You are currently browsing articles tagged Senior.

From the steps of Memorial Church…

On May 13th I had the honor of sitting inside Memorial Church. Tucked away in the middle of campus opposite Widener Library and next to red brick Sever Hall, Memorial Church stands resolute and tall. It is something to behold on our campus. Right on its footsteps, sits Memorial Church Café– a new addition to our campus this year– with a sign that reads: “Come for the Caffeine, Stay for the Community.” On those very steps, George Marshall spoke of the need for the Marshall Plan after World War II. Today, weddings happen each and every season there. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see entire bridal parties posing for pictures on those steps. My twin sister lived in Thayer dorm, which is just adjacent to the Church, her freshmen year and would joke “Yeah I’m studying for LS1A and there’s little flower girls running outside my window. Hard to complain.”

But I say ‘tucked away’ when I describe the church because most students never even wander inside until their senior year; indeed the 8:45 am 15-minute services the Church holds each morning before classes are among our campus’ well guarded secrets (well, not so secret anymore 🙂

I mention the church because on May 13th one of my friends and an almost-graduate (just a few more days to go!) from the college gave her senior talk there. During the last few weeks of school, seniors from each residential house give a short “senior speech” on behalf of their own house community. My friend Julia gave the speech for Mather. And while it was a tad early in the morning to stumble out to the yard, I am so grateful I did. It was honestly the highlight of my sophomore year.


Julia talked about the community we had in Mather, how it had made her think about a quote inscribed on Wigglesworth gate:   “Enter to Grow in Wisdom — Depart to Serve Better Thy Country and Thy Kind.” She talked about what Harvard had taught her about what serving “thy kind” really means– how it’s not about encircling our world, our friends, our family and choosing to serve them only, but rather choosing to give to those too who we have never even met. Humanity, she told us, “is enough– more than enough– to warrant love.”


Julia’s message that morning in Memorial Church was simple. But it struck me still. It is not easy after all to serve all of humanity– it is much easier to serve thy kind. Her thoughts, so eloquently spoken, wrestled in me something I’ve been thinking about a lot this year.

Harvard you see is a lot of things. But one thing people don’t often tell you is that in some ways, getting here… it makes you feel like you could do anything. Watching the winners of the President’s Challenge and hearing some of our speakers– Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Salman Khan, Jim Yong-kim you feel in some crazy way that you too can do something, make something, be something.

But then when you leave Harvard and when you enter the “real world” you don’t always feel the same. I felt that transition in the fall when I took the semester off to intern in DC. I remember how struck I was by how settled into their real adult lives everyone around me seemed. And how scary that was to me. As much as I sometimes complain about the whirlwind that is college– how quickly it ends, how fast we move, how every May I find myself yet again lugging more boxes and throwing them into storage– I know that I will miss it. College really isn’t for the settled.

But, for some reason, until Julia’s speech that day it hadn’t really occurred to me how easy it would be to settle– or in her example, to leave Harvard and just draw a circle around your friends and family, call them out as “thy kind,” and serve them and serve them only. In that light settling would not just be easy, it would be convenient– and it wouldn’t be such a bad thing either.

But it wouldn’t be enough.

In leaving us so very unsettled, in pushing us in ways we didn’t otherwise expect, Harvard teaches us that each and every day. Thank you, Julia, for reminding me– and good luck, graduate!!

Tags: ,

Hi everyone!


My apologies for the sudden disappearance for the last few weeks: with post-graduation festivities and settling into summer housing and programs, things have just begun to smooth out.


My time as a student at Harvard may be over now (at least as an undergraduate), but that doesn’t mean I’ve let go of Harvard Square and the Harvard community so easily. This summer I’ll be participating in two programs in Cambridge, MA in conjunction with Harvard College: Harvard-Karma Yoga Community Yoga Teacher Training Certification Program (which I’m in the midst of right now), and a research fellowship with Harvard’s Schlesinger Library (which I will begun right after my teacher training is done).


Before I get into the amazing Harvard-Karma program and what its like beginning summer in Boston with a bunch of yogis, I wanted to give a quick update on the graduation festivities!


Graduation week (May 21st to the 24th) flew by, attributably largely—I believe—to the fact that I had 10 family members staying with me and touring Boston…

With my grandparents peering out to sea

My mum & dad at the wharf 

…and Harvard together.

Outside the freshman dining hall (Annenberg)

My aunt and her boyfriend hiding from the rain as we tour Harvard

Some of my family, such as my grandparents, had never been to Boston before and it was great taking the time to re-explore this place in potentially my last summer here. We even were able to cook a full family meal together and it almost made up for missing Thanksgiving these last four years! A child of Italian heritage, pasta, bruschetta, and cannoli’s flowed plentiful from the kitchen.

Many cooks in the kitchen, with my brother Adam and mum

A real Italian-style feast

My second family who has graciously allowed me to stay through the summer: my friend Dylan and his mum Pia

Graduation itself seemed to take place in the span of two. Wednesday was Class Day, which focused on just the Harvard Undergraduates graduating complete with hilarious speakers (Andy Samberg and Barney Frank) and four great student speakers as well. The whole event was less formal and featured a lovely pre-picnic before the speakers.

With the boyfriend before senior picnic

Senior friends at senior picnic

Commencement day was on Thursday and began early at 6am with a Senior Breakfast, church service, and was filled with tradition at every turn—everything from men in top hats to a full speech given in Latin! It was a whole day affair, but the ritual of it all was amazing to witness—traditions that have been around for hundreds of years it really makes you feel part of something larger than yourself.

Note the sports-announcer-esqu explanation of commencement and its many traditions

All of Harvard Universities’ schools from the Law School to the Business School to us undergraduates was presented and united together on Thursday as each of our respective school deans declared we had met the requirements to graduate and each graduating class broke our into much deserved cheers. After a final song from the choir and the local sheriff declare the event over, we all marched the deep drum of the Harvard band out to our undergraduate house. Once there we received our diplomas with family and friends in company: a perfect ending to a beautiful day.

 Bright and early on commencement day!

With my blockmate, Anita, at our house’s diploma ceremony

Diploma officially in hand!

When Friday morning rolled around, I was sad to bid farewell to my family members but was able to find solace in my new endeavor—training to be a certified yoga teacher. A recent program began between Harvard University and Karma Yoga studio in Cambridge where students received discounted 200-hour-certification in exchange for teaching yoga for free to underserved populations in our local community. I truly believe in the healing potential of yoga and meditation, and in its ability to show individuals that they can each become self-empowered—that we all have that potential within us!

 The whole group: Om Shanti~

I am truly grateful to be part of such a great community and to learn so much about myself and from others post-graduation. As many of my Harvard friends left town, it was great to be able to truly find friends and encouragement in this new program.

Teaching each other

Learning & growing together

…And jumping off the footbridge into the Charles River together…!!

Summer so far has been beautiful, if occasionally rainy, and I’m using the opportunity to take advantage of my last few months in Boston—exploring local farmers markets, opting into new classes and workshops I’ve always wanted to take, exploring amazing parks and greenery, and trying out new restaurants as well as old favorites. Next entry I’ll write back with some of the specific events I’ve been checking out in case you too ever find yourself around Harvard for the summer—it’s a wonderful place to be!


Until next time~



Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yoga at home in California at the beach!

As you can imagine, Harvard students feel a bit stressed with the school load and extracurricular, not to mention any jobs on the side. But lucky there are great recourses for the overworked mind. Two of my favorites are the prevalence of meditation and yoga on campus.


The law school (Hemenway) and undergraduate (MAC, or Malkin Athletic Center) gyms both have a variety of group exercise classes for free for undergraduates all through-out the week.  A number of these are yoga classes ranging from the common Vinyasa Flow style, to the more healing and relaxing Hatha style, each with classes from beginning to more advanced.


It’s amazing to me what an hour of your day dedicated to staying in the present moment with yoga can do for your concentration, energy, and positive emotions. I recently took one of special Sunday yoga courses, which change each Sunday to a more adventuresome focus. The one I did was on headstands and shoulderstands—after being in cheerleading and gymnastics for most of my pre-college life, this turned out to be a ton of fun!

Yoga headstands

Invigorated by the powerful healing aspect of yoga, I recently helped get my parents into it—after much persuasion, they are now both taking private lessons in it, liking it so much. Now that I’ll be graduating soon, I realize how lucky I am to have free yoga classes as many places typically charge $12 or more of class.


In an effort to extend the benefits of yoga to everyone in the community—for it should be something everyone has access too, not just though you can afford it—, I recently applied and got an interview for the Karma Yoga Studio Community Program, a Harvard-based student program that works with the local Harvard Karma Yoga Studio to provide extremely discounted yoga training to students (such as myself) who then will provide a certain number of community service hours of yoga teaching to underserved populations such as the homeless or high school students. I’ll keep you updated on how that process goes.

And, of course, mindfulness techniques at Harvard can be cultivated in the form of meditation. As part of my “senior bucket-list” (a list I started to try and complete all the things I’ve always wanted to do at Harvard before leaving), I finally went to the Harvard Meditation Club. I’ve done meditating at home and at the Harvard Women’s Center, but stop going to the Women’s Center one.


The Harvard Meditation Club has two weekly events, a teacher-led session on Tuesdays, and a student-led session and philosophical discussion on Saturdays. I went the Tuesday session and loved the energy that came with group meditation and discussion. I know I’ll get going back.


I’m about to take off for yoga class (Yin Yoga at Karma Yoga Studio), but thought I’d just provide my senior bucket list thus far:


Senior Bucket List


To Do

* Use the Leverett House Darkroom to develop photographs

* Eat at the local Greater Boston Buddhist Center

* Go to every (or the most possible) house’s Master’s Open House [we went to Kirkland’s yesterday for dessert and coffee]

* Apply for a DAPA (Drug & Alcohol Peer Advisors) Grant for a food-centric party with friends

* Go to the Harvard Observatory in the Science Center

* Check out Adam’s basement tunnels

* Go to a play, opera, or otherwise (two in mind so far!)

Art from the Adam’s House Tunnels


* Rock Climbing in Lowell House

* Harvard Museum of Natural History

* Fall asleep in a library [Cabot Library]

* Get lost in Widener

* Get a free water

* Go to Harvard’s 3am eateries  (e.g., The Kong, Felipe’s, Nocs, & Falafel Corner)

* Get a free DAPA water bottle

* Classes at the Innovation Lab

* Leverett Sherry Tasting with the Master

* Write for The Crimson

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

You know those days where sometimes things just fall apart? I was having that pretty much for a week. Sounds worse than it is… I’m really referring to my once-thought-to-be-set-in-stone class schedule, which is now completely switched around.


I started with my hope to cross-register and take a class at the Harvard Kennedy School, Food & Agribusiness. Note the picture above from the Kennedy School… they have an affinity for quirky floors there I suppose.


Turns out my class was nowhere to be found because it didn’t start until mid-march, a half-semester class. That won’t do. A so starts the long chain of moving, and shopping, and disliking, and moving, and shopping new classes.


Four hours to go till our Study Card detailing our course choices are do, but I think I figured it out, with classes one may more than I cared for, but another interesting food course to do research in:  American Food, A Global History.


My second choice that got run out was a History of Science, Machines and Human Nature course. Any class that starts out an introduction with a clip from The Matrix sounds awesome to me! Bladerunner, AI, I-Robot, all assignments for the course. Even the view (see below) from the fourth floor of the Science Center where the class is was persuasive.


Note the reflection on the glass window…

Alas, sometimes things just don’t work out (i.e., no history of computer course because another put a discussion section in the way). But with Friday upon us I can feel little reason to worry (except the sudden need to run out and find the cheapest books to buy….).


Tonight is the first in semester for senior social gatherings: a series event put on during the last semester for seniors featuring discounts of food, lots of friends, and everything from games to live music. I’m excited to see all my friends again and relax. I saw a lot of them, but not all, last weekend when we trekked by bus to Allston for Korean Food (btw. do try Bibimbap in a hot stone if you haven’t, so delicious!) for my friend’s birthday—great times! We ended the night back in Harvard square at a favorite restaurant, also the location for the first senior social.


But most of all, what I’m looking forward to on the next few Friday nights is some free s’mores, hot chocolate, and ice skating right inside Harvard! Above is a picture of the new erected (temporary) ice rink by the science center… can’t wait to try it out!


Have a great weekend!



Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,