Second semester has officially started! My study card is signed, I’ve already passed in a paper, and I can’t see my floor underneath all of my books and coats. I couldn’t be more excited. I was really worried about pulling together my joint concentration (similar to a double major) and having a good fit, or seeing if it was the right choice, but I am confident that Music and Social Anthropology was the way to go. (Let’s see if I feel the same after the semester is over…I sure hope so!) So now I present to you my First Impressions of the four courses I’ll be taking in the next few months.
Anthropology 1610: Ethnographic Research Methods
Ah, William James Hall. We meet again. Furthest building from the quad (or any of the upperclassman houses, for that matter). Shaped like a giant white cheese grater. Luckily, there’s the most beautiful room on the first floor, with a rounded riser system and glowing wood paneling. The acoustics must be amazing. I don’t recognize anyone in this classroom, and the professor looks like he’d be teaching something more related to psychology. There are a lot of people in here, also. Okay wrong room! Up four flights and back to the little, poorly-lit seminar room where I spent last semester in Ethnographies of Food. And now I will share a direct quotation from my notebook, “omg, I love accents.” There are more than 5 people who are Tibetan, including my TF, my professor is Jamaican and just called method courses “unsexy.” The girl to my right is Nigerian, he’s Ethiopian, Turkish, Jamaican, Thai, Dutch, Indian…all in a class of less than 20 people! Anthropology is amazing. Wait, my professor just said that he studied Cape Verdean music “many moons ago.” This was the right decision. WE GET TO WATCH AVATAR?! Sold.
Music 97c: Ethnomusicology
Seriously, what is it with me and being in the wrong classroom? I swear that I wrote down Music 6, and nobody is here. It is 10am, however…combined with the fact that these are music concentrators and the time of day, perhaps I should stick around. Here comes the professor, I think. Yup. There are three people now, and it’s 10 past. The room is well ventilated and well lit, and the chairs are uncomfortable; even if I didn’t sleep the night before, I’ll definitely stay awake during class. Let’s see if lecture is interesting; okay, so does discussing the meaning of music after listening to a computer-created composition in the style of Vivaldi and James Kenning’s stamp cancelling recording in Uganda count as lecture? Yes. Yes, it does. I suppose comparing a reading from the Qu’ran and a call to prayer whilst discussing the concept of haram (banned) music in Somalia is an incredibly interesting way to start off my day. I can groove to this.
Anthropology 97z: Sophomore Tutorial
Back in room 105! Alright, the curved walls. They are so beautiful. My professor wants to talk about witches for a large section of this tutorial. That’s okay, too.
Music 167r: Electroacoustic Composition
Me: Is there any room left in your class? I’m obsessed with it! Hans: Fill out this form. Can you come to section from 4-6? And commit 7 hours outside of class to working on your recordings? Me: Yes. (Anything to get my hands on that amazing studio on the top floor of Paine Hall. Anything for that.)
Now that I am all settled in with my classes, I can talk a bit about my extracurriculars. Although I had a really bad doctor’s appointment about my vocal nodes, showing very little sign of improvement (the pictures are really graphic, so I won’t show them), I will be singing in my a cappella group, The Opportunes, alongside our two newest members, Madeleine and Sara! After an abridged version of our normal audition cycle, we decided on these talented ladies, and I couldn’t be more excited. I went to bed around 2 after our deliberations and set my alarm for 6:30, actually forcing myself out of bed and down to Harvard Yard to pound on our new baby Opportunes’ doors and congratulate their sleepy selves. We let them go back to sleep and/or enjoy their donuts and set off for Lowell house, where we ate breakfast together until around 8 am.
I marched back to the Quad underneath a blazingly blue sky, wind whipping my cheeks bright red, and settled in to my room to apply for a summer proctoring position at Harvard this summer. I’ll have to be doing vocal therapy, as I am completely unable to sing in my band (The Nostalgics), so I have to be in the Boston area, and proctoring means free room and board, plus a free class on top. You know what that means? One less class in the fall! (Or, more likely, an elective, knowing me.) Check out the courses at this link, including the one I’m super interested in (Anthro and Film).
Then I read for a bit, listened to Fleetwood Mac in preparation for a concert mid-April with my two awesome friends, Jess and Parul, and started writing a new poem for the CUPSI slam poetry competition. The competition is next week, and it determines the team who will be representing Harvard at the National Poetry Slam, which will be at Barnard College in NYC this year! Remember my post from last year? All systems, go!
I’m off to clean the mess my room’s become and have dinner with the newest Opps! Happy February everyone, and here’s to a great second semester.