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It’s been a pretty standard week here in Cambridge. Reading Period and Final Examinations are in full swing. Everyone you run into is either enjoying the weather of their Senior Spring Semester or hitting the books pretty hard, preparing for final exams or proofreading their final papers. I definitely fall into the latter category, as I am not a senior and I have a lot of final exams and papers coming up. But every could has a silver lining, and final exams mean that summer is almost here! I’ll be in Cambridge this summer, interning at the Harvard Law School, so I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how things are hanging in the 617. In the meantime, here are just a few things I’ve been up to this week.

As a research assistant for a History & Literature professor I’ve gotten pretty familiar with the library system around here. The Harvard Library system is one of the most extensive in the world. I feel like I spend 75% of all my time in any of the many libraries on campus, and I’m sure I have not even scratched the surface of what Harvard’s bookshelves have to offer. I was looking for a specific set of newspaper articles from 1922 this past week so I visited the Houghton Library. Neighboring Lamont Library, Houghton Library houses many of Harvard’s rare books and manuscripts. I’ve only been a few times, but is is always fascinating what kind of priceless pieces of history Harvard owns. And, as I found out upon my visit, they take that priceless aspect pretty seriously. Houghton is open to the public, but being allowed to research items is almost as difficult as getting through airport security. The staff was very strict about how items are treated, although they were incredibly friendly and helpful with my research. Check out the Houghton Library blog for more information!

Houghton Library

Houghton Library

This past week was also the Eliot House Formal, otherwise known as Fête,  the French word for “party.” It’s a fitting name as Fête is undoubtedly the greatest party on campus. EVER. And I’m not just saying this because I am a biased Eliot House resident. I’ve been to my fair share of house formal dances at Harvard, and while they have all been immensely enjoyable, none of them has come close to the greatness of Fête. For one night a year, the Eliot House Committee turns the Eliot House courtyard into a scene out of The Great Gatsby. Twinkling fairy lights line the patio; a grand white tent sits on the grass covering a flawless hardwood dance floor. A live swing band plays great music that can be heard all along the river until 2AM. The guys and gals you’re used to seeing at 7:30AM in the dining hall in their sweatpants and workout gear are dressed to the nines in formal gowns and tuxes. It’s truly a magical night.

Fete Invitation

The invitation to Fete was slipped underneath our doorway about a week before the event!

I’ve been hearing about the brilliance of Fête since I was placed into Eliot House my freshman year, and it definitely lived up to the hype. This was my first time attending and I loved the live band, the swing dancing, the decorations, and of course the chocolate covered strawberries. I am seriously counting down the days until next year, wondering how in the world anything could top this year’s party.

live swing band

The Live Band played all night! They were great.

Well, with all of that said, it’s getting late, and I have quite a bit of studying to do. Wish me luck!

Until Next Week,


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My remaining posts are probably going to start taking on a similar theme as I run through many “lasts” in my Harvard career, but this Friday marked a pretty important one: my last Dunster Formal! Reading period is always filled with end-of-the-year activities, and one of the major traditions is that each house hosts its own formal dance. Dunster’s spring formal is always held in the courtyard under a tent, which is a really fun alternative to many of the other events that are held at venues downtown Boston, both because it saves us the commute and allows us to really enjoy the beautiful space. The night started out with a champagne reception in our Junior Common Room, and my roommate’s brother entertained us for an hour with his (lovely!) piano skills. We then moved into the courtyard for a long night of dancing, which ended up being SUPER fun.

House formals are always a blast because they’re generally very low key: students will go with or without dates, and while everyone does get dressed up there’s no expectation of wearing anything uncomfortable or overly fancy. As my roommates and I were getting ready, shoe selection was determined by whether we could wear them for a whole night on the dance floor (read: flats). The formals are also attended by all members of the House, including new freshmen who just got into Dunster, tutors, the Resident Dean, and our House masters! It was great being able to see everyone under one roof, and many of us spent the weekend recapping the formal’s highlights.

Enjoy some pictures below!

The courtyard also got “dressed up” for formal

Party favors!

Admittedly really bad shot, but gives you an idea of what the tent looked like!

Goofing off with moose “antlers”

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As is always the case, reading period and finals have once again snuck up on me this semester – and per usual, the week has been jam packed with all sorts of events, meetings, and assignments. While reading period is meant to be a “break,” a time when students can catch up on end-of-the-semester assignments and start studying for exams, it always ends up turning into a really crazy time of year, both because of all of the fun, social events going on and because of the immense amounts of work we’re all expected to do. Over the next week, I’ll be finishing a 25 page term paper, plus another 10 page paper, plus two take home finals, plus a problem set, plus an application for thesis approval… You get the picture. On the upside, though, I’ve gotten to break up the week with various events and wanted to take this blog post to highlight just one – the Dunster formal.

Each of the 12 Houses has a formal each semester, and Dunster’s spring formal happens in a tent in our courtyard. We call it “Beltane,” after a Gaelic spring festival celebrated in Ireland. The hallmark of the event is the IMMENSE amounts of flowers that decorate the inside of the tent, which really makes the whole thing feel like a spring festival. This year, I spent a few hours in the morning making the flower arrangements that got hung around the room and constructing a flower arch to go above the door. My roommate is HoCo (House Committee) Chair and therefore was in charge of planning the entire event, so it was fun to be able to help her out for a bit and gain some appreciation for how much work goes into preparing events like this (read: it’s a LOT).

My roommate decorating the tent!

Putting up the lights and lanterns

The night started out with a reception in the Dunster Junior Common Room, and then everyone moved outside for dancing and some food. We had a swing band for the first hour, but then music switched over to a DJ – both were super good! While some people will bring official dates to House formals, students for the most part tend to go with roommates or groups of friends, which makes for a really fun vibe on the dance floor. Also, while the majority of people at each formal are from whatever House is hosting it, we can all go to each other’s formal, which means there’s a nice mix of people there. The House formals are definitely one of my favorite things that go on around campus – such a fun reminder of how excited I am about Dunster and what a great community of people live here. I remember going as a freshman, right after I’d gotten into the House, and starting to get so excited about moving up to an upperclassman House – glad to see that Dunster’s lived up to expectations!


And just for fun: pre-Beltane, freshman year – with my blocking group! (well, 6/8)

Now, back to the paper writing! Wish me luck!

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It’s that time of year…


When the seasons start changing and Mother Nature can’t make up her mind.  Case in point – early last week it was 80 degrees and sunny, then by mid-week it was in the 50s, then it went back up to the mid-70s, and now it’s back down to the 50s.  Hellooooo Boston.  The way I see it, though, there are two benefits to this kind of weather.  1) It never allows us to take the nice days for granted.  When it’s 75 and sunny, everyone is outside lounging away on beach towels in the Quad or down by the River.  2) It gives my sunburns a chance to heal… rough.

When classes start to wrap up.  Yes, that’s right, this coming Wednesday is our last day of class and then Harvard students around campus will enter Reading Period.  Reading Period can mean one of two things.  It can either mean a 10-day vacation if you’re something like a math or science concentrator, or it can mean a 10-day sleep strike if you’re a humanities concentrator and find yourself writing five papers.  Luckily, my schedule this year has offered me spread out Reading and Finals Periods.  I have a paper due this Tuesday, another paper due next week, and then two finals several days apart.

When stress and excitement levels run high.  There occurs this strange dichotomy where while I’m feeling incredibly stressed about major papers and finals, I am also feeling incredibly excited about the summer!!!  This summer I will be working for the Phillips Brooks House Association’s (PBHA’s) Summer Urban Program (or SUP).  SUP is a series of camps in neighboring communities throughout Boston that helps to fight summer learning loss in low-income children.  Just as PBHA is student-led, SUP is too, which means that Harvard students have been working their butts off all semester long getting ready for this summer.  I’ll be working Full Time SUPport (get it?), which means I’ll be behind the scenes helping out all of the camps.  Get ready for lots of blog posts in the coming months about SUP.  One final plug to the incoming freshmen – JOIN PBHA and then WORK SUP!!!!  I promise you it won’t be a decision you regret.

When I’m starting to dread the prospect of packing up all of my stuff.  It took me long enough to unpack and make my beautiful single look just the way I want, and now I’m going to have to find some way of packing all of this stuff back up and sticking it in Currier storage.  I really don’t want to write anymore about it, it’s all too painful to contemplate.

When I begin to desperately text friends to grab a final meal or coffee before everyone leaves campus!  It’s that time of year when I’m looking back and remembering all those times I ran into “this person from class” or “that person from my freshman dorm” or “the person that OMG I love but I haven’t seen in AGES” and I’m realizing that I only actually grabbed my promised meals with maybe half of them.  This means that I still have a lot of people to go, and not a lot of time left!  Ahhhh!

When House formals go on the calendar!  Each House has its own Spring Formal, which, depending on who you know in which Houses, can mean a lot of formals to go to.  So much fun!


That’s about all I got, folks!  I wish everyone a very happy end of April, and to all of the pre-frosh – COME TO HARVARD!

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This weekend was one of the most eventful and exhausting couple of days I’ve had in a while. As I said in my last post, Friday, December 9 was the CS50 Fair, which was just as epic as I imagined it to be. There were final projects from over 600+ students on display, along with several corporate sponsors: Facebook, Microsoft, Dropbox, and Bridgewater, just to name a few. They were all giving out free swag, including iPhone cases, t-shirts, and sunglasses. My final project partner, Lina, and I presented our website to so many people throughout the course of the fair, and we got some great feedback. We also hunted down David Malan (CS50’s famous instructor) and showed him our project! I actually didn’t care if he was impressed with our project or not, as long as we got a picture with him. And we did! You know, he’s such a celebrity…I don’t think he realizes what a big deal he is. Before I took the class, I’d see him walking around campus and was tempted to ask for a photo, but I’m super glad I waited until he was actually my professor. It’s crazy to think that we’ve talked in person at office hours and exchanged email after email. I sound crazy. He’s just a normal person, I know. But he’s still a big deal and I’m glad I can cross him off the list of people I have to meet before I graduate. Perhaps I’ll write a post sometime devoted to all of these people…but I bet I’d sound even more crazy. How embarrassing. To wrap the conversation about CS50 up,  Lina and I agreed as we were leaving the fair that it had given us an unusually strong feeling of accomplishment that other classes haven’t quite given us thus far.

Lina, me, and our friend Jenny with David Malan!!

Lina, me, and our friend Jenny with David Malan!!

I spent Saturday sleeping and studying so I didn’t wear myself out before the Five House Formal at the House of Blues in Boston on Sunday evening. Reid’s band, The Nostalgics, was awesome and you can see pictures from the stage in her post from a few days ago! I had a +1 to the event, so I brought my friend Marianna, who lives in one of the houses that had their own separate formal on another evening. It was incredibly fun to see so many familiar faces all in one place. Typically, house formals are either independent of each other or occur together with one other house. Each house’s House Committee (HoCo), comprised of elected student representatives, plans each semester’s formal. Talking to my house’s outgoing Co-Chair, I learned that the communication and planning about the Five House Formal started all the way back in January. I think all the hard work was reflected in how much everyone loved the event.

Marianna and I before the Five House Formal!

Marianna and I before the Five House Formal!

All of the fun stuff is over for now because exams have begun. I actually had a final this morning. All that separates me from vacation and the second semester of my junior year is the Organic Chemistry exam! I have an entire week to devote to it, so I’m hoping all goes well. It’s eerily quiet on campus this time of year. People take longer to respond back to texts and emails, and some even go missing for entire evenings. In the midst of all the free time shelves being empty, I was able to snap a nice picture of the John Harvard statue without anyone else in the frame (a rarity!). Check it out below…it’s a nice change of pace, especially because I feel like I’ve been posting way too many pictures of myself lately!

The John Harvard Statue

The John Harvard Statue

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