Greetings from the endless haze of naping, reading, and snacking that is otherwise known as my life during J-term (winter break)!
Since New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to share some of my Harvard/Cambridge related resolutions with you all. I’m usually not very good about sticking to my resolutions past the first week of the New Year, but maybe sharing this list in a public forum will help hold me accountable.
1. Stop buying food in Harvard Square during dining hall hours.
I made a nasty habit of eating non-HUDS (Harvard University Dining Services) meals last semester, and it really took a toll on my bank account balance. In the beginning it was harmless. I started off with a mini cup of frozen yogurt from Pinkberry (coconut yogurt with granola and honey, if you please) here and there, but the next thing I knew it had escalated to a regular sized burrito (buffalo chicken!) from Boloco’s with a nutella milkshake multiple times a week.
I love the food in the Square, and I’m not willing to sacrifice all of my little indulgences. As a compromise, I think that I could stand to stay away from these treats when the dining halls are open. Especially since eating in the dining hall is free, so it’s a money-saving alternative.
2. Spend more time in Widener.
I love a good study space. Freshman year I lived in Canaday, so I was all about getting my work done in the Canaday basement, Cabot Science Library in the Science Center, and Lamont Library.
This year (my sophomore year) I decided to switch things up. Since I live in Pforzheimer House (Pfoho) in the Quad, it doesn’t really make sense for me to study in the Canaday basement or Cabot Library anymore. Last semester I went to Lamont whenever I wanted to get work done on the River, and I would go to the Pfoho Library (Pflibrary) when I wanted to be productive in the Quad.
However, towards the middle of the semester I stumbled into the Loker Reading Room (and the Atkins Reference Room) in Widener Library, and it was a total game changer. Widener is a striking building from the outside, but the interior is absolutely stunning. Plus, people that go to Widener generally mean business so there’s this peer pressure to be productive.
3. Take the time to explore Boston.
Whenever I am home and catching up with my friends and family, people always ask me, “How’s Boston?” and I am never able to give them a legitimate answer. I tell them that Cambridge is amazing, but I can’t tell them anything about Boston-proper because I rarely venture out of the Harvard bubble. In fact, the only time that I step outside of Cambridge is when I feel the need to hit the shops on Newbury Street.
It’s a shame that I haven’t taken the leap, because there are some things that I am dying to do in the city. Here are a few:
a. Have a picnic in the Common, the city’s oldest public park, on a sunny afternoon.
b. Spend an afternoon in the Museum of Fine Arts (especially to view van Gogh’s Houses at Auvers). I’m not actually that much of a visual arts enthusiast, but after I spent last summer in Barcelona I came to appreciate the calm of a good museum visit. I especially want to take a look at Houses at Auvers because I visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York last year and saw The Starry Night. I just thought the texture of the painting in person was the coolest thing, and so I want to take a look at another van Gogh.
c. Visit the Massachusetts State House. My favorite part about the tours that I give (as a member of the Crimson Key Society) is learning about the architecture and the history of the buildings on campus. I really want to get a good look at the Massachusetts State House because Charles Bulfinch designed it. He’s the same architect responsible for University Hall in Harvard Yard. He’s also a Harvard graduate!
d. Take the time to visit the New England Aquarium. I don’t have any pets or anything, but for some reason I love zoos and aquariums. Since I’m from Northern Virginia, I visit the National Zoo in D.C. and the National Aquarium in Baltimore a lot. I’m ready for something new!
Honestly, the list could just go on, and on, and on. The point is that there are a million and one things to do around campus, but I need to make a conscious effort to see what Boston has to offer as well.
4. Go to office hours. Undergraduate professors and teaching fellows hold regular “office hours”, during which students are welcome to stop by and get to know their professors. The idea is to make the faculty accessible so that students and faculty members can build strong relationships outside of lecture and section. I’ve never really taken advantage of office hours.
Every semester, I tell myself that I will go, but the second that I get busy I use my schoolwork and other commitments as an excuse to opt out. It’s really a shame and a waste of a great opportunity. This spring I intend on attending at least one office hour session for each of my classes.
5. Take a class pass/fail. This is probably the trickiest resolution, and I’ll most likely put it off until next fall. There’s no sound reasoning behind this one. I’m really just curious to see how it would effect the way I learn and treat my assignment.
I think that’s just about it. Those are my Harvard-related resolutions for 2012! Hopefully posting them to this blog will keep me honest in the coming year. Wish me luck and discipline! Hopefully you’ve had the opportunity to reflect on 2011 and come up with some resolutions of your own. Here’s to an exciting new year!
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