I’m halfway done with college – I hate admitting this and hate hearing it more. My loathing stems from the general consensus that time passes by too quickly. Wow, I feel so old just typing that.
As my sophomore academic year ended, I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) believe another phenomenal senior class would be graduating from the college. First and foremost, they all deserve a grand CONGRATULATIONS – no banner, no matter how large, will ever be able to accurately convey the prodigious pride that they have instilled not only in themselves, but also in their family, friends, and even acquaintances. The graduating class of 2012 has – and will continue to – permanently imprint their intellect and kindness both on and off campus. President Faust eloquently and succinctly delineates the greatness of 2012 in her commencement speech [here] – while reading this, I shamelessly freaked out about her how AWESOME her closing line is!! Referencing Call Me, Maybe definitely captures part of Harvard’s culture as this track has conquered campus, infiltrating into the playlist of every (good) party, Housing Day videos, and of course, athletic teams.
After freshman year at the
undergraduate college, students are officially considered “upperclassmen” as we move into our upperclassmen houses (dorms). This “House Life” definitely lends itself to increased interaction with the older (and wiser) kids on campus. Therefore, I definitely feel much closer to this year’s senior class. In fact, many of them were instrumental in my decision to become premed my freshman spring semester. Needless to say, I’ve gotten pretty reminiscent and have been watching class day/commencement speeches these past few hours – perhaps trying to prematurely absorb and apply the wisdom being imparted. To my surprise, some of my favorite speeches weren’t celebrities, but rather students – students speaking about failures and disappointments: Molly O’Connor Fitzpatrick, Scott Alan Levin-Gesundheit, Jacqueline Rossi, and Steven Maheshwary. As depressing as this may seem, it’s hard to talk about something without mentioning its evil twin. So on the glorious day where we rejoice in our successes, we must also acknowledge how our failures have brought us here.
Mentioning “Harvard,” more often than not, triggers an overwhelmingly popular misconception that its students are nothing other than absolute perfection. As much as I’d love for this perception to be completely true, it’s really not. In fact, we’re trying to build upon ourselves and improve constantly. This drive to strive for not just more but better is how I like to characterize “Harvard.”
During the last week of this past spring semester, I participated in an Admissions Focus Group where current students and the Director of Digital Communications collaborated on how to basically market Harvard through the power of the internet. It’s slightly unintuitive that Harvard needs to market at all, but it is really important to inculcate to applicants that Harvard is not beyond reach. Personally, I’d like to see the prioritization of humbling Harvard so that interested and prospective students are more open to applying rather than being too intimidated to sit at the table and gamble. The focus group discussed everything from our website and its ease of navigation, Visitas (prefrosh weekend), & decision letters and its wording in personalized letters and phone calls – and more importantly how all these factors compared to other institutions.
Although I really should have been studying for finals and packing my belongings, it was really inspiring to participate in the focus group and how much hard work goes on behind the scenes. In the midst of hectic semesters, it’s all too easy to get caught up in how hard you’re working and neglect the diligence of others. However, I feel much more motivated when I know that those around me are working hard too – and this includes the faculty and staff! I’ll call it the Peer Pressure Syndrome when you work hard because everyone around you is too!
**Photo credits to Harvard Magazine!