Yes, it is I, after a very long sabbatical from writing, back to report to you about my life.
So wow, a lot has happened, but rather than bore you with a drawn-out narrative of the stressful end to my sophomore year (papers, papers, papers, Finals, Finals, Finals, PACK UP, MOVE OUT, OMG STORAGE IS CLOSING IN 30 MIN! AHHHHHH), I will share with you a few vignettes from my summer so far. I have had some incredible experiences – some big and some small and meaningful. But they foreshadow what I hope to be an amazing summer!
Before I launch into it, I’d just like to say that finishing my sophomore year has been a strange experience — I’M HALFWAY THROUGH COLLEGE! What is this supposed to mean? Do I even know what I want to do in life? Am I ready to graduate in another two years? Did I do enough with the two I just had?
As I contemplate all of these feelings, Bon Jovi’s song “Living On a Prayer” Living on a Prayer comes to mind, and that’s where I got the name of this post.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
In celebration of being done with all of our final exams, my roommates and I treated ourselves to buying tickets to a RedSox game. I had never been to a RedSox game before and one of my roommates had never been to any baseball game before so this was a big event.
It was a wonderfully warm summer night, and the Boston fans were out in full force. The Sox were playing the Indians, but not a single Cleveland fan could be spotted (I mean, they would have to be pretty brave). My roommates and I arrived at a packed T-station, sporting all of the RedSox paraphernalia we could find. Thrilled by the combined sentiments of being done with finals, of being at a Sox game, and of finding great seats even though we had paid for standing room-only tickets, we were giddy as we dug into our cracker jacks and hot dogs.
One of my roommates and me at the RedSox Game!
But in the moments after the ballpark had stood up to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” I admit, the happy feelings began to falter a bit. Our sophomore year was over! We were now halfway through our college experience. We weren’t going to see each other for an entire three months. And in just another two years, we would be separated by wherever life took us. Everything just seemed so scary!
And so, embarrassingly, we had one of those girly, sentimental moments – right there, in the middle of Fenway Park. A few tears may or may not have been shed. And I don’t regret it one bit. In fact, I think it’ll be one of the moments I remember most fondly when I do eventually graduate and look back at my college experience. Because I was there, surrounded by my closest friends. Together we had grown to be new people, together we would continue to change during the next two years, and eventually together we would face the world. And it wouldn’t be so scary so long as we had each other.
And that might be the corniest thing I have ever written.
But I mean it.
So freaking Patriotic
I went home for a week around Memorial Day, which is a big deal in the town of Sewickley, PA. We host a huge parade in which every pee-wee baseball team, every Girl Scout troop, every high school band member from every high school around, every greyhound dog owner (don’t ask…), every vintage car owner, and every firefighter troop and its trucks, not to mention every veteran from every war (including reenactments of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars) march, jog, trot, play, and drive through the town. In addition, the middle school’s Clown Club always provides alternative modes of transportation to its members such as unicycles and pogo sticks.
Not only is Memorial Day a big deal to our town, but it’s also a big deal to my family. My dad is a Gulf War I veteran and we’re all very proud of it. My dad will usually organize a group or fellow-vets to march in the parade and host a barbecue at our house afterward. This year, the town asked my dad to give the public address at the post-parade commemorative ceremony.
As my dad stood in his dress blue speaking about the heroism of those who fight to defend our freedom, I felt so proud and so loved surrounded by my family and my community. It’s a feeling that I sometimes forget when I’m at Harvard, hustling and bustling from one activity to another.
My sister, my dad, and me after my dad’s speech on Memorial Day!
But as I watched the parade march by, the same parade I had been watching every Memorial Day since I can remember, and as I was feeling this great sense of family and community, I couldn’t help but also feel a sense of separation. Less and less do I feel like Sewickley is my home, and more and more do I feel like its part of a very loving past. It wasn’t a sad feeling, just a different feeling, one that I accepted. I had been living at Harvard the past two years, Harvard was my home now. And well, I guess that’s what you get after you finish your sophomore year.
My sides hurt from Cartwheels and Laughing
During the summer, when most Harvard students are off campus exploring the world, the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) suspends its normal programming and starts up twelve summer camps for low-income kids around Cambridge and Boston. These twelve camps constitute PBHA’s Summer Urban Program (SUP). Like everything else at PBHA, SUP is student-run, so I am working this summer on what we call Fulltime SUPport (get it?). I like to tell people that the job is a combination of administrative work and manual labor.
We hauled 60 chairs from the Harvard Recycling Center to our Mission Hill Summer Program camp site for their classrooms. It was a 97 degree day. In the background is one of my friends cheering when we finished!
SUP is a great community of awesome students working together to change the lives of elementary and middle school students. But beyond that, it’s a great community of friends. We live in the Radcliffe Quad in Cabot House, and in the evenings, after camp is done for the day, we use the Quad to play soccer, run around and have fun.
This summer, I have compiled a short bucket list of things I would like to accomplish. One of these things is to be able to do a cartwheel. Now, I know this is a basic part of many people’s growing up, but somehow between my never-ending stages of gangly awkwardness, I never could quite get there. I remember when I was probably three or so, my mother signed me up for a Gymnastics course, and at the end of the class while all the kids performed cartwheels and summersaults to the “Ooooo”s and “Ahhhh”s of their parents, my only contribution to the performance was a Donkey-kick… in which my teacher had to grab my legs and kick them up for me.
Yes, clearly I am gymnastically-talented. So finally, at the age of 20, I am determined to accomplish this great feat.
With the help of a few good SUP friends, I practiced on the Quad Lawn for about an hour, slowly progressing, but never quite getting it. By the time it started getting dark, I was sore all over from trying to propel my legs through the air (don’t laugh…) and from laughing with my friends at each of my awkward crashes to the ground.
I haven’t accomplished a full cartwheel yet, but it was a great evening, one I shared with close friends as we looked forward to what the summer would offer us.
And that’s all I have for now! As you can see, I have some pretty mixed feelings about beginning the second half of my college experience. A large part of me is screaming, “I don’t want to grow up!!!” while all the while, I keep looking around and seeing the ways I already have. It’s a funny thing. But you guys get to witness the whole process. Should be interesting to look back and read all of these entries in two years.