The Crimson

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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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Hello everyone! I’m writing from the comfort of my dorm room right now…it’s definitely cozier in here than it is outdoors. Finally it snowed, but it’s melted since then, leaving the ground bare. Not all hope is lost, though–it should snow on Saturday! Another amazing event that is happening that day is the final performance of my Wintersession spoken word workshop. We’ve been working from 10-3 everyday this week, producing a lot of writing of which we should be proud. The Speak Out Loud club is hosting this program, and we’ve had a lot of amazing guests come in to work with us. Yesterday, we made this crazy web to connect all of these different ideas and created poems about them, and afterwards we talked about the Hunger Games (which was great, because I’m obsessed with that series).

Crazy Web

Spoken word is a really fantastic way of self-expression, and on the sixth of February, we’ll be performing a piece in Memorial Church for a belated-MLK celebration. I’ll be doing a group piece with my friend, which will be fun, because it’s my first time collaborating on any spoken word. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I got back from LA on Saturday night, and came to Harvard just in time to watch the Giants-Packers game with my dad at Tory Row, a café/bar right in the square. Luckily, the Giants whooped the Packers (really, the defense was fantastic), so my dad could drive home happily that night. I also met my older sister at South Station, and after we’d watched the game, we went back to my room and packed her bags for Zanzibar. She’s doing a semester abroad there, and is currently in Tanzania, crossing the ocean in a little while to the island where she’ll spend her next few months. Eloise (my sister) could only take one large backpack and a carry-on, so we had to pack everything tightly. We rolled all of her clothes and crammed them into her bag, densely packing it so that she could fit everything. Lo and behold, there was room to spare after we’d finished! On Monday, we had lunch with our grandparents at Henrietta’s Kitchen in the Charles Hotel, and after my workshop, I took her to the airport. We got there pretty early, checked her bag (11 kilos), bought some candy, and called our mom. Then, we parted ways as she went through security. Today, she called me from Tanzania on Skype–a lovely surprise. It made me think about all the places I’d like to go for Study Abroad, which prompted my transition back into my grant applications for the Summer Study Abroad in Paris. There’s a very good study abroad program here, which can be found at these two links, one for summer and the other for the academic year. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping I’ll be accepted this year!

It’s lovely being back on campus. Nothing has changed much–the same food (though I’m eating less of it), the same buildings (obviously), the same yard (except for the lack of Occupiers). However, there is one new exciting addition to campus: a skating rink! It’s free, with skate rentals being only $5. I’ll have to check it out sometime. Later today, I’ll be heading to a warmer sporting event, covering the men’s swimming and diving competition against Brown, as I’m now a Junior Editor for the Photo board of The Crimson. (Yay!) So, that’s all, folks, but I’m ready for a new exciting year of work and play!

Happy Winter!


The lovely snow, from my window!

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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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Although December brings reading period, papers, and finals (which I finally finished!) it also brings many holiday socials for student groups on campus. Since a lot of student groups transition boards between December and January, the meetings serve as a way for the graduating seniors to reflect and welcome the incoming board members.

My first was the Harvard Premedical Society’s annual holiday party, where the outgoing board participates in Secret Santa and, this year, played apples to apples and ate a delicious peanut butter cake cooked by one of our board members! Since I have been on the board since my freshman year, it was really sad to see my time come to an end—I have made some of my best friends at Harvard through HPS, and I’m going to miss it next semester. Here is almost the entire 2010 board!

The next day, I headed over to the Undergraduate Admissions Council social. We are a student group on campus that serves as the student arm of the Admissions Office, so for those of you who are accepted, you will receive a call from us in the spring and we will be behind the scenes making sure Visiting Weekend is a blast! We munched on appetizers and desserts in the Lowell House Small DHall and caught up with everyone to make sure we were all on track for next semester. My co-chair Ayse ’12 and I can’t wait to meet many of you in the spring!

A few hours after that, I walked up the stairs at 14 Plympton Street to the (somewhat) annual crimson superlatives. Of all the activities that are coming to an end in December, The Crimson has probably involved the most blood, sweat, tears—and joy!—and I will miss pitching stories and editing the paper into the wee hours of the morning. All the other news execs and I have spent so many hours together since our freshman year 🙁

Next semester is going to be so different now that my time with so many activities has ended. I’m heading home tomorrow morning, and I hope all of you have a lovely holiday season! I’ll be back in January when I’ll be working on my thesis during J-Term.

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Since Punit just wrote about his experience with The Crimson’s “turkey shoot” I figured now would be a good time to add on my own thoughts.

Without a doubt, The Crimson has been one of the most memorable experiences of my time at Harvard College. We publish a newspaper five days a week (Monday through Friday) and have been around since 1873 (a pretty long time!). Every issue is the result of the hard work, dedication, and countless hours of many Harvard undergraduates—from the dayslotter (the person who pitches stories) to the reporters, editors, advertising managers, designers, photographers, and the proofer (the person in charge of the paper for the night)—and that’s not all! We have a total of 11 boards—News, Editorial, Business, Arts, Sports, FM (our magazine), Photography, Design, Video, Blog, and Information Technology—all staffed by Harvard students.

The fall of my freshman year I “comped” the New Board (the comp is The Crimson’s training process) during which I learned how to report and write news stories (for my first story, I got to Skype with a businessman from the Philippines who won an award from Harvard Business School). I spent the next two years as a beat reporter (which meant I was in charge of a specific area of reporting) on the Faculty Team. I loved being able to cover the sciences, especially by running our biweekly Science Page “The Cutting Edge,” which let me communicate exciting discoveries and thought-provoking issues in science and health to our readership—my favorite article was a feature I wrote on the doctor-patient relationship.

The fall of my junior year, I participated in the shoot process Punit is going through now and after a lot of schmoozes (a kind of interview with an outgoing executive) I became one of the News Executives. This meant I was part of a group of undergraduates who kept the News Board running smoothly—from pitching and editing stories to mentoring writers on our teams and being in charge of the paper for a night. Although this often involved pouring over newspaper pages for typos and inaccuracies until the early hours of the morning, its an awesome feeling to see the printed paper in your House’s dining hall the next morning and know you were the last person who looked over those pages and (tried to) make sure everything was perfect.

Right now, my time on The Crimson is approaching its end—once the new guard (including Punit!) is elected, I’ll be done. (My guard is the 137th guard, which means when we were executives in 2010, it had been 137 years since The Crimson was founded). This past week, I did the opposite of Punit, sitting in my dining hall from 9-5 interviewing all the juniors “shooting” for positions on the News Board. It’s bittersweet, especially for an activity that has taken countless hours since the beginning of my freshman year, forging friendships and camaraderie—many of us who are now News Execs have been together on The Crimson since freshman year.

If you have any questions about The Crimson, feel free to ask me in the comments below! If I had to repeat my time here, I would join the Crimson over again without hesitation.

(Also, because I thought it would be fun, you might have noticed that all of my blog posts are titled with the name or lyric from a song. This title comes from the first of The Lord of the Rings movies, The Fellowship of the Ring. In high school, my friend and I once stayed up watching all three extended editions in a row (a good 12 hours!) I love the series, and try to read the books once a year.)

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Eighteen one-on-one interviews in five days, a 2000-word essay (written in the 18 hours before it was due), and a final 45-minute interview to — quoting a few friends — “test how well you handle pressure.” This describes my the components of my experience in The Crimson‘s Turkey Shoot, a process by which our daily newspaper chooses its president and top leaders for the upcoming calender year.

I’m shooting for “Director of Web Strategy,” a new position on the publication that aims to bring a greater emphasis on our web product and blogs to ultimately improve our online experience and expand online revenue. It’s exciting because even while in college, I can make an impact on a site that reaches tens of thousands of people a day and helps keep our community informed. But the road to it is no simple ordeal. To shoot, I wrote a statement of purpose in a surprisingly constraining 2000-words after talking to the outgoing president, managers, and editors across our building. The following week, “shooters” as students like me are known interview one-on-one with each editor who would like to deliberate on the  new office-holder through a process affectionately and humorously known as “schmoozing.” Finally, there is that final interview where each of your deliberators sit together, keeping you on your toes for 45 minutes; for positions like President or Managing Editor, there can be 25 or more for more deliberators. Upon writing, I’m currently finishing up my 18 schmoozes.

Students here throw themselves into everything they do, extracurricular activities being no exception. With a talented set of peers, getting the opportunity to lead organizations can thus be a rigorous process. The Crimson‘s is by far the most intense I’ve seen; almost every small and large organization makes do with simple elections or applications. In the middle of it, “the Shoot” as it’s commonly known can seem a bit absurd just to figure out who’s going to lead our publication. It probably is Actually, it definitely is a bit absurd of a process, but by taking a moment as an organization to critically think about our long-term vision, there emerges a consistently amazing set of  leaders who edit and mange almost every part of the publication from content to advertising to even printing (we are one of a few papers in the nation that owns our own presses).

And so while the process is intense, it shown me the possibilities that exist upon bringing together motivated students and giving them a few resources. After hearing and reading about everyone’s ideas and talents over the past week, those possibilities seem almost endless.

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