Like middle school, a lot of social interactions at Harvard are awkward. Many chalk this up to differences in backgrounds between students. But I also think there is another source to it—the variety of ages we portray.
In April, the Korean pop-star sensation Psy, known for “Gangam Style,” visited Harvard to talk in Memorial Church. He was introduced by a couple of professors. For a while, they talked about globalizing Korean pop culture. The hall, in the meantime, fluctuated between a state of academic-induced sleep and nervous excitement, while the pop-star waited outside.
As strange as it seems, differences are what bring students together. And it can be only through embracing and learning from those differences, rather than comparing them, that students will remain together. I’ve tried both ways, and trust me—it doesn’t even compare.
Because if the discussion of academics continues glossing over the diverse goals and ideals of the student body in one bitter, nostalgic glance, that piece of paper will never have a chance at influencing what students choose to write on theirs.
So, between the inevitable backroom meetings and long nights of worry, just try to remember the appropriately paradoxical slogan “friends don’t let friends block together.” Whether you end up floating, blocking, dropping, or whatever else next semester, as long as you don’t make the process purely about friendship, you’ll always have a friend two, or more, only a few blocks away.
Small things about a community, like the rain, are different at Harvard than at other places. And first-year students like myself, many traveling home for the first time this past month since leaving for college, reflect on those differences and on whether Harvard can be considered a second home.