Arts First

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Another week, another blog post!

I’m writing this post from my desk in L entryway of Eliot House, with all three of my windows wide open, letting the breeze from this beautiful day float through their screens. Things, including the temperature, are looking up here in Cambridge – the thermometer actually registered a high of 65 degrees today and I, along with my fellow Harvard Square residents, broke out my flip flops and sunglasses to soak up the rare, and much awaited rays of Vitamin D.

It was the perfect time for great weather because this weekend was Arts First! Arts First  is a festival that takes place each year at Harvard. It showcases and celebrates the best of student art here on campus including theater, dance, film, music, visual arts, and so much more. In fact, with over 225 presentations, Arts First happens to be “one of the nation’s largest university arts festivals.” With over 225 presentations available, you can only imagine how busy Harvard was this weekend. Stuff was going on everywhere, from the yard to Queen’s Head Pub and beyond.

There are just a few highlights of my Arts First experience that I’d like to share with you guys. Friday night I stopped by the Leverett House annual Coffeehouse. In the old library of Leverett’s C entryway, several Leverett residents displayed their talents – singing, piano, guitar, and even spoken word. Chief, the Leverett House Master, regaled the crowd with his rendition of “My Get Up and Go Has Got Up and Went.”

Lev Coffeehouse

Leverett House Coffeehouse included live music from student performers.

On Saturday I went to see my friend Charlene’s band “Blue Print” perform at the Queen’s Head Pub. Blue Print is the rock n’ roll subgroup of Charlene’s a cappella group “Under Construction.” I’ve watched Under Construction perform, and so I was excited to hear Charlene play for Blue Print. No surprise – they were awesome! Charlene rocked the house on the piano, while her bandmates sang and played guitar and the drums.

Blue Print at Queen's Head Pub

Charlene’s (hidden behind the piano) Band: Blue Print was awesome!

To round out my Arts First weekend, I stopped by a display put on by the Harvard Capoeira. What is Capoeira,  you might ask? Don’t worry, I didn’t know what it was until this weekend either. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that “combines Afro-Brazilian dance with martial arts and acrobatics.” They performed in Harvard Yard on Saturday, and as I was walking by I decided to check out their performance. They were great, and impressed me, along with other members of the audience, with their flips, spins, tumbles, and acrobatics, all improvised and done in time with their background music.

martial arts

Ever heard of Capoeira? I have!

That’s all for now, time to get started on another week. It’s supposed to be like, seventy degrees tomorrow – sun dress anyone ???!!!


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To reiterate what Rob said, Boston (Strong) and the Harvard community is moving forward after the tragic series of events last week. Although we trudge on forward, we definitely continue to honor the past. If you don’t follow @HarvardBloggers on Twitter, then 1) you should and 2) look at how the Science Center Plaza – a place with one of the highest foot traffic on campus – is supporting the community we’re proud to be a part of:

Tons of poster boards for students, faculty, and townies to freely express themselves

A recently remodeled Science Center Plaza celebrates springtime while honoring the past. The flowers were free to take! 😀

This week was most definitely highlighted in my calendar as an academically rigorous week. I had three midterms spread out over the course of 22 hours. After a lot of denial and sleep-deficient nights, I tackled the midterms and hopefully conquered them…

It’s been a pretty rough time for everyone because of last week’s craziness, a lot of “midterms” (more like exams) and psets (problem sets/homework) were pushed around. Even recently accepted students of the class of 2017 felt the consequences as Visitas (prefrosh) weekend was cancelled to prioritize everyone’s safety. Through the movement of #virtualvisitas, however, I really hope that the new prefrosh has felt the love from not only the Admissions Office, but also current Harvard students as we’ve been posting like crazy in the 2017 Facebook group, excited to (electronically) meet you and answer all your questions! The Harvard Club of San Diego even has their own group to try to foster a sense of community. You all should have received an email, but students have been posting videos and there have been discussion panels in an attempt to virtually recreate Visitas! <>

While 2017ers have their commitment day approaching, students here have been equally struggling (if not struggling more) with the semester ending. Whether it’s the typical emotional senior sad about a looming graduation or everyone else being slayed with “midterms” and papers, we’re all trying to swim to the shallow end to keep us from drowning in the work that is perpetually piling. We also all want to enjoy the spring sunshine that we’ve been eagerly waiting for what seems like 18 eternities.

Back to my series of midterms, I think they all went relatively well. That being said, my standards of doing well in school have definitely lowered since high school. It’s pretty common for students to be stellar students in high school, then come to Harvard and have to deal with everyone else being so much better at everything from breathing to deriving theory. Our successes are all pretty relative which makes me thank the heavens and beyond for pset groups! Students very commonly work with a circle of friends (or strangers that become your good friends during the semester) and professors will go out of their way to ensure the success of you and your friends. For example, I’m currently enrolled in a math class that deals with manipulating differential equations to model biological and the life sciences. It’s an AWESOME class with a professor and a CA (course assistant – undergraduate students who have taken the class before and have done extremely well) that make this world a better place by teaching math. I’m serious. It would be a disservice to humanity if they ever stopped teaching math! After grading our math exams in like 3 days, the professor realized that the mean for this exam was about 8 points lower than the mean of our 1st exam. As a result, he’s allowing us the opportunity to earn a few points by correcting some of the problems we initially completed incorrectly. In conclusion, not only is he a phenomenal math teacher, he also has the kindest heart. I’m kind of obsessed…

You know you’re in the greatest environment populated with even greater people when you’re slammed with midterms and can still call the week one of the best. Put short and sweet, the highlight of my week was definitely meeting Matt Damon…twice!

Tickets to see MATT DAMON <3

Every year, Harvard holds an “Arts First” celebration where they honor art in general – made by both students and professionals. These two groups aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive! Matt Damon, a previous student at Harvard College, was awarded a medal for his dedicated promotion of art as well as for being awesome in general. This past Thursday, he was interviewed by another amazingly successful past Harvard student, John Lithgow, in the same Sanders Theater where Sheryl Sandberg spoke just a few weeks ago! Matt’s and John’s dynamic was the epitome of perfection as they harmoniously blended laughter and serious topics into their discussion. I’m still starstruck if you can’t tell…

John Lithgow

Matt Damon walking out on stage with the encouragement of John Lithgow

Matt Damon on high school Matt Damon

President Faust presenting Matt with the Arts First Award!

Matt discussed his wonderful experiences growing up in Cambridge with Ben Affleck and being a student at Harvard. He proudly talked about the beginning steps of creating Good Will Hunting, which later played in the Science Center Plaza. As mentioned earlier, the Science Center Plaza has recently reopened after months of reconstruction. It’s super beautiful and just in time to give students a great place to soak up some springtime sun! In the spirit of Arts First weekend, the plaza has transformed into a stage where student bands and movies have played. After Matt’s interview and award ceremony, a Good Will Hunting screening took place with a fantastic introduction by Matt. Too bad he didn’t stay to watch the movie with us…

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