Leaving the Aquarium
Seniors Must Move From Harvard's Comfortable Waters to the Ocean Beyond
I still remember when I could swim in the ocean. That was before I came to Harvard. I had a lot of free time and much vivid contact with the environment in which I was raised. I could experience first-hand all the pleasures and troubles or urban life--the accessibility, the rush, the violence. The vastness of the sea and the threat of the city were both an exciting challenge and a fearful perturbation. Life was uncertain.
But then I plunged into the Harvard Aquarium and everything changed. Suddenly, I was residing in the most prestigious locale around. The environment here is carefully controlled to provide an ideal place to grow. Food is plentiful and readily available, housing nothing but the best compared to other aquariums. There is no tide and the water is calm. Yet, every once in a while, some spoiled character complains about it.
I can perfect the art swimming with the most acclaimed tutors. I dive into complex theorems and formulas. I study the lives of past great masters. I meet brilliant minds on a daily basis. I fancy solving all the problems of the world. Opportunities are limitless inside this container.
Life in the Harvard Aquarium is secure and comfortable. The glass walls permit a view of the world out there, but still guard me from any external threat. I can look in all directions and speculate on anything. Inside the aquarium, I can make discoveries that lead to major storms outside while leaving intact the calm waters within.
The aquarium's thin and fragile glass bounds offer convenient and helpful protection. The Harvard Aquarium must stand still, no matter what happens outside.
But now my days in the aquarium are coming to an end. Soon, there won't be glass walls anymore. After four years in here, I can see many baits on hooks--energetic fishermen trying to take me back to the vast ocean where I once swam. The only question now is which bait to bite.
Joaquim Ribeiro '98 is an economics concentrator in Eliot House. He is about to be hooked.