I used to party hard. Then sophomore year ended, I filled out my Q Guide evaluations, looked up my transcript, and stopped. I’ve done well by my renewed focus, but as I look ahead to May of my “senior spring,” I—like many other 2012ers—see a rare break in my life of labor: With no exams, no classes, and no job for 20+ days, it will be an opportunity to rage like no other. On the cusp of adulthood with childhood firmly in the rearview, we’ll find ourselves for the last time surrounded by each other and without any real responsibilities. Bottoms up.
But there’s a problem: I don’t know if I still have it in me. The hangovers are worse. My tolerance isn’t what it used to be. Hair floating in a solo cup of lukewarm Keystone doesn’t taste quite as good as it used to. Sedate Harvard Square bars and mediocre Boston clubs are more attractive diversions these days than sticky, black-lit dance floors and Rubinoff. Can I still party like its 2009? I’ve found that these pressing questions are by no means unique to me. In prepping myself not to squander a single minute of this last ever opportunity to be super social for three straight weeks, I turned to science! This week—with my last column ever—I’d like to Karthink about my morally hazardous justification for the benefit of my similarly hesitant peers: Partying all May will make you live longer.
Come May 24—barring an act of God—I’m due to be one of the last students to graduate from the Core Curriculum. Lamentably, I will only have been exposed to the various “ways of knowing,” whereas my compatriots currently enrolled in the Program in General Education will have successfully prepared to “connect in an explicit way what students learn in Harvard classrooms to life outside the ivied walls and beyond the college years.”
Hey, that’s not fair! Only seven of the seven courses I’ve used to satisfy my Core requirements have since been relisted as Gen Eds. What’s more, it’s already apparent that my more forward-thinking classmates’ newfound pragmatism escapes me. For instance, Tuesday afternoon I paid five dollars for J.P. Licks ice cream (thanks to my Core requirement in Moral Reasoning) even though it was Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s (which I believe would be the ethical choice, as per the Gen Ed program’s Ethical Reasoning requirement).
No, this isn’t another column about your duty to complain @Twitter and like the right videos on Facebook so that you can start your own grassroots political movement between response papers; it’s a column about real, active participation in the legislative process, so keep reading.
In the 21st century, political participation should mean a lot more than its traditional definition of fundraising, letter-writing, and the occasional vote. However, it should also mean a lot more than just promoting some of your thoughts on your friends’ newsfeeds. No doubt, a lot of credit is due to social media for movements like the Arab Spring in places where people have no political voice and the old-school media is perhaps even less democratic than the government. But this is ’Murrrca, dammit! In a functional democracy where legislators really do—for the most part—want to hear and represent their constituents as best they can, we have the luxury to do a lot more with the internet than trend a few of our scattered emotions in hopes that someone important will notice and start a discussion in the analog world.
I spent the bulk of last summer in Southern California working at a major aerospace defense contractor. Despite the weather, the mood was none too happy. Decades-old production runs had their ends in sight and new government money streams were either drying up or freezing depending on whom you asked. In the midst of the infamous 2011 debt-limit negotiations, everything and everyone was on the block.
But, there was one great white hope! The one tech to save them all! The word on the tip of everyone’s tongue: drones.
There you are, sitting with your bros in a totally normal way entranced by the latest episode of Gossip Girl and maybe eating a Luna Bar:
[A door suddenly opens.]