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Thomas Lee is director of the OFA’s visiting artist program, Learning From Performers, and also director of Office of the Arts communications.

Author Thomas Merton once wrote, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

“Losing ourselves” is a concept not readily embraced in a community like Harvard, where discipline and structure are prized as key ingredients for success. And yet, there is something fundamental about the urge to create, to express oneself, to get lost within the stanza of a poem, the recitation of a dramatic monologue, the movement of a symphony or a piece of choreography. It’s how we identify ourselves, how we learn who we are by experimenting with forms and genres, making molds and breaking them, finding out what works and what doesn’t.

It’s art making. And the Office for the Arts at Harvard (OFA) is in the business of making art making happen for undergraduates and the entire Harvard community.

At its essence, the OFA champions artists—whether first-year Harvard undergraduates or master innovators. Forty-five regular employees and fifty professional instructors comprise the staff of specialists across arts disciplines. Traditional and contemporary aesthetics are integrated into the teaching of co-curricular courses, as well as in the artistic direction of our music ensembles, exhibitions and guest artist programs. The OFA creates connections among practice, theory, and history. It also strives for state-of-the-art practices in the management of many Harvard arts venues.

Taking classes in dance, ceramics and figure drawing, creating theater, working with professional artists from a range of disciplines, playing in an orchestra, singing in a choir, obtaining funding for arts projects and subsidies for music lessons—all of these are in the OFA’s portfolio, which is waiting for you to open and explore.

What’s striking about the artistic community at Harvard is its diversity and the passion of its participants, many of whom will never go on to careers in the arts. That saxophonist in the jazz band who takes on a solo in a Duke Ellington composition? He’s pre-med. The actor tackling Gertrude in Hamlet? She’s got her sights set on law school. And the young woman working with the master artist in the OFA’s ceramics studio might end up running a major corporation some day.

Of course, Harvard has educated hundreds of accomplished artists over the years. When Tommy Lee Jones ’69 received the Harvard Arts Medal in April in recognition of his acting and directing career, he noted, “My experience here [as a Harvard student] is the best thing that’s happened in my creative life, and the reason for that is not simply what I learned, but that I learned how to learn, and I will be grateful for that as long as I live.”

(And don’t just take Mr. Jones’s word for it—to learn more about the importance of the arts and creativity in the lives of Harvard students, visit the OFA’s Harvard Arts Blog:

Whatever your creative journey, we’re here to help you find your way—and to lose yourself, too.

Students work on a project at the OFA ceramics studio during the annual fall "Clay All Night" event.

Students work on a project at the OFA ceramics studio during the annual fall “Clay All Night” event.

Members of the Harvard Jazz Band perform a concert at Sanders Theatre, April 2011.

Members of the Harvard Jazz Band perform a concert at Sanders Theatre, April 2011.

You can follow the OFA on Facebook at Harvard Arts; and on Twitter, @harvardarts. Visit the OFA’s main headquarters at 74 Mt. Auburn St., Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm, and contact us at or 617.495.8676.


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Visitas Weekend has finally come! Every April, Harvard opens its gates to the admitted students for a jam-packed weekend full of diverse events, great food, and incredible conversations. This is an important weekend because the admitted students have to make the decision of where to spend their college careers. It’s an exciting time of college exploration and finding out if Harvard is right for you.

My favorite part about this weekend is meeting the Admitted Students- or as we call them at Harvard- the “Pre-Frosh.” Current students get the chance to host Pre-Frosh in their dorms during Visitas in order for a chance to see what it’s really like to go to Harvard. Hosts are also there to provide any kind of advice, guidance, or past experiences to help the Pre-Frosh make their decision. I signed up for 3 and I can’t wait to pick them up and show them around once they get here!

Another one of my favorite parts of this weekend is that Presencia Latina falls on the Friday of Visitas. Harvard’s Presencia Latina is a spectacular Latin Arts Showcase where groups from across the Harvard, Cambridge, and Boston communities can come together to celebrate the Latin culture. I really hope some of my Pre-Frosh can make it to the show! I was at Dress Rehearsal last night until the early morning so I know the show is going to be a great one, as always.

Another reason why this year is so special is because Presencia Latina has reached it’s 10th Year! That’s an entire decade of Latin Arts. I really appreciate that Harvard gives us the resources and space to celebrate a culture that means so much to me and I know that we’ll continue sharing this beautiful culture for years to come! That was one of my concerns about coming across the country to college- I thought I would lose my culture. Luckily, Harvard provides a ton of opportunities to celebrate the culture you grew up in as well as learn of the diverse set of cultures that make up Harvard’s student body. This weekend will be unforgettable.

To get a look in to what last year’s Presencia Latina looked like, check out this video!

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For better or for worse, in a week and a half my thesis will be in, done, gone, and sweet sweet spring break will be the reward! For once the description is perfect as spring seems to have come early here to Cambridge this year (almost 60 in February? Amazing–though I hate to think of what summer will bring…). This spring break I’ll be sticking around here but my friends from California will be visiting complete with tour of Boston and New York City.

As for now, the week has flown by as I really get started in this semesters extracurricular. Tonight I just held my first Food Literacy Project event in Lowell House, a Superfoods Tasting. With the sudden ’bout of sickness that seems to be transversing around campus this antioxidant filled event was just the recipe. Lowell house students and friends came by and were able to sample a variety of healthy fare including cacao nibs, spirulina, coconut water, and roobios tea.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’m about to finish my second article for The Crimson today. I’m currently writing as an arts columnist about Culinary Arts in a postmodern era. You can find my first article here and another great column from a fellow writer here. It’s odd to think that The Crimson is over a hundred years old, but its the sort of place that when you walk into their headquarters to certainty feels established (in the best possible way). I’m excited to see how the column develops through-out the semester and am getting teary eyed already at the thought of this being my last semester to do extracurriculars such as these.

So in an effort to make the best of it now, I’m going to go finish the article before burying myself in the library for the weekend, hoping to emerge with a more finely edited thesis (i.e., readable). Have a great weekend!


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Hello Everyone! I’ve been really, really busy (in a good way) these past few weeks, mostly with Crimson and school stuff, which is obviously a blast. Although I’m getting worn down, I think I’ve been structuring my day properly to allow myself enough time to do exactly what I need to do and still get some rest. Do you know that I sleep 8 or 9 hours a night? Yep. I do. I pride myself on that, and basically my theory is that anyone who gets less sleep hasn’t organized their time well enough, or totally overbooked themselves. I have managed to (kind of) find a balance, with the help of some schedules and structure.

My schedule from yesterday afternoon…pretty full, but totally do-able!


So what, exactly, have I been doing? Same old, same old, except for this INCREDIBLE and very bizarre event I recently went to. It was called “Experiencing Economies; Innovate or Die,” and basically it was a tour of innovative and design businesses/spaces in Boston which ended up selling out in one minute (there were 50 slots, too). My favorite place that we went to was Continuum, an innovative consulting corporation that was definitely one of the coolest places I’d ever been. I was covering this event for The Crimson, and ended up going all alone on a tour with a ton of grad students and people who were older than me. It was all very secretive, and I really had no idea what to expect, so the bus that I boarded could have been going to Akron, for all I knew! However, we ended up at Harvard’s iLab first, which is essentially a large technologically-innovative and up-to-date building where students from MIT and Harvard can come in and collaborate on big ideas, eventually getting funding for them. It’s about half way between Harvard and MIT, and was really cool. There, we did a psychology experiment on advertising and branding, lead by a History of Psychological Science Graduate student. Here are some photos from the event!

Some Art at the iLab


This was pretty cute…and cool, because people were drawing on the walls!


This was definitely my favorite quotation.


Some photos of the psychology experiment….bringing me back to my SLS-20 (intro to psych) days!

Obviously, my artistic and academic abilities were put to the test! The next stop that I enjoyed was Continuum, because there was an incredibly interesting exhibit set up there; these two women had gone into Boston’s inner-city high schools and worked with students who were affected by violence, and they broke that violence down altogether. They filmed fights and replayed them to analyze how they worked, charted the cycle of a fight, talked about the differences between domestic abuse and gang violence, and went into extreme detail to help these students work out the true definition and consequences of violence.

This was really inspiring.


This exhibit was moving, and made me really consider pursuing a career within Continuum; it puts creative and innovative ideas to good use, for the benefit of others. What could be better? By the time the exhibit was closing, I started to get really, really hungry. Luckily, there was tons of food, and my friend Ned was bartending, so I could swing by and visit him!



Ned with the red suspenders!


The evening was a total success, and after I went to my friend/bandmate Noah’s 21st birthday party, I fell asleep both content and inspired. Check out the OFA article I wrote here!


The next day (Saturday), it was my mom’s birthday! I called her up a million times until she answered, chatted with her for a while, and was on my way. I love my momma! I had to finish a photography shoot for the cover of this week’s Crimson Arts, so I ended up staying at the Crimson all day Thursday, for part of Friday, and for a while on Saturday and Sunday in order to finish up the cover with my fellow exec, Dean. Here are some behind the scenes shots!

Dean photographing one of our models in The Crimson


Our completed cover!


It was a really fun assignment for The Crimson that Dean and I got to run entirely, from conception to final product, which was printed yesterday! Many thanks to all of my models/friends for their pretty faces (:

Now that I’ve covered some exciting things in my past, we can look to the exciting thing in the future: this summer, I will be going to Paris in the Harvard Summer Study Abroad!! I was accepted about a week ago, from a pool of many applicants, and will be able to get a jumpstart on my potential path as a Romance Languages and Literatures concentrator! Nothing could be more exciting than spending my summer in the City of Love (and blogging about it while I’m at it). Now all I need is for my grants to be approved, something I’ll know in about a month. By that time, I’ll be in a House, have my summer planned out, and be preparing for my trip to LA with my fellow CUPSI Slam Poetry members. Wow! The future is pretty exciting in general, but even more exciting when you’re at Harvard.

Thanks for reading, and happy Thursday.




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Wonderful Week


I’ve been having the best week ever, and it’s been so busy that I haven’t had any time to post on this site, so sorry for the delay! This is going to be slightly shorter, because I have a meeting at 3 with my Peer Advising Fellow (PAF) to talk about blocking (aaahhrrggg, deciding on my suitemates is so complicated), classes, and my summer plans. Also, I just applied to be a PAF next year, so we’ll see how that goes, and maybe one of you class of ’16 readers will be my PAFee! (That’d be so exciting.)

Yay random picture I took of Harvard Hall yesterday!!

So: a quick synopsis of what has happened since last Thursday. On Friday, I passed in my official study card (yippee!) and had a meeting with my slam poetry team. Later,  my mom came to visit and we watched the Harvard-Yale men’s hockey game, which I covered for the Crimson. Harvard won 4-3, and we beat Yale in the women’s hockey, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball games. Woohoo! Then I went out to a really fun party with a few of my friends and saw some a cappella people whom I hadn’t seen in a while, which was great. The next morning, my mom swung by for a little bit in between my auditions of common casting through the HRDC. Basically I tried out for  a lot of musicals and got some minor roles that I decided to drop, because I have a million things happening already. (Check out the link above for more information about theater, another addition to my Quest for the Arts!)


Go Harvard!

Sunday wasn’t too busy, but I ended the day with great news: I was appointed Arts Photography Exec with my friend Dean for The Crimson! Now I get first “pitches” (really cool events to cover) and I lead a crew of Junior Editors and Compers in their journey of photography this semester. I couldn’t be more excited.

Monday was my first Photo Exec meeting, in the newly designed photo-lounge of the basement. The basement holds design, video, and photography (really, the best part of a newspaper in both online and digital editions), and within that group there’s a great sense of community. I was alerted on Monday that I needed to give a gift to the Exec I am replacing, so that’s been my weekly project (keep reading).


Cast Lists are Posted!

Tuesday was my first day of Expos! I was sectioned into Contemporary American Theatre, a course with a very high Q Score and an amazing prof. I’m really looking forward to it, though it’s going to definitely be a difficult course. Later, I had an all-photo meeting with the Junior Editors and Execs, which was great. I pitched The Arts as a beat (translation: I gave reasons to people for why they should take pictures primarily for Arts), in the form of a song! It was very classy and very fun. Later that night, I started drawing up sketches for my gift to the ex-Arts Photo Exec (who is now the Editor-At-Large of Photography), having decided on a shirt as a gift. The design is of a pug puppy (the cutest, obviously… and photo has a bit of an obsession with baby animals) reaching for a soda bottle with the word “AHT” on it. (The ex-exec has a thick Boston accent.) Then, I had a few more late-night meetings and finally went to bed.


Oh So Cute

Wednesday, I interviewed Dean from Dean & Britta, an alternative music duo, for the Office of the Arts. Now all I have to do is write up the article, and I will post the link next week! I had my printmaking seminar again, which was amazing, per usual, and continued to work on the project I’d started on Monday. We were asked to create a visual representation of our favorite word, and I chose “noodle.” Okay, I’m not sure if that’s my favorite word, but there were so many to choose from…so I just chose my favorite food-word. Also, there are tons of alternative definitions for noodle (such as brain, or fool, or Mr. Noodle from Elmo’s World), which means I can be very creative. Next week I’ll be pressing my page, framing that bad boy, and maybe gifting it (or keeping a copy for myself). This has definitely been one of the best artistic outlets I’ve found here at Harvard.

Later that day, I met up with my friend Cynthia to work on a few songs for Freshman Formal, which is tomorrow night. Of course I’ll be going, but we’ll also be playing music during dinner, so we met up in Wigglesworth basement to practice. The practice rooms are really big in Wigg, so we had enough space for her piano and my guitar/uke. We’ll be playing some sweet songs (such as Janelle Monae and Adele), and afterwards we’ll be dancing it up in the Night Under the Stars, as it is so aptly named. Yippee!

No Stars in the Sky Yet


Then I had to cover a Flashmob for The Crimson. CityStep, a program that teaches children to dance and other valuable skills, went into Ticknor Lounge (a gorgeous room) and busted out some moves. I was lucky enough to experience it, in all of its cuteness/awesomeness.

Haha, Flashmob!

A few hours later, I realized that couldn’t stop working on my gift for my friend, so I went to Urban Outfitters to buy a blank T-shirt ($5), then to Utrecht Arts to buy some fabric paint ($8). I cut out the stencils I’d created in record time (okay, like two hours), ironed them onto the shirt, and painted away. Today, I finished it up, and I couldn’t be happier with the final product! It turned out infinitely better than I had expected, and I’m sure the gift will be well-received.


Yay Puppies and Pop!

Now I’m off to my meeting, then some more practice for Formal, homework, dinner somewhere in there, a run-through of some spoken word that I’ll be performing with a group next monday for a belated MLK celebration, and finally an Exec event later tonight. Wow! This semester is going to be awesome. (Plus, it’s cold today–bonus!)

Happy Thursday!




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Sorry that I’ve been missing in action the past few weeks!  I’ve been all over the place mentally (Physically I’ve pretty much just been here in Cambridge…).  Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.

Time flies when you're having fun

Time flies! Get it?!

Here’s a brief overview off what’s been going on in my life since my last post.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19th: Harvard-Yale

As always, Harvard-Yale (H-Y) was an unforgettable experience.  Just to be clear, H-Y is the annual football game against Yale.  It’s cryptically referred to as “The Game” here on campus.  This year, H-Y was at Yale so there was a huge exodus from Cambridge.  Most people made their way down to New Haven to take part in the festivities.

I look forward to H-Y without fail because it is one day a year when school spirit reigns supreme.  H-Y is evidence of the thriving Harvard community.  Students, Alumni, friends, family, and football enthusiasts all come together to share in the experience.  This year was no different.

I’m not much of a sports fan, so I prefer to shift my attention to the student tailgates.  I dressed up in my best Harvard apparel, ate hot dogs and hamburgers, and kicked back with some of my closest friends and fellow classmates.

Me and my friends at the H-Y tailgate

Me and my friends at the H-Y tailgate

Oh, and Harvard won the game 45-7. Go Crimson!

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd: Home Sweet Home!

After Harvard-Yale, I went back to campus and powered through the last few days of class before Thanksgiving break.  By Tuesday evening I was sitting at the Starbucks in Logan Airport, waiting to board my flight home.

I love traveling to and from school.  As I mentioned in my Blogger Bio, I’m from Virginia, so I usually fly into one of the Washington, D.C. airports.  Travel from Boston to D.C. is a breeze!  Tickets are almost always available, and the flight only lasts about one hour.  Plus I can take the T (Boston public transportation) to the airport, instead of spending a ton of money on a cab.

The best part about coming home for breaks is the warm welcome!  My mom treats me like a soldier returning from war.


Thanksgiving is one of my top three favorite holidays (the other two are Halloween and the Fourth of July).  I look forward to it each and every year, and this year did not disappoint!  The spread at my house included everything from honey baked ham to corn soufflé.  I especially love Thanksgiving now that I’m in college, because I don’t have to ration the leftovers.  I’m only around to enjoy the food for a few days, so I don’t worry about saving anything for the next week, so I just enjoy the food recklessly.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27th: Back to School

I flew back to school on Sunday morning.  I decided to get to Cambridge early in the day so that I could get ready for the LAST WEEK OF CLASS of the semester.  The light at the end of the tunnel had never been brighter.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2nd: School’s Out! (But not really…) 

Last day of class!  Actually, I don’t even have class on Friday, so Thursday was technically my last day but we won’t worry about that silly little detail.  Regardless, I decided to reward my hard work this semester with an evening of appreciating the arts.

First, I stopped by Memorial Church (Mem Church or MemChu) in the Yard to see the Kuumba Christmas Concert.  The Kuumba Singers of Harvard College are just one of the many amazing choirs here on campus.  I went to support a few friends and hear some great music.  The energy at the concert was fantastic.  People were on their feet, clapping to the beat, and swaying back on forth.  One highlight of the concert, at least for me, was when the group sang the Boyz II Men arrangement of “Silent Night”.

My ticket from the Kuumba Christmas Concert

My ticket from the Kuumba Christmas Concert

After Kuumba, I made the short walk of to Sanders Theatre to catch the second half of “Twas the Jam Before Christmas”, which was a joint-effort a capella concert featuring the Harvard Krokodiloes (Kroks) and the Harvard Opportunes (Opps).  Unfortunately, I missed the Opps because I was at the Kuumba concert, but the Kroks were out of this world.  They must practice in their sleep, because they seemed so comfortable on stage.  The jokes between songs genuinely made me laugh, and the soloists were incredible.  There was even tap-dancing involved in the show!  I think the best word to describe the performance is “cheeky”.  They do a great job of making sure their bits are fun and carefree, with just the right amount of sass.

My ticket from the Kroks and Opps performance

Okay, I think that just about catches us up.  You’ll have to excuse me now, as a hide away in my “Reading Period Cave”.*  Also known as the Harvard Library System (especially Widener, Lamont, and Houghton).









*Reading Period is the week or so before final exams.  Most students spend the time writing final papers and studying for exams.

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Normally, I have pretty good weekends. Sometimes it rains, which I like (but not whilst parading around Cambridge); sometimes I have a huge exam at 8:30 AM on Monday (cough cough…LPSA); and frequently there are fun fiestas to be attended. However, this was the best weekend I have had in a long time. Why, you may ask? Read on!


Thursday Night:

We didn’t have school on Friday, due to Veteran’s Day. So, I didn’t have to wake up for my 9 AM class!  (Fun fact: you may think waking up at 8 is fantastic in high school, as I did, but in college it seems that nobody goes to bed until 3 and everyone wakes up at 10 and I am cursed. Though most people [my roommates] do follow that schedule [as I do on Tues/Thurs mornings], I am pretty lucky to wake up at 9 so I’ll stop whining.) Also, it was FACULTY DINNER, which is an incredible experience. Da ‘Berg is officially transformed into The Great Hall and HUDS prepares an extravagant meal to impress our profs, TAs, proctors, and the like. Although I like Annenberg a lot, I hold no deep feelings of love for it except for during Faculty Dinner! My lab partner and I invited our lab TF, Greg, and dressed to impress before gorging ourselves on mushroom ravioli, some meat thing (is it obvious that I’m a vegetarian?), roasted root veggies, and cake. Carrot cake, chocolate raspberry cake, cheese cake…. Yummmm. Knowing the food would never again be this exquisite, I ate way too much and stumbled out of Memorial Hall with a rather large stomach. It was worth it, by the way.

After that, I went to the IRC semiformal with my roommate, Rachel, as her plus-one. She is some spiffy chair for H-MUN (Harvard Model United Nations), whereas I know nothing about this political smorgasbord. Luckily, we mostly danced. After going to the penthouse of the Cambridge Hyatt (here’s a lovely image) via taxi, we danced the night away until the wee hours of the morning. (Actually, I ended up splitting a cab with some people and leaving at 10:30, in preparation for Friday.) When I thought it couldn’t get any better, along came Friday.


Friday in the Lighter Hours

After parting ways with my cozy, cozy bed at 10:30 on Friday morning, I suddenly remembered that my AWESOME band (The Nostalgics) was scheduled to record our Holiday album from noon to six that day. Really, my email alerted me about this, in addition to telling me about a sweet deal at B. Good, this incredible burger joint near the Holyoke Center. UC Restaurants offers great savings on restaurants on some Fridays, so I went down and got 20% off of my mango shake and West-side veggie burger. After eating my second great meal of the weekend with three of my bandmates, I walked to the Quad and entered my favorite building on campus, the SOCH. (I’m not really sure if it’s my favorite building, but it’s very underused and underrepresented, so I have adopted it.) Some fancy event was happening, which is a rarity at this unfrequented 50,000 square feet of space, so we went up to the PentHouse where the recording studio is. Due to a recording malfunction, our recording session soon morphed into a practice session, with some fantastic originals coming together, as well as “All I Want For Christmas,” everyone’s favorite x-mas song. After figuring out some rippin’ horn lines and baller vocal backgrounds, we felt satisfied and packed up to go. Sadly, we got locked into the Emergency Stairwell, which we did not know was alarmed until we were inside. However, one guitarist had left early and saved us from a sure death, and we celebrated life at Pfoho dining hall, eating another fantastic meal, though I soon learned this was not good Chinese food. Expecting to not eat again, my chipmunk-storage complex switched on and I filled up on tofu and mini-corn. Little did I know, this was not the end of my Asian experience.


Friday Night

On the shuttle back to the yard, one of my band-mates asked me to go to Chinatown with him in celebration of a friend’s birthday. Although I was full and had little desire to eat, the draw of novelty appealed to me, so I immediately accepted. After taking the T to Park Street, we made our way to Hot Pot Buffet, whose two floors were, to our dismay, completely full. The walk was in vain, I feared. However, my friend was a lot more innovative, and decided we’d go to the Harvard Club of Boston. It’s really lovely, I soon found out, and is full of history, much like its namesake. In the Library, there’s a gorgeous pool table and loads of reunion books, dating back to 1900. My grandfather, whom I never had the chance to meet, went to Harvard for undergraduate and medical school (I think). I quickly (slowly) calculated his year of graduation, found the 10th anniversary book, and read about his life. My mom was just two years old when he wrote the report! This discovery really threw me for a turn, and I was flooded with thanks; perhaps a little premature, but we’re all really lucky to be studying here, and to be part of this history that, for me, binds me to my unknown ancestors.


Saturday Day

After again having a tearful departure from my bed, I set out on another lovely escapade. I walked down to Blodgett pool, which is across the river, and took pictures of our men’s swimming and diving team for the Crimson. My freshman class really shone, with Michael Mosca setting a school record in diving in his first meet and the freshman swimmers securing 1st place for Harvard. Here’s a photo:


Then, what did I do? More photo!!!! (FUN) I claimed a really amazing pitch (story) for FM, which is the Crimson’s magazine. What is this amazing pitch? Is the suspense killing you? Well, I will ruin the surprise– I GOT TO TAKE PICTURES OF GUACAMOLE!! Yes, that is right, I spent my entire afternoon sampling and photographing the delicious mush. More good food! My writer and I went to Chipotle, Qdoba, Boloco, Felipe’s, and Border Cafe. The last two were by far the best, which is good, because they are local restaurants, unlike the 3 other chains. Here’s a picture:

¡Guacamole Olé!




Saturday Night:

I continued in the spirit of photography as the sun set, presenting my photo essay to other compers (comp=competitor, but it’s no longer competitive, just an anachronism) at The Crimson.

Then, I sprinted to Holden Chapel, which is a beautiful and tiny space hidden in the Yard. The Speak Out Loud club was hosting a Poetry Slam, which is basically a spoken-word competition. (Think rap battle minus the hip-hop tracks, plus scores.) Eleven poets slammed their AMAZING poems, and I was lucky enough to compete against them. The place was totally humming with energy, as the crowd really participates in poetry through pounding their feet, clapping, and encouraging the poets as they perform. The first round, we slammed a 3 minute poem each, and mine was a story about a cabin I love in Vermont. The next round was the lightning round, where we’d slam a 1 minute poem, and I slammed about my love for poetry. Our scores were added up, and the top 8 moved on to the final round after a brief intermission. My jaw dropped as I found out I’d moved on; I thought those incredible poets had me beat for sure. We had another 3 minutes to get the highest score we could (which is a 30); the top 5 scoring poets became Harvard’s Poetry Slam Team! I slammed about coffee (as a metaphor for something else), and LOVED it, because the packed audience was awesome. At the end, we all lined up and five names were read. I’ll be competing in April at CUPSI along with my four other team-mates! More updates on this soon, and if you want to know more about poetry slams, here’s a great link. (To hear some awesome slam, here’s another.)

I went out and celebrated with my friends afterwards, and caught up on all my work on Sunday.


This weekend, I’m not going to Harvard-Yale; instead, I’m going to visit my grandparents and have a pre-Thanksgiving with them! Then, I’m covering the Tail of the Charles (men’s crew invitational) on Saturday, so I’m really excited to see what this new weekend brings!


All the best,



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¡The Arts!

So, I must admit that I was very worried about what the arts scene would be like here at Harvard when I first applied.  I was generally drawn in towards other schools which focused more on a liberal, artsy education (e.g. Wesleyan/Oberlin/Brown), and I just assumed that Harvard’s focus would be more academic (it being Harvard). I was not wrong in assuming that Harvard places a lot more importance on academics than everything else (obviously, for how else would it accept top-tier academics?). However, I was TOTALLY incorrect in assuming that nothing else goes on here. On the contrary, there are so many extracurriculars that I can honestly say that I’d major in them if it were allowed. (It’s not. For a full list of actual concentrations, click here.)

My favorite extracurriculars are: 1) the ARTS! 2) making money!* 3) environmental action stuff.  The Arts completely trump the other extracurrics, so here comes my ecstatic list of reasons for why I love them so much.

Reason 1: Art, in general, is beautiful and an excellent emotional outlet.

The Science Center and Canaday lighting can get a little ugly every once and a while, so all I have to do is turn on my Christmas lights (yes, I have them on because yes, Daylight Savings has begun), look at my beautiful painting my sister gave me, and pick up my guitar. Suddenly, everything is gorgeous! My woes become pretty via melody, the cinderblock walls of my dorm room seem to blush with the x-mas’d-out lighting, and I am happy again. Want to know what goes down when I write? Check out my soundcloud. #shamelessselfpromotion


Reason 2: Art makes you new friends!

Although you can (feasibly) find friends elsewhere, you will never find your potential soul-mate if you don’t join an artsy group. (Spoiler alert: I’m biased.) I happen to be in the BEST artsy group ever, in fact. We are The Nostalgics, a Motown-soul band with the most extraordinarily-talented musicians on campus, and we have the most fun. Last weekend we took the bus to Wellesley College and played our funky jamz for the TZE formal; it was fantastic, although the travelling was a hike. The moral of this mini-story is: I would never have made these awesome friends without trying out and involving myself in the arts. They are my family, and we do a whole lot more than make music together– we make THE BEST FRIENDSHIPS <3 <3 …yes, that was disgustingly corny, but it’s true, and I wanted to give you an honest account of my feelings towards them and the arts in general.


Reason 3: Your evenings will be forever changed…

So, I thought I was going to Asian Feast last Friday night to support my roomie. Turns out, there were a lot more (non-asian, non-food related) things happening in Quincy D-Hall than the title described.  Take a look:

Irish Dancers!



Reason 4: It can make you money!

Contrary to popular belief, the arts can be [kind of] lucrative. There are many job offerings in the arts here on campus, such as working for the Office of the Arts (which I’m doing second semester as a blogger), writing articles about the arts or taking pictures/video for the Harvard Crimson (which I’m currently doing, but I’m not an editor so I don’t get any money…at least, not yet), joining a killer band that plays at formals and gets paid bank (see reason 3), and/or immersing yourself in the history of art here at Harvard (museums, music library, etc) for pay. Though majoring in Econ will probably make your pockets cozier, nothing is better than getting paid for what you like to do, and if that passion happens to be artistically-inclined, it’s time to celebrate because it’s possible here at Harvard!


and finally…

Reason 5: You will fall in love…

…WITH ART! (No guarantees on art’s romantic influences, but take a look at Frank Sinatra’s love life and you might get the gist…) Never tried sculpting before? How about art history? Or, in my case, Jazz Harmony and Composition? You can do all of those things here, for credit! No need to wait until class ends; with hundreds of courses in the arts, you can try out whatever floats your boat and feel the artsy undertow pulling you in.  Next semester, I am planning on taking a Printmaking seminar–and I thought those were only offered at arts schools. Wowzah.


Those are all the reasons why I LOVE ART at Harvard (and why you can, too)!

Hope you liked them 🙂

Peace, Love, and Art




ps, even the buildings are artsy! Check out my picture of the Graduate School of Design




*One day the wonders of Dorm Crew will be discussed 😀

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Managing 350 performers for four sold-out performances of four hour each? I would have said this was impossible a month ago, but my job as producer for the past couple weeks has been to provide some organization to, Ghungroo, the largest student-run production on campus.

Ghungroo is an annual cultural show held in early March by the Harvard South Asian Association. For me, the show extends far beyond the dances, skits, and music acts that make up the show. Rather, the show is the largest moment where our student organization builds the community of students excited about South Asian culture, performance, and pushing the limits of what they thought they would be able to do. Over half of the students are of non-South Asian descent and the vast majority have never danced before. After the performance, many students stay close to their peers in their dances. On the final night of the performance, nearly a hundred alumni from the show’s generation-long history return to cheer on the current performances.

Producing a show of this scale is a major feet. Apart from booking spaces, coordinating rehearsals, managing our technical and production staff with the help of our amazing directors Alethia, Jeff, and Sharmila, and selling over 1000 tickets, we’re maintaining a full course load and (ideally) still getting sleep and seeing our friends. But while we put in hundreds of hours over the month, I gained the confidence to mange people and play a critical part in creating something far larger than what I could do by myself. Harvard is great at showing its students that if they put their mind to something, it’s pretty tough to reach their limits; I have to say this definitely applies here. But as with any student activity, the best part is definitely meeting the other students and making friendships that far outlast the show.

Like any show, the most exciting day is the actual performance. Ghungroo is known for its colorful costumes, intricate set, and exorbitant energy:

The "Bollywood Oldies" dance

The "Bollywood Oldies" dance

The "Nepali" dance

The "Nepali" dance

The glow-in-the-dark moon seen on the set during a filler by a dancer wielding glow sticks.

The glow-in-the-dark moon seen on the set during a filler by a dancer wielding glow sticks.

Lastly, sorry for the my lull in writing. With Ghungroo now over, I should hopefully have more time to provide updates on the blog. Next up: an update on my spring break trip to Dubai with the Harvard College in Asia Program exchange conference.

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