If Family Feud were to poll 100 Harvard students and asked whether or not the students felt they were productive, I would bet my right leg (or maybe just my left pinky…) that all one hundred would answer “no,” regardless of concentration, gender, and hair color. These poll results aren’t because we spend all day bashing Yale; instead, we hardly feel productive because we’re too passionate.
One of the greatest advantages of Harvard College is “Shopping Week,” the first week of every semester where students have the ultimate freedom to sit in – or walk out – of classes in order to evaluate courses as they see fit. It’s literally the perfect way to ease back into academics due to the lack of pressure to commit. Professors can’t assign homework and there aren’t any (discussion) sections or five hour labs to consume your evenings. The week is typically dedicated to socializing and organizing your extra-curricular calendar which comes with a hefty load of informational sessions, adviser meetings, and applications. These extra-curricular activities have a snowball effect; after spending hours applying, interviewing, and auditioning, you’ll only dedicate more and more time as your commitment level rises. Your time commitment is directly proportional to your impact. Yet, as you stroll into your dorm every evening, you’ll vent to your roommate about how unproductive you were because you spent the whole day organizing a leadership conference in Japan, or implementing plans to tutor and mentor children in underserved Boston communities, or couldn’t put down your book of leisure.
These feelings of unproductivity never stem from sleeping all day or watching re-runs of Jersey Shore. I’ve noticed how Harvard students have a tendency to categorize their extra-curriculars as unproductive matters; this is because we’re so passionate about applying what we learn in the classroom to the real world, that we don’t even consider this work! It comes second nature to us because the Harvard community fosters this meaningful kind of application and involvement – so much so that it’s as easy as your ABCs.