out and playing Wii.

With my best high school friend, Logan, and AP Calculus teacher (Mrs. Shackelford)

Playing tennis with long-time childhood friends

Harvard Men’s Tennis Coaches (Dave Fish & Andrew Rueb),Uncle Tara, and I at Freshmen Move-in

Eating at Annenberg (our freshman dining hall)

Upasna and I are studying economics

Connor, Sietse, Brennan, and I are playing bughouse chess

 

Stella and I rejoicing after taking our math final exams!

Back home for the holidays!

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There’s nothing like walking out of the exam room after your last final of the semester. It is a long-awaited sigh of relief, (unwanted) reminder of exhaustion, and a huge feeling of accomplishment. Huge. All the hard work has finally paid off–well, for the most part. I remember at least one course I’ve taken here that I didn’t enjoy, which definitely reflected in my attitude toward the class. Regardless, I had that hodgepodge of feelings earlier today as I walked out of the Science Center after my Organic Chemistry final. The strangest part about it all is the interim between having no academic commitments and when you leave campus for home. Many people peace out as soon as they walk out of the classroom, suitcase and all. As a fairly local student (I’m from Massachusetts), I don’t have to catch a flight, so free time is suddenly restocked on all the shelves. I leave campus tomorrow morning.

You might be wondering, what exactly does one do when the majority of people have already left campus and those who are still around are studying for their next exam? Well, I had tea with my Proctor from freshman year (a Proctor  is essentially a “Resident Assistant” or “Resident Advisor” at other schools). Yes, my proctor and I still get together even though she is no longer my advisor. Many students keep in touch with their proctors and advisors from years past, and I think that’s a testament to the Advising Program here. You get to know each other very well, and it definitely isn’t unusual to see students and their advisors outside of an academic setting, perhaps eating in a dining hall or getting coffee together.

After we caught up, I went out into Harvard Square and attempted to get some Christmas shopping done. Now, I’m a very bad shopper because I’m extremely indecisive when it comes to gifts. I’m usually nervous that the person I’m buying for isn’t going to like what I get him or her. I know, I know…it’s the thought that counts. But I can’t help but doubt my gift purchasing abilities, which is why I think the holiday season would be fantastic if no one exchanged presents and instead just enjoyed each other’s company without gifts. I might suggest that, but it’s too late for this year. I was unsuccessful in my search, but it was definitely a nice, somewhat mindless way to spend time after my final exam.

I must now clean my room and pack. I haven’t paid too much attention to where stray papers and clothes have gone because of Reading and Finals Period, so it is a bit of a(n organized) mess!

My dorm room

My next blog post will be from home! I hope everyone has a great week!

 

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