The Game

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Yikes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on life. This semester has flown by. And I feel like I say that in every other post I type. It’s true, though!

The past few months have been stressful and emotional. Senior year is weird. I think it’s starting to hit me that I only have one semester left. It’s bizarre thinking I won’t be seeing my 7 roommates everyday or that I won’t be able to head down to dinner with them in the dining hall next year. Aside from friends, there are also so many classes I want to take before graduating. There’s just not enough time!

Looking towards the future, searching for a job is quite possibly the most daunting task I’ve ever had. As a senior, the culture here can be quite stressful and cause you to doubt yourself, especially when you feel like you’re the only person who has no idea what you’re doing next year. I’ve heard it all: unbelievable job offers that my peers have landed, to medical school folks either with a research position or those who are going straight to becoming a physician, to people who are just planning on taking a year to travel the world. However, there are so many people without plans who just aren’t as visible, which is what I keep trying to tell myself. I’m currently in the midst of applying for different opportunities, all of which I’m incredibly excited about. I know I’ll find something I love, but it does, indeed, get difficult hearing about people who have already figured out the next several years of their lives, so to speak. I miss being an underclassman. I think these feelings come with being a senior and would exist regardless of where I went to school. The thought of being somewhere other than the place that I love so much and have come to call home for the past three and a half years is incredibly scary. I don’t want to leave Harvard.

Me and one of my roommates Paul!

Me and one of my roommates Paul, Harvard-Yale 2012

Before we get any more nostalgic, seeing as I still have 5 months left as an undergraduate, let’s talk about the present, something more uplifting! This past weekend was Harvard-Yale, as Jeanie mentioned in her last post. We have this huge rivalry with Yale (surprise!) that dates back since the beginning of time. Each year, students and alumni from both schools gather at Harvard or Yale (the location alternates schools every year) and reunite all to watch the Harvard-Yale football game in what is probably the most memorable weekend of the fall semester. This year, The Game (yes, it’s a proper noun) was at home at Harvard Stadium and I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend from Yale! Funny story–she and I met at Harvard’s Pre-Frosh Weekend (now called Visitas) back in 2009. She ultimately chose Yale, but we’ve kept in touch since and had our first meal together in my dorm building, Quincy House, since we first met as seniors in high school. It was so nice catching up with her and we had a great conversation about our experiences at our schools. There were too many good memories to pack into such a short meal!

Me and Catherine, the other Co-Chair of Quincy's House Committee

Me and Catherine, the other Co-Chair of Quincy’s House Committee, Harvard-Yale 2012

As far as The Game goes, we won 34-24! My class, 2013, has been really lucky because we haven’t lost once since we’ve been Harvard students. I think Yale needs to step up their football game 😉 In her post, Jeanie mentioned the Rhodes Scholar interviews that occur every year on the weekend of Harvard-Yale. There were indeed not one, not two, but SIX winners from Harvard this year! Of those six, four live in Quincy and three are friends of mine! We’ve been laughing saying that there must be something in the Quincy water. All four winners literally live within 20 feet of each other in the same hallway. I can poke my head out my door and see their rooms. I’m so happy for all six of them. What an achievement–definitely worth missing The Game for!

I’ve been home, just about 40 minutes north of campus on the border of New Hampshire, for a few days now on Thanksgiving break. I also went shopping at midnight yesterday (or early this morning, rather) for Black Friday, which is a day of the year when many retailers open their stores at ridiculously early hours with huge sales to get rid of much of their inventory. It’s one of the biggest days in the United States for the retail business, as well as a day when many people get their holiday shopping done. It sounds crazy that I went at midnight, and even crazier that I drove back to campus to pick up some of my roommates and blockmates (up to 8 people you choose to be placed into the same House as you after freshman year)! I guess that’s one of my favorite parts about being a local student. I can go home for breaks, bring people with me, or just drive back to campus if I want to hang out with my friends. We had too many people who wanted to go shopping, so my roommate/blockmate, Adam, rented a Zipcar for the entire morning. We took advantage of a lot of the deals and shopped until 7 am!

Shop 'til you drop?

Shop ’til you drop?

I’m trying to relax, spend time with family, and eat leftover Thanksgiving desserts (pie, anyone?) before heading back to campus on Monday morning for Reading Period and exams. I’ll be sure to update more regularly now that the crazy part of the semester is over!

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Some heavily anticipate their Sunday cartoons; others excitedly wait for their monthly shopping catalogs. One day that unites all us Harvard students is the day of The Game. Once a year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the old Harvard-Yale (HY) rivalry blooms into friendship(ish) since the football game location alternates between the two campuses every year and students typically find a floor/futon host with friends or friends of friends (of friends).

I can personally guarantee you that any student with a 9 am class here complains. Yet HY Game day is so epic that we’ll all wake up super early as to not waste any beautiful daylight! I’m knocking on wood as I type this, but since I’ve been a freshman, the weather has been absolutely spectacular on this particular Saturday – I’m talking about long sleeve/light jacket apparel!!

This year, my fun festivities began on Friday because the Yalie I hosted arrived Friday afternoon for his HLS interview. He’s the only person I know at Yale and we met the summer of 2007 at science camp. You’d be surprised that I keep in touch with quite a few people from this camp – my best friend there is a senior at MIT and my sorority sister! Anyways, when my Yalie arrived, we went to Grendel’s Den for lunch. It was a pretty selfish suggestion on my part because I’ve heard good things, haven’t been yet and have always wanted to go (semi-because it can be recognized in the movie The Town!). Most places in Harvard Square can be pretty pricey due to the constant tourism, but Grendel’s has an awesome lunch special! It was really nice to catch up with an old friend who’s known me since my embarrassing awkward teenager days when I dance-party’d to Ashlee Simpson.

Can’t believe we met 5 years ago at UC Irvine!

Most Yale kids arrive Saturday morning just for the tailgating and football game so I was a little nervous about my Yalie arriving a little early because I had a jam packed weekend. That afternoon, the Harvard Decision Science Lab, where I’m a research assistant, was hosting the last presentation of a semester long series for the Institute of Quantitative Social Sciences. I was looking for something for my Yalie to do while I presented on the study I’ve been involved with, but he was totally stoaked to watch my presentation and even seemed like he enjoyed it with his inquisitive questions. I always enjoy giving these end-of-the-semester presentations because it gives you a chance to reflect on where you started so you can see how far you’ve gone / how far you need to go; these reflection points are great transitions to cross off goals and add on new ones to refuel and (re)motivate you for the final stretch of the semester.

Italian dinner

After my presentation, we rushed off to the North End in Boston where there’s a heavenly strip of Italian restaurants. I was pretty good at going off campus towards the beginning of the semester, but with classes and extracurricular activities picking up, I knew there was an end to my off campus excursions. Guests are always the best excuse to escape campus for a few hours, especially if there’s good food involved! The nearby Boston skyline is beautiful and we couldn’t gasp enough at its beauty as we walked through Faneuil Hall (which is already decorated for the holiday season!) towards the harbor.

Heavy coats mean CHRISTMAS (music!)

As glorious as my Friday sounds, I was up to the challenge of having the perfect Saturday. I woke up early because my sorority (Kappa Alpha Theta) has a chapter at Yale and we always have a joint brunch on Game Day. Then I was off with my best friends to the tailgate area where undergrads, graduate students and alumni all come together and rally before kickoff. Enjoying great company on a gorgeous day is something I’ll always be thankful for. There were so many moments where I was just in awe of my surroundings.

My photography skills may be lackluster, but you still have to admit this is a beautiful sight!

Storming the field after victory!

Harvard won (expected) and continued our winning streak! I know part of the fun comes from the rivalry but I find greater joy in convincing the other team how lovely Harvard is. It’s even better when they go through this process without my help though: since my Yalie is applying to HLS, he already loves the campus and couldn’t stop raving about the magnificent Charles River.

Don’t get me wrong – HY weekend doesn’t unite everyone. Some may choose not to participate and some may have scheduling conflicts i.e. Rhodes Scholar interviews, casual. Last year around HY, there was a controversy about the Yale quarterback not being able to play because his Rhodes Scholar interview was the same time as the Game (but he was later retracted from the scholarship award). This year, things were much less dramatic and much more celebratory as six Harvard seniors were granted this once in a lifetime slash life changing opportunity!! I literally take my hats off for them!

I’m telling you all: HY weekend is magical! It’s the classic time stamp of the semester. It’s the trigger of the end. It’s the sign notifying you of how much time you have left. By HY, the majority of midterms are over (so sorry to those that must endure a third midterm in these upcoming weeks). HY flags the much needed turkey-induced sleep and relaxation – as well as the end of the semester! When Thanksgiving hits and ends, Reading Period is just around the corner and Final Exams marks the end of my 5th semester as an undergraduate. Say it isn’t so!

I’ll be staying on campus for the first time ever this Thanksgiving – update soon! Hope everyone is taking advantage of their breaks wherever you may be! Stay safe and eat like you’re going to die young 😉

 

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I’m going to go ahead and be the first blogger to formally announce the arrival of the “best holiday of the year”: the Harvard-Yale Game. On this Thursday afternoon, you can already feel the buzz of excitement in anticipation of Saturday’s game: the school shuttles proudly boast “Go Crimson, Beat Yale,” student groups have been selling t-shirts for the game for the past couple of weeks, and entryways have begun putting up Harvard posters in all of the most visible windows around campus. This weekend is easily the most fun and highly anticipated of the whole year, and campus is crowded with visitors from Yale and returning alumni (young and old) coming to cheer on their alma mater in what might very well be the most historic college rivalry in the nation.

Roommates at last year’s game! 

I will admit, I find few things about the Harvard undergraduate experience more exciting more entertaining than the opportunity to play up our rivalry with Yale, and I love the Game in large part because it is the one weekend per year when I get to put on every article of Crimson clothing I own and cheer for my school. I’ll go ahead and brag: our football team has defeated Yale at The Game for the past five years, and if all goes according to plan they’ll continue that streak on Saturday. My fellow seniors and I are really excited about this prospect of winning all four years of The Game as undergraduates, so let’s hope the Crimson performs well!

 

Outside of the actual game, though, the weekend of Harvard-Yale is always exciting because of the number of alumni that return to campus and the diversity of events that get planned. Many Harvard groups will plan performances or events with “sibling” organizations from Yale – joint acapella performances or brunches with different chapters of the same sorority, for example. More informal events, like dinners in the Square with returning friends, are also a frequent feature of the weekend. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on!

To give you all a sense of how exciting Harvard-Yale is, I thought I’d give you an outline of my anticipated schedule for the weekend…

Wednesday

– Study Break, Wigglesworth F – ok, so this already happened last night, but the freshman entryway I am a Peer Advising Fellow for had a study break last night focused around making posters for The Game. The Freshman Dean’s Office provided posters and markers for freshmen to use, and are giving out prizes to the entryway that does the best job bashing Yale in their poster. Looks like the administration is on our side!

Thursday

– Prep work – not very exciting, but I’m planning on spending this afternoon finding all of the Harvard gear I plan on wearing on Saturday and cleaning my room for the visitors coming tomorrow!

– Birthday dinner – one of my friends, a Harvard 2012er who graduated in the spring, is having a potluck dinner and hosting all of the recent grads who are around for the game! Should be a fun way to see everyone in a more casual setting.

Friday

– Visitors arrive! – our room is hosting a number of friends who are coming up for the game, including a friend from home, a couple of my new friends I’ll be working with next year, and a sister who’s up for the weekend.

– Senior Bar – the Classes of 2012 and 2013 are having “SENIO12 13AR,” a casual event at one of the bars in Harvard Square. Senior Bar is a recurring event put on by the Senior Class Committee that’s open to the whole class, and this weekend we’re opening it up to the 2012ers who graduated in the spring!

– Harvard-Yale Battle of the Bands – The Nostalgics, the Motown funk band that fellow blogger Reed is in, are taking on A Streetcar Named Funk (from Yale) in an informal battle of the bands tonight. I’ll definitely be making an appearance!

– Harvard-Yale Happy Hour – one of the student organizations I’m in is hosting a happy hour for alumni in Porter Square, and I’ll be swinging by to say hi to some of my favorite former members!

Ad for the Battle of the Bands

Saturday

– The Game! – What else? Kickoff is at 12, so everyone will start heading down to tailgate area around 9 or 10 to begin the festivities. There’s a combination of House-run and organization-run tailgates spread out across the entire athletic complex, so it’s always a maze of trying to find friends and groups. Eventually everyone heads into the stadium, hopefully to watch the Crimson dominate the Bulldogs.

– Sleep! – After a long weekend, people frequently end up taking lazy dinners and watching movies or going to bed early after the afternoon’s festivities are over.

The other exciting thing about Harvard-Yale weekend is that it marks the unofficial start to Thanksgiving break. While Harvard still has class on Monday and Tuesday, classes are usually really laid back and students sometimes even head home early. I’m certainly looking forward to taking the train back to Rhode Island on Tuesday afternoon!

Go Crimson!

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Shannon’s post that mentions shelves of Free Time does a great job summarizing what I feel like must be any college student’s month of November. The semester is almost ending, and there’s too much to do in such a short amount of time. This week was crunchtime.

One of the coolest things that every upperclassman house has is a House Committee (HoCo). HoCo plans house events like formals, study breaks, and other events to foster community and make the house a fun place to live. Essentially, HoCo acts as the student voice for the entire house to staff and administration. I decided to run for next year’s HoCo for the position of co-Chair. However, as Shannon mentioned, November is the time when everyone goes to buy more Free Time, but the shelves are simply empty. Between a HoCo campaign, two problem sets, and a CS50 exam, I was feeling the pressure!

The CS50 exam was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, so Tuesday evening was particularly stressful. I spent the majority of my evening after dinner in the Qube (each upperclassman house has a libary and the Qube is Quincy’s). It wasn’t too bad, though, because I was surrounded by good company and we made sure to take a study break. We ended up making a new friend, pictured below.

Two of my friends, Cielo and Mary, in the Qube!

Two of my friends, Cielo and Mary, in the Qube!

Fast forward to late Thursday evening. The exam was over. I also ended up winning my HoCo election, which I’m so stoked about and can’t wait to help plan events for Quincy House. At midnight (Friday, November 18), a few friends blindfolded me and took me to a restaurant where more friends were waiting with a cheesecake for my 21st birthday. Why not a regular cake? Well, cheesecake because it is my favorite thing to eat in the entire world…which usually confuses most people because I don’t eat chocolate or drink soda, and I just don’t enjoy sweets in general. But that’s beside the point. Later that evening, my cousins came to campus and brought me out to dinner. My birthday was fantastic, and it just happened to fall on the same weekend as the annual Harvard-Yale football game (or, “The Game” for short).

Yale Bowl, Harvard-Yale 2011

The Yale Bowl was packed!

I had another visitor this weekend–Rachel, my best friend from home! One of the best parts about attending college just a little more than a half hour from home is that I have family and friends from high school close enough so that a visit is just a drive away. The Game’s venue alternates every year between the Yale Bowl and Harvard Stadium. This year, it was taking place at Yale, and since I didn’t go as a freshman, I was excited to experience it, especially with Rach. We won 45-7! It was a new adventure for the both of us, and we explored Yale’s campus, only to fall in love with the architecture of all the buildings. I might be biased, but I still think there’s no place like home. Quincy House!

Rachel and I in front of Yale's Silliman College

Rachel and I in front of Yale's Silliman College

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It would be an understatement if I said the past two weeks have been “busy”. Between end-of-semester papers and exams, Harvard-Yale weekend, alumni reunions on campus, and Thanksgiving break, it’s been an exciting (and sometimes stressful!) few weeks for me. To summarize my two week long roller coaster ride, here are my top ten highlights from the past ten days!

10. Turning in my Social Studies paper last Friday! With an hour left before the deadline, I found myself frantically editing in Starbucks, but it all came together just in the nick of time.

9. DELICIOUS brunch the morning of the Harvard-Yale game – great way to start off the big day.

8. Spending all of Saturday night and Sunday morning baking for the FOP Leader Alumni Reunion we hosted over H-Y weekend, and watching people enjoy my hard work for breakfast!

7. More importantly, getting to meet tons of awesome leader alumni who each had their own cool FOP story to tell.

FOP alum at the reunion

6. Finally seeing Harry Potter!!! I had to give up my tickets to the midnight showing to finish my Social Studies paper, so needless to say, I was stoked to see it.

5. Enjoying not one, but two Thanksgiving dinners with my family in Rhode Island. (votes on the best Thanksgiving dish? I’m a big stuffing fan)

4. Bringing my Californian roommate home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.

3. Having an excuse to wear every bit of Harvard gear I own to The Game.

2. Having a FOP-FOOT meet-and-greet (FOOT is the Yale equivalent of our outdoor orientation program).

1. Beating Yale 28-21!

And, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few snapshots from The Game, including one of Harvard celebrating the win!



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