You know how people say that Wednesday is the hump day of the week? You know, that point in the middle of the week that is particularly excruciating? Well November has proven itself to be the proverbial hill month of the first academic semester of the year. The middle of the month (as in right about now) is especially rough.
Here’s a general breakdown of the progression of the school year up until this point:
August: Students generally don’t arrive on campus until the last week or so of the month. August is all play, and no work! Everyone is excited to be back on campus, and classes have yet to begin. It’s a blur of summer summaries, meals in Harvard Square, and exciting reunions with friends and roomies.
September: September isn’t quite as laid back as August, but the start of a new semester is always refreshing. I love checking out different courses during Shopping Period and getting to know my new professors and TFs (teaching fellows). Also, it’s a great time to make friends because a new class schedule means new classmates! Also, the weather in September, especially towards the end, is fantastic. The sun shines and a light breeze is usually there to cool you off just when you need it.
October: The first wave of midterms usually takes its toll on me at this point, but Columbus Day (no class!) and Halloween (costumes and fun!) help ensure that October is still an overall enjoyable month.
November: Now we reach the “hump”. Things start to get a little too real in November. The second wave of midterm exams and papers comes crashing down. Also, as a sophomore, I officially declare my concentration (major) next week. In and of itself, declaration is a really exhilarating occurrence. However, the paperwork that accompanies it is no fun…at all. At this point in the year New England living rears its ugly head. It is legitimately cold outside, and it starts getting dark by 5pm. More than anything, by the time you reach November you are so close to Reading Period (the week or so preceding exams when class does not meet) and exams that you just want to fast-forward to the end and go home for J-term (our month-long winter break). I might sound like a Negative Nancy, but that’s probably just the midterm stress coming through.
Full disclosure: there is a select list of November-related things that really help me power up and over the hill.
- The Changing of the Leaves. Cambridge in the fall is enchanting. The leaves on the trees in The Old Yard and Tercentenary Theatre change from green to captivating hues of gold, brown, red, orange, and yellow. I like to think that being surrounded by all of the warm fall colors helps keep me warm, despite the cold. This has yet to be scientifically proven.
- Veteran’s Day.* It’s a national holiday, so no class! Enough said.
- Harvard-Yale. Harvard-Yale is the sporting event of the season–Nay, the year. My excitement cannot be contained. The game is next Saturday at Yale, and the wait is going to be the death of me. It is a REALLY big deal. Students and Alums alike make the trek to the game. I can’t wait to take a bus down to New Haven with all of my friends, tailgate with great food and great people, and watch Harvard domination extend to the field.
- Thanksgiving Break. Thanksgiving is the first time that I get to go home during the school year! To be fair, I could probably sneak home for the weekend before this point but it never seems worth the hassle. Also, it will be the first time that all of my family members will be in the same place since the summer, and I cannot wait for the family bonding to commence. Most importantly, the Thanksgiving feast at my house would leave any glutton delighted and satisfied.
- Fall Fashion. By November it is officially appropriate to break out the flannel, boots, and scarves. Not to mention all of the deep and rich fall colors. Fall is my favorite season to dress for. Sweaters, leggings, leather, legwarmers, beanie caps, trench coats…
- Pumpkin Flavored Treats. Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks, pumpkin milkshakes from Boloco, and pumpkin pie and pumpkin cupcakes from Sweet! All of these delicious treats are available in celebration of the fall season, and the best part is that they are all conveniently located in Harvard Square. It’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven.
- The End of Daylight Savings Time. Falling back to gain one hour of sleep? YES PLEASE!
Fret not. The mid-November hump will pass. Right now, Harvard-Yard is the light at the end of the tunnel that I am focusing on. I can’t wait to share it with you in a future post!
*Happy Veteran’s day to all of the men and women of the United States military! Your contributions are much appreciated (past and present alike).