Bleeding Crimson

The HUDS Strike: A Year in Review

October 09, 2017

One brisk Wednesday morning in October last year, I woke up at six. The rest of the world still hadn’t shaken off the night, shadows of the day before still looming dark in the sky above me. Everything was still, and I kept thinking about that silence, the way it wrapped around my body, heavy with anticipation as I flew down five flights of stairs and rushed to the back of Annenberg. I fastened the pin to my hoodie and sought out a sign, hoping I wasn’t late.

I wasn’t. The HUDS workers had just begun to assemble themselves in a circle, strapping fluorescent orange Home Depot buckets to their necks like armor, steeling themselves with drumsticks in one hand and picket signs in the other. They began to march, chanting in both Spanish and English. Reporters arrived and the area was suddenly swarming with cameras, people vying to get a quote from the workers on strike or their supporters. All the while, members of the Student Labor Action Movement handed out flowers to strikers as a sign of solidarity.

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Harvardian Civil Religion

September 25, 2017

There is an implicit way to be here—and the here in this case is not some wildly nebulous concept in which the edges are constellational and ever expanding into dark matter, unattainable. No—the here is tangible, neat, an institution like Harvard that inputs scholasticism and dedication, grinds and molds these factors for four years and churns out summa cum laude grist that’s supposed to change the world. Although the diversity of inputs is evermore variable, the same ethical principles underscoring the nature of these students remains stagnant—due diligence to their studies, being just and truthful in the pursuance of their goals, and more. As such, each person is subjected to the same educational mill whose mechanisms are accepted with such fervor by these students, learning to navigate through this system as their hunger for achievement salivates for more.

Everyone graced by this epitomal “here” wants to taste success. Thus, they learn the way to be here; they subject themselves to the hustle and bustle of Harvardian life, hoping to skim to the surface of this higher aim. The University, in turn, utilizes their students’ desires for the future to rhetorically guide the tide of the campus, to build the most faith in the administration and dedication to the policies of the school.

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The Social Networker

September 11, 2017

With words like clay and a teflon personality, the social networker is out there, lurking around Harvard Yard. They’re seen at every major event, they give you a wave and shout your name from across the street, they talk about the weather and classes but never anything deeper. They skim the surface of every topic expertly, leaving a trail of ice-breakers and platitudes in their wake. They know you, but they don’t know you, and that doesn’t really matter. Your name and a smile—swift, undirected—is the gate ticket to anything and everything they need. Anything else is merely decorative, a lozenge to make these actions tasteless, medicinal, and bleached—but even still, when you walk away, something doesn’t feel right. You feel a coat hanger at once peeling your mouth open and wiring your shoulders stiff, the cold metal rippling through your back like bubble wrap. You dismiss the feeling altogether, you tell yourself you’re overreacting. They’re just being nice. Their business card burns a hole in your back pocket.

But can we blame the master networker?

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Home(less) at Harvard

August 15, 2017

{image id=1323693 align=right byline=true caption=true}About a year ago, I filled some boxes and lugged them up five flights of stairs. It wasn’t a big deal or anything—I was just leaving my friends, family, and anything I ever considered home back in New Jersey and welcoming four white walls and a sloped ceiling as a shoddy substitute for the word, the feeling. The ceiling paint was chipping, the skylight dark. Four new roommates filled in the slots of the four people I left three states away. Sooner than I thought, those walls were decorated, the skylight waxed and waned bright, and those four people became much more than just strangers.

And for a long time, I tried to avoid calling that place home. It was the room, the dorm, my bed. It was like when you tell someone not to think of an elephant and they begin describing a gray hide, a snaking nose, ivory tusks under flapping ears—but deny the image its rightful name. A portrait without a frame, if you will. My home had always been my little green room of five paces by two, nothing more, nothing less. Yet, my will eventually caved. We took a group picture. I bought a frame. Weeks sprouted roots, months began to grow under the skylight, and soon enough I had to change my idea of what was home, or how many homes one could have without the word losing its weight.

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Summer as a Status Symbol

August 01, 2017

{image id=1323638 size=medium align=right byline=true caption=true}Sunshine. Beaches. Barbecues. Warmth. Bathing suits. Days poolside, wasting away under the severity of the sun lambasting your back. No work in sight. You’re lying down, and it’s not the laying you’re focusing on but the down part. Flat, planar, no stress knotting your spine or fears knitting your toes, causing that arch in your back to point ever so slightly higher. Complete and utter tranquility—even just for a moment—before the flotsam and jetsam of school and work and responsibilities resurfaces, and you re-submerge into the murkier pool of quotidian life instead of the chlorinated pool of summer. And that’s how it’s supposed to be, right? The ideal breather that term time-you envisions, that childhood-you envisioned, a respite from the norm to reflect on what has passed. Or summer is a time to not do that, to spend time thinking about the thought of doing nothing at all, which in itself is doing something, doing more than what summer requires.

Yet, most Harvard students don’t experience this summer. This isn’t to say that the antithesis of this lax watercolor is the bane of all imaginable summers. It’s the opposite actually—the vast amount of interests that are pursued throughout the summer by various students are quite laudable. Studying abroad, doing research in laboratories, interning at important causes and with notable companies, cultivating their own businesses—the list extends from there. Summertime activities help to give context to what a student is interested in and will continue to pursue throughout their time here. However, the activities each student chooses to participate in—or, more appropriately, has the opportunity to participate in—can be a representation of and status symbol in the elitism omnipresent at Harvard.

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