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Crimson's Complaint

Humanities

By Jordana R. Lewis

In theory, Junior Parents' Weekend is a chance for our kin to catch a glimpse of our Harvard years--to slum it a bit with us college folk, to make sure we've been eating and sleeping properly and, of course, to find out where, exactly, all their tuition money has been funneled for the past three years. Harvard invites our parents to the Square for the weekend, the weekend being the most, shall we say, intriguing aspect of any college student's week. We have, however, been thrown something in the form of a bone: an events schedule packed full enough with faculty lectures, Harvard panels and house social events to keep even the most Harvard-hungry parents satisfied--for a couple of hours.

Sure, my parents will attend the scheduled, stiff events, but they didn't leave the smoggy comforts of Southern California to learn about the allure of health care at Harvard--or even to discover the ancient perspectives on our future climate. (Amazing, I know.) Professor Michael J. Sandel may have success rekindling a few parents' flirtations with philosophy, but most folks are undoubtedly more interested in the intimate aspects of our Harvard lives. They'll want to meet that boy. They'll want to meet your nemesis (in my case, that's Stephen E. Sachs '02--damn him!). They'll want to see how those jeans are fitting you. And yes, they'll want you to define "hooking up" for them yet again.

And so as a heads-up to the Class of 2002, on the eve of our parents' arrival, here's a little something that's been waiting for you:

"Jor, why don't you ever write me back? I emailed you yesterday about Uncle Herbie's prostate surgery. How could you ignore something like that?"

"But I didn't get an email about that, Mom. You know I would never neglect--"

"That's impossible--you're still lewis@fas.harvard.edu, right?"

"Oh, Jesus, not again. My email address is lewis4@fas.harvard.edu. The Dean of the College's is lewis@fas.harvard.edu. You know? Harry R. Lewis? That computer science guy we just listened to?

"Oh yes, that's right. What a talk--I especially liked his vocabulary and metaphors. And he's just so open to reform and innovation for your school! So who's your favorite professor this semester? You're taking a class with the one making the grade-inflation stink, right? Is he any good?"

"Sure, Professor Mansfield known his stuff, but it's my T.F. for the class who's the real gem. This is his 14th year of grad school--all of which have been devoted to the works of Leo Strauss--so he's got a ton of experience teaching sections."

"And you are working on getting onto a more normal schedule, aren't you? I want you eating breakfast every morning. Remember, several small meals throughout the day will keep your blood-sugar levels up. And protein. What are you eating for protein? For calcium? So help me, Jordana, if you aren't getting enough calcium every day."

"Mom, I'm eating really well. The Harvard University Dining Services is actually one of the best things this school's got going for the undergraduates. Just be thankful I don't live in Quincy House."

"Just remember, if you don't have your health, you've got nothing in life. And it's food and 8 hours of sleep that are going to keep you there. Anyway, you know how Dad likes his television shows. Last month he slipped back into his late-night 'Jerry' routine when they kicked 'Blind Date' off the air. But--thank God--he's found a new one: 'Dawson's Creek.' Jor, you don't carry a condom in your wallet, do you?"

"I mean, Mom, it's just there for sex ed. demonstrations I give for the kids I tutor over in Central Square. I just put it on a banana."

"And why is it that when I call your room in the morning does a guy answer the telephone? Who is he?"

"My roommate has a serious boyfriend."

"Serious? How serious? They're not sleeping together, are they?"

"Yes, together, but not with each other."

"What? Listen to yourself; you are making no sense."

"Together, but not with each other--Mom, you went to college too long ago. Trust me, it's perfectly ok--"

"And what about the alcohol? I know you drink and I want you to know that your father and I find that perfectly acceptable. You are 21 now and I know you are very responsible, that you would never put yourself in any grave danger--and that you would never let your grades slide. And you do realize that binge drinking results in death, don't you?"

"I'm not drinking much--only on special occasions, and definitely only on the weekends. Like for Denise's birthday, for example. I had a full glass of wine and it just went straight to my head."

"Well you never want to lose control of yourself. Ever. And you have to be so careful these days with all those drugs men drop in your glass."

"Mom, I never lose control. I go to Harvard."

Jordana Lewis '02 is a history and literature concentrator in Eliot House. Her column appears on alternate Thursdays.

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