The week before spring break of this semester, I had a lot to do: Monday, paper due, Tuesday, paper due, Wednesday, midterm exam, Thursday, midterm exam. On the other hand, last year, during my sophomore spring, I had six (count ’em, six) midterm exams spreading their wings across an entire semester.
If midterm assignments were mattresses, my current semester would represent those tiny cots I used to sleep on at camp—just a tad too tight, even by 12-year-old standards. My sophomore spring, on the other hand, would be a king-sized mattress. No, scratch that: it would be a Sealy California King Posturepedic mattress. Why do you need all that space? There were too many important tests taking place over too long a period. Last year, I was preparing for midterm exams essentially every other week, in addition to doing other regular problem sets, essays, and assignments.
I was in Israel the first time I drank an entire cup of coffee. It was the summer after my freshman year, and the time had come to graduate from chocolate milk and move on to more caffeinated things. The mug I used was small; I filled it with that instant stuff, but the ratio of sugar and cream to actual brew was high. For me, that cup of coffee served purely utilitarian purposes—I was still jetlagged and exhausted from a busy trip, and I thought caffeine would help.
It did. I couldn’t believe how much my day improved—and how much my life could improve—by drinking a mug of caffeinated gold. I was hooked. I now use various liquid mediums to stay awake, usually espresso drinks at cafés or soda from the dining hall. And what wonders it has done for my social life! Going to cafés with friends is a new option that makes me hip.
I’ll admit it. I was on the infamous “hostage shuttle” on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. That’s right—I boarded the unmarked, white, Harvard-shuttle-bus-look-alike that was not, in fact, the 10:10 p.m. shuttle going to the Quad. In our defense, it was dark. In our defense, the fake shuttle rolled up to the official Harvard stop. In our defense, we were engaged in conversations that distracted us from the fact that the hostage shuttle lacked any markings suggesting it was, in fact, a Harvard-affiliated vehicle.
Was it thoughtless of us? Yes. Am I humiliated? Slightly. Here’s what one of the people who commented on the Crimson article about the counterfeit shuttle had to say:
During high school, Valentine’s Day was always unpleasant. It usually started with an uncomfortable assembly in which zealous feminists sang the praises of “V-Day.” I will spare details, but suffice it to say: their rhetoric was awkward for (still quite immature) high-schoolers, especially when flanked by elderly faculty.
V-Day didn’t improve from there. The varsity field hockey team held an annual Valentine’s Day rose sale for charity. It was a rather uncharitable event for those of us who didn’t receive dozens of flowers. Yellow roses and cards came from friends; red, significant others; pink, secret admirers. Each year, popular girls flaunted the number of roses they received, insincerely lamenting the clumsiness of the bouquet they had just collected. If you received fewer than five flowers, you might as well have just thrown them out. To acknowledge such a dearth was worse than to carry none at all. The sale was dreadful for us students, heightening our teenaged insecurities. It was completely unavoidable, too; the rose distribution took place en route to the cafeteria. And even if it hadn’t, we probably couldn’t have escaped the temptation of seeing whether this year would be different, whether this time we would receive a pink rose.