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My Boyfriend and I in Santa Barbara for Christmas

Nothin’ says California lovin’ like a day in the sun and luckily we’ve been getting a lot of that. It almost makes me forget the potential snow I may be coming back to.

 

So to enjoy the days outside while I can, my boyfriend and I took a trip up to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles for a day as a Christmas gift. We visited a number of beautiful, family-run, and even one biodynamic, vineyards in the area (never have I had the pleasure to sample so many delicious wines in one location), as well as enjoyed the picturesque beaches.

 

One of the quaint wine estates visited on our trip to Santa Barbara

Since then I’ve just been readjusting to reality, looking at potential jobs upon graduating—I’m currently in a restaurant management internship for Tremont 646 in Boston and the experience has been truly enlightening—, as well as outlining my class shopping list for next semester (both subjects that I will explore more in depth in the coming weeks). But all of this move towards planning after a week of mainly just sleep, food, and friends has got me thinking about the ability to push work ethic and determination.

Chef Andy Husband’s Restaurant on Tremont St. in Boston

I got a great comment from a reading about procrastination and how to deal. This, of any time of the year, is probably the worst. You get a break, but it goes by so fast after all the holiday cooking, shopping, cleaning, adjusting… the last thing you may want to do it prepare for summer internship applications or—like me—getting to work on your thesis.

 

But like anything in life, sometimes taking a real break and committing to it is what you need. Allowing myself the time to focus these last two weeks on family, old friends, getting back to hobbies like cooking and home gardening, all have allowed me to transition most easily into a work mindset feeling refreshed.

 

I suppose I’ll leave you with that as the New Year approaches and, as it does, I’ll be sure to fulfill that resolution of taking a deep breath, and break, often.

 

Happy soon to be 2012!

 

~Natalie

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Hey everybody!  As summer is coming to an end, and a new school year is on the verge of beginning, I thought I would take this time to reflect on my freshman year and the new sophomore year to come.

So to start, freshman year… wow.  That’s really the word that sums it up the best: wow.  Going into the year, I honestly had no idea what to expect.  I mean, sure, I thought maybe I would get some cool roommates, make some new friends, take some fun courses, learn some stuff, but I never could have foreseen the nine months ahead.

During my first year at Harvard, I met some of the most talented, hard-working, charismatic, brilliant, and interesting people I have ever encountered.  There were kids who already had patents under their names, kids who had made speeches in front of thousands of people, kids who had organized huge charity events that raised thousands of dollars, kids (*cough, cough* my roommate) who could wake up at three in the morning with only six hours before a paper was due and speed write twelve pages that still earned them A’s.

I know you’re probably thinking, well, what do you expect?  It IS Harvard, after all.  And I suppose you’d be right.  But the thing that struck me was how down to earth everyone was.  I arrived on campus knowing that I would meet extraordinary students with extraordinary talents and achievements, and feeling pretty inadequate.  I mean, the thing I was most proud of was being the Editor-in-Chief of my high school yearbook.  But the cool thing about going to a school with a less than 6% acceptance rate is that there is a level of respect, especially among freshmen, for even getting in.  Everyone’s reasoning is that if you got into Harvard, then there must be something truly special about you.  And it was really awesome to spend long nights my freshman year in Annenberg dining hall listening to people’s stories and learning about what makes them who they are.

Me loving my freshman year at Harvard!

Beyond that, I never expected to make some of the best friends of my life, join a sorority, head a volunteer organization, write a blog on my life that people actually want to read, and all of the other things I’ve gotten myself into.  Freshman year blew my expectations out of the water, and I hope sophomore year will do the same.   To answer a commenter’s question from a few months ago – how have I best utilized the amazing school I go to and made sure to not take for granted the amazing opportunities I’ve been given – I’d have to say that I have tried to get to know a new person everyday, to learn something new about the people I already know, and to find a new way to care about those who surround me.  This world is made up of the people in it.  Each person has a story.  Each person is the way he/she is because of a sequence of events that have been linked together to form the chain of his/ her life.  And I think it is important to listen to and care about the people we meet, whether they are on or off of Harvard’s campus.  It is through listening to other people that I learn the most about the world and life in it.  Everyone deserves to be heard.  And that is what I hope to continue to do as I start my sophomore year!

Thoughts on my sophomore year:

  • What will my concentration be???? AHHHHH!
  • Will I enjoy living all the way in the quad?
  • I need to find a job…
  • Where do I buy a bike?
  • I’m so, so, so excited to be back and to see everyone!
  • Oops!  I’d better unpack!

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