The editors take aim at the good, the bad and the ugly.

Secretary-General or general secretary?

As OCS plasters the campus with posters for career introductory meetings, and seniors head to Neiman Marcus for their all-important interview suits, the exotic tang of real-world jobs has begun to flavor the air around Harvard’s ivory towers. Students debate whether to take the McKinsey offer, or head to law school—but one career option seems to be significantly underappreciated by job seekers and OCS alike: secretarial work.

Sure, it may not pay $80,000 the first year, or involve swanky corner offices—but, alas, few jobs are more suited to a Harvard student’s skill set upon graduation. Thanks to classes with long reading lists and no sourcebooks, the photocopying prowess of Harvard grads is stunning, rivaled only by their light-speed typing and gourmet coffee preparation technique. Harvard may purport to be training future leaders, but in practice, students have to log long hours with the Lamont photocopiers instead of being able to ponder great theoretical works.

Certainly, copyright costs are high and books are expensive—but it is difficult for students to become excited about a class when they spend more time scavenging for the readings than actually perusing the material. Professors truly interested in generating enthusiasm for their courses should make greater efforts to help students acquire the material—either by creating sourcebooks or by putting multiple copies of readings on reserve at the libraries. Powerful ideas should echo in the heads of graduating seniors—not the humming and clicking of a busy photocopier.


How’d you like to lottery this?

It is simply outrageous that anybody should be lotteried out of a large lecture course. No one is spending $35,000 to be taking their backup courses.

Students are only lotteried out of large courses because the professor doesn’t want to hire one or two more graduate students at short notice to TF a few extra sections. For those courses that are oversubscribed time after time, like many popular cores, this type of behavior is particularly inexcusable as the professor has a whole year to arrange for a suitable number of TFs. It makes absolutely no difference to the professors if they lecture to 50 or 250 people and we all know how much effort most professors put into grading papers and exams.

It would be so simple for the college to prevent professors from putting caps on their lecture courses. Some of the largest classes at Harvard, such as Justice and Ec 10, have enough TFs, and are willing to higher more at short notice, to accommodate as many people as chose to enroll. Then again, maybe Harvard likes its reputation of not caring for undergraduates.


Stone Age Study Cards

Harvard may pioneer a new Silicon-Valley in Boston one day, but until then, I’ll settle for an online study card filing system here in Cambridge. As much fun as it is to bubble in the numbers, I can live without the perennial rush for signatures. E-mail tag and sprints to emergency office hours were not the kinds of student-faculty interaction I had in mind when I chose starred seminars from the Courses of Instruction.

Were students to enter their courses choices online, course heads and advisors could review their class lists and approve students all at once. The registrar might even save money in the long run. Although we would have to wait until finals in January to see those old folks behind the tables, I’m sure Harvard’s dungeon keepers would feed them well in the meantime.