Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s my first post in 2013. I graduate in less than 5 months! I’m currently at home relaxing for a week before I head back to campus. I just returned to the States from South Korea on Thursday. I was in Seoul promoting the documentary I’ve been a part of for the past 9 months. You can read more about it in a post I wrote back in June, but to get you all up to speed, here’s a quick recap: “Homo Academicus” is a new documentary series that I’ve been hosting in between school and other commitments since the beginning of summer in 2012. Along with 3 other Harvard students (Brian ’14, Jenny ’13, and Lilli ’11), I traveled to various countries around the world to observe how cultural differences, privileges, and inequities affect education and styles of learning. Between the 4 of us, we’ve traveled to China, Japan, India, Israel, South Korea, and Uganda, visiting schools, interviewing students, and immersing ourselves in the rich culture of each of the countries. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for which we’re all incredibly grateful. It won’t be released until March 2013 on the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) and possibly BBC, but I thought I’d share a sneak peak of it with you all. I’ll have to try to find some online videos on YouTube or something, but in the meantime, check out the video below.
The trip to Korea was over a span of 5 days, including travel. The flight itself is about 14 hours, so we weren’t there for too long. The morning after we landed, we had a publicity blitz consisting of a morning talk show, as well as interviews and photoshoots with 3 different magazines and a newspaper. Some of the footage in the YouTube video above is from this week. Many of the interviews included questions about each of our upbringings and our road to Harvard. It’s fascinating how different all of our experiences were while growing up, and I learned new things about Brian, Jenny, and Lilli as we answered each interviewers’ questions. Many of the magazines also asked us our thoughts on the education systems of the countries to which we traveled. We mentioned some key takeaways we realized from traveling. I think one of the things we all agreed on is that we’ve been quite fortunate here in the United States, not just at Harvard, but in the education system in general. We’ve been able to study what we’re passionate about, which isn’t always the case in some other countries due to family expectations or boundaries that are set upon children at birth. We also agreed that we learned a lot more than we expected. Education isn’t the first thing you think about when considering cultural differences; it’s usually the language, food, social structure, etc. that come to mind. However, we all learned firsthand that the approach and attitude towards education vary from country to country and region to region.
This is one of the best examples of a neat opportunity I’ve had just by virtue of being a Harvard student. This project definitely would not have presented itself if it weren’t for Harvard, and all 4 of us agree that we’ll never forget this experience.
What am I doing this week? Well, I’m currently transferring files from my old laptop to my new one. My first computer was on its last leg during the fall semester, so I purchased a new one, but didn’t have the time to migrate photos, music, and important documents. Therefore, I’m doing it now–what I consider a great use of my January break. Unfortunately, I forgot my external hard drive at school in my dorm room so I’m currently using a 16 GB flash drive. It’s quite a slow process, and I’m driving myself nuts. It’s such a mindless process, though, that I really don’t mind it all too much. I just get nervous that I’ll end up missing a file that I really need.
I’ve also been working remotely from home with tons and tons of emails and Google Hangouts regarding things pertaining to the senior class. I’m a Marshal for the Class of 2013, which is probably best explained through the Harvard Alumni Association‘s website:
“Each senior class will elect eight class marshals. The first marshal is the Harvard College equivalent of class president and the second marshal is analogous to vice president, with the remaining six marshals serving as Class-wide representatives. Class marshals are elected by all senior class members eligible to vote, with the top two vote-getters earning the designation of first and second marshal, respectively.”
The Class Marshals make up 8 positions on the larger Senior Class Committee, which is a group of 29 seniors who work together to make senior year and beyond awesome and memorable. You could think of us as The Party Planning Committee if you’ve seen The Office. I’m pretty sure I’ve used that analogy when talking about House Committees in a previous post, but we do a lot of similar things–just on a larger scale! We’re currently working on a merchandise order, as well as planning parties, innings (around campus), outings (in Cambridge or Boston), service trips, and Senior Week in May. We actually just launched our official website–harvard13.org–so be sure to check that out!
I’m off to migrate more files. Take a look at our new Twitter layout for 2013. I’m no pro, but I try. We received some new followers after early admit decisions came out last month, so I’m trying to use my time productively and make it stick!