The blog of The Harvard Crimson

Flyby Tries: Cold Showers for a Week in This Cambridge Winter

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{shortcode-fc108fd50c127fb4f3021a6edc8ffd7913f7263a}As the semester gets busier and busier, Cambridge’s temperatures only keep plummeting. The last thing anyone wants to do is be colder, let alone take cold showers. But after hearing about all of the purported benefits of cold showers – faster muscle recovery, increased energy, softer hair – we had to try it for ourselves, even at the risk of frostbite.

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Days 1-2

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Ellen: The moment I stepped into my shower, I screamed so loudly that my roommate ran in to check that I was okay. It was the shortest shower I’ve ever taken, marked by screams and gasps every time I had to rinse off. Even on the first day, I could tell it would be a tough week.

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Janani: I underestimated how cold the shower would be. It only lasted two minutes, but it felt like eternity and I pretty much screamed the entire time. I have a hallway bathroom, which means I scared everyone who came into the bathroom hoping to mind their own business on a Monday morning.

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Days 3-4

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Ellen: These days weren’t quite as awful as the first day, but pretty miserable nonetheless. My showers shortened against my will, but on the bright side, I had much more time to get ready in the mornings. On top of improved efficiency, I noticed that my skin and hair were already softer and appeared to be more moisturized. Skincare perks, I guess?

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Janani: By this point, I had a full-on cold. I don’t think the shower made me sick, but it was not making things any better. Fortunately, there was less screaming because I knew what to expect. I took the shortest showers possible and then a lot of NyQuil. I noticed my face looked really red, but we’ll never know if that was because of the showers or the sickness.

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Days 5-7

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Ellen: I stopped needing coffee. That’s right – before this, I was blowing through my BoardPlus like there was no tomorrow, but for the duration of this week, I was feeling energized and alert even when in class. I missed hot showers, but I was starting to get used to the cold (and maybe secretly enjoying it?).

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Janani: Over halfway in, I began to recover and see the brighter side of this situation. The whole soft-hair-thing is not a myth. My hair felt much softer, less frizzy, and more manageable. I still didn’t look forward to my shower, but I am not complaining about the aftermath.

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Final Thoughts

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Ellen: It was every bit as awful as I expected, but at the same time, I would do it again. The transition from hot to cold showers was drastic, but once I got used to the water temperature, the whole experience wasn’t as unpleasant as I had initially imagined. After going back to hot showers, I only use warm instead of hot water, and my showers are shorter than before, both of which have huge environmental benefits. I would honestly be down to try again – once it’s not 10 degrees below freezing.

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Janani: This week had its ups and downs. If I had not fallen sick, I think the whole experience would have been more enjoyable. Because I shower in the morning, I felt more awake going to class and for the rest of the day. My showers were also significantly more efficient and I saved both time and water. That being said, when it’s cold outside, it sucks to be even colder. I’m proud of us for sticking to it for the whole week, and I would be willing to try again when the weather is warmer!

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What Does Your Organizing Method Say About You?

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{shortcode-c73e04032bdc7b23f1f3b5c36f6c7a9142d06260}There’s a million different things happening on campus everyday, and it’s hard to plan your schedule around lecture, extracurriculars, and that annoying 6 p.m. section you have. Fortunately, we students are not alone in this complicated world. From online calendars to whiteboard calendars to the teeny planners that fit in your pocket, there’s an organizer for everyone out there. Whatever your organizing method of choice may be, here’s what it says about you.

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The Gcal Guru

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Gcal? More like magi-cal. Let’s be honest. With classes, clubs, and personal time to manage, if your Google calendar isn’t your best friend, you’re missing out. Gcal can make the most disorganized people look like they’re smooth-sailing through life. If this is your tool to stay on top of things, we know you might not be the most organized, but you’re really really trying.

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The Paper Planner

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Equipped with your monthly paper planner, colored Muji pens, highlighters, and tiny post-it notes, we know you’re on top of your stuff. You could teach a whole seminar on staying organized. This color-coded life-saver is your most prized possession, and you literally cannot function without it.

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The Camera Queen

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Why take notes when you can just take a picture? In this ~digital age~, paper is overrated and so is actually writing things down. If you’re one of these people who refuses to keep a calendar and instead has a running list of appointments in your camera roll, either you’ve fully embraced technology, or you’re just too busy for a calendar.

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The Helping Hand(s)

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If you’re one of those people with ink all over your hands, we’ve noticed you. Writing notes on your hands keeps you organized, and, better yet, you’re doing yourself and the environment a service by saving paper. Just make sure you’re using a permanent marker. We would hate for your weekend plans to be washed away in the shower.

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The Most Impressive of All

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Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you. There are a few of us out there who would rather not use an organizer at all. Why rely on a calendar to figure out where to be in an hour when you’ve got your good ol’ brain? If you’re running exclusively on your photographic memory, we are truly impressed. Teach the rest of us average humans your ways, please.

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The Most Productive Ways to Procrastinate

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{shortcode-93508cc99f0e4b504449b9ec79bf499e73613e84}Even though you promised yourself you would “be more productive” this semester, it’s now 3 a.m. and you still haven’t finished that GenEd paper (why are they assigning them so early in the semester anyway?). In case you still can’t bring yourself to do work, Flyby has got your back when it comes to convincing yourself you’re being productive while still procrastinating.

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Clean Your Room/Do Laundry

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This one is a classic. Bust out your vacuum, throw on your favorite playlist, and get cleaning. After you’ve finished cleaning your floors, convince yourself that organizing your desk will ~organize your mind~ and spend two hours throwing away (or burning) old syllabi and psets. Let the feng shui wash over you as you blissfully ignore that essay.

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Go Get Some Coffee

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Sometimes all you need is a smooth shot of espresso to help you get your work done. Grab your HUID and head to a BoardPlus location for a quick pick-me-up to motivate yourself to finish that last paragraph. Javiva is a favorite of Flyby.

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Do Other Homework

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If you just don’t want to do your math p-set, never fear! You have plenty of other work to occupy your time with. Get started on that history reading due in three days and soon enough, you’ll have finished all of your other assignments while still procrastinating on the one that’s actually due tomorrow.

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Watch a TED Talk

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Instead of brainless Tasty videos, check out the TED YouTube channel. It’s full of fascinating, “Grey’s Anatomy”–length lectures on all topics from global security to biofabrication to – you guessed it – procrastination. Instant gratification monkey, anyone? TED Talks are the perfect way to avoid your pre-lecture quizzes while also learning something new and interesting without having to take another GenEd.

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Plan Out Your Week

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Break out your stationary and start planning out your week. Whether it’s in a bullet journal or on an index card, outlining your tasks and meetings for your week is a surefire way to feel accomplished while simultaneously stressing yourself out with the amount of work you keep putting off.

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When work is piling up and you can’t bring yourself to attack it, these are helpful ways to take a break while convincing yourself that you are indeed an ~academic~. And if you need any other ideas, you can always write a Flyby article about procrastinating. We can confirm that this is working incredibly well…

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Love it or Hate it: Sweetgreen

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{shortcode-717d77e68c7d392e10def97605ed246d31c76e63}Love it: Health is Wealth – Janani Sekar

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Think you don’t like salad? Well, think again. Since my first time trying the chain, Sweetgreen has transformed my life and my outlook on healthy eating. I was expecting an unappetizing mixture of leaves, but what I got was a bowl of healthy greens, rice, and protein: the true definition of perfection.

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With choices of both warm bowls and cold salads, Sweetgreen has something for just about everyone. There are a variety of different flavors and options, such as the curry chickpea bowl or the spicy Thai salad. And for those of us who refuse to be confined by a menu, Sweetgreen even has the option to build your own salad that speaks to your cravings.

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My true love for Sweetgreen, however, comes down to salad dressing. After weeks of eating boring HUDS ranch and honey mustard, Sweetgreen’s fancy dressing options are much appreciated. I am a personal fan of the spicy cashew, which somehow managed to convince me that kale isn’t gross.

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Yes, I will admit that Sweetgreen is on the pricier end, but the quantity of food in every order makes up for it. With a bowl full of salad plus a slice of bread, every meal I buy at Sweetgreen lasts for both lunch and dinner. While it may not be sustainable for everyone to drop $12 on salad every day, Sweetgreen is worth a try at least once in your life. Just remember, you’ll be eating food that both tastes good and is good for you!

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Hate it: Overpriced Lettuce – Anna M. Peters

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$10.95 plus tax for a bowl of mixed leaves, a few pieces of chicken, a few apples, toasted almonds, and cheese. While the supposed health benefits of eating a Sweetgreen salad for lunch may seem tempting, is it really worth paying that much? Consider that $10.95 is one of their mid-range priced salads — many of Sweetgreen’s salads cost as much as $12.95. Now, think of how many loads of laundry you could do, or actually being able to afford printing your readings and psets. Truly, a wild concept.

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Also, has anyone noticed that no matter what time you go to Sweetgreen, there’s always a line? The seven-minute minimum wait seems to be inescapable. It’s almost as if Sweetgreen doesn’t understand that we are all on a tight schedule with no time to waste — all we want to do is order some food and leave. Sure, we could order on the app and have it ready to be picked up when we arrive. But the true “thrill” of the experience, i.e., hand-picking the ingredients you want tossed in, is gone.

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If you still have that Sweetgreen craving of yours, recreate it at the dhall. We understand that you may not all be the biggest fan of dining hall food, but toss some lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, beets, chicken, quinoa, and cheese together. There you have it — a Sweetgreen salad for no cost, a solution for a broke college student.

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To All the Emails We've Deleted Before

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{shortcode-0e427ff4c4a89f25ad01400cc28fbaae71ebcf63}Regardless of your individual email habits and preferences, you likely wake up to a massive flood of emails: piles and piles of “unread” messages from students you’ve never met and organizations you’ve never heard of. While it’s satisfying to just swipe those emails directly into the trash, once in a while you come across a diamond in the rough, featuring a professor’s answer to your frantic 3 a.m. question about the p-set that you should have started a week ago. Besides these “gem” emails, we can all agree that the majority of emails make us regret adding our emails to Visitas lists all those years ago. Without further ado, to all the emails we’ve deleted before…

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The Canvas Email

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There’s nothing like the immediate fight-or-flight reaction that rushes through your body at the sight of “assignment X has been graded.” Sure, we appreciate the notification, but we don’t need to be constantly reminded of the psets due this week or the uploading of lecture slides we just slept through. We recommend taking a look at Canvas notification settings and adjusting them accordingly.

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The LinkedIn Email

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We, too, would love to join the LinkedIn network of that random person from high school, but do we need an email to remind us? And if LinkedIn wants to let us know that we appeared in a search recently, we would appreciate the tea on who searched us without having to upgrade to LinkedIn Pro.

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The [HOUSE LIST] Email

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Yes, house emails could theoretically foster a sense of community through widespread communication, but the only emails we really care about are the ones that tell us where to find free cookies on campus. Hm, if only there was an email list that specifically announced where to find free food on campus (shout-out to Harvard Today).

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The Random Concentration Department You Expressed Interest in on the First Day at Harvard Email

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While it’s nice to know about what’s going on in different departments, it’s already hard enough to keep up with your own concentration!

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The “OK” Email

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Receiving one of these semi-passive aggressive as a response to a well-crafted email is nothing short of gut-wrenching, but hey, at least it’s a response?

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The Makes You Feel Special Until You Realize It’s Generic and You’re Not Being Specifically Recruited by [Insert Prestigious Club on Campus] Email

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It may be hard to accept, but those finance and consulting clubs on campus probably have no idea who you are. Chances are, you, your roommates, and perhaps the entire Class of 2023 received the email as well.

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Harvard Professors on Love

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{shortcode-2cda5f42c48a2f7b65bcfbd5e6efb1c06b6a3e6b} Valentine’s Day is here, and if you’ve been looking for advice on love, why not listen to what wise Harvard professors have to say about it? For entirely, uh, academic reasons, Flyby asked professors from different fields for romantic advice and their scholarly takes on love. Read on for their fascinating takes on one of mankind’s oldest preoccupations!

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Erez Yoeli

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Research Associate at MIT's Sloan School of Management

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Co-instructor of Economics 1057: Game Theory with Applications to Social Behavior

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“Ever wonder why ‘love is blind,’ leading us to disregard our own welfare for the sake of those we love? Isn't it strange that people have evolved an emotion that leads them to ignore their own welfare? In our class, we teach a game theory model called The Envelope Game that can help us explain this puzzle.

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The model shows that, in relationships, people can gain trust by ‘not looking’ at the cost and benefits to themselves. This is most valued in situations where there are occasionally large temptations which, if acted upon, would be harmful to their partners. This, of course, is true of romantic relationships: it's not often that we meet people as awesome as our romantic partners, but it does occasionally happen, and if we acted upon the temptation to cheat on our partner, it would be very harmful to our partner. By ‘blinding’ us, love gets us to ignore these temptations, making us more trustworthy. This makes it possible for both sides to invest more in the relationship even in the presence of occasional temptations that might otherwise undermine the relationship.”

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Margaret Doherty

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Preceptor of Expository Writing 20: Modern Love

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“Here are two observations/tips:

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1. As an institution, Harvard prioritizes success. Students are thus understandably cautious; They're reluctant to take risks unless they can determine that the risk is worth it, that everything will likely work out in their favor. But love is about taking risks, even if you can't know in advance how things will play out. The good news is that a romantic risk is almost always worth it in at least one sense: in every relationship, casual or significant, you end up learning something about yourself: about your own desires or what you need in a partner or what kind of intimacy feels right to you. This is valuable self-knowledge! So I'd encourage students to take romantic risks, even when they think they might end up wasting time or getting hurt.

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2. Sometimes it takes a long time to find, or to develop, a strong romantic partnership—longer than we might like. I remember a former student saying, “I thought you had to get married by 25”—I can say confidently that you absolutely don't! Your life will almost inevitably take all sorts of unexpected twists and turns; you'll encounter new people along the way, and who you are—and what you want in a partner—will probably change as well. So be patient, and don't panic if you're not in a committed relationship when you'd thought you would be. Just do your best to stay open to possibility.”

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Matthew L. Potts

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Associate Professor of Religion and Literature and of Ministry Studies and Instructor for Harvard Divinity School 2179: Love and Loss

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“I follow the philosopher Judith Butler in thinking that love and loss go together in a fundamental way, that to say ‘I love you’ is another way of saying, ‘I would grieve the loss of you.’ This became obvious to me when my first child was born. When I held her the night of her birth, I felt both deep love for her but also an acute awareness of her fragility, a startlingly, almost terrifyingly strong sense of how deeply I would be hurt if something happened to her. Which of course also stirred a fierce instinct to protect her.

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Romantic love, the sort we celebrate on Valentine’s Day, is obviously different in important respects from parental love, but no different in this particular sense: that it is haunted by loss. This is true of the early stages of traditional Western forms of romantic love, I think, when we’re dating folks and moving out of and into different relationships. Sometimes partners move on to new loves before we want them to, and that hurts, or sometimes we do before our partners want us to, and those losses hurt also.

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But I’m a priest as well as a professor, and in my own work as a pastor the most I’ve learned about romantic love has come from old men and women I’ve known who have either cared for their wives or husbands as they’ve aged and died, or who have mourned them for years once they’ve gone. The legend is that St. Valentine was martyred for illegally marrying Roman soldiers to their beloveds. And this is a sweet story, but I always also wonder how those young couples he married had to learn to love one another into loss as they eventually and inevitably grew old and died.”

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Derek Penslar

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William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History

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Instructor for History 2007: Histories of Emotion

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“It’s fascinating that we use a single word, love, to describe a wide variety of attachments — not just romantic or sexual love, but also feelings of deep friendship, cherishing and protection of family members, patriotic pride, and our relationship with the divine. What they have in common is a state of realized or anticipated fulfillment of our deepest human desire — to connect with the world beyond ourselves. It’s easy to forget in our current political crisis, with so many expressions of fear and hatred, that humans are at heart deeply social and nurturing creatures that not only need each other but also need to be needed.”

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Flyby’s 2020 Valentine’s Day Playlist

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{shortcode-4c9e9f98e4f46ae2aa2c5b4c683b1fa62490ba97} Roses are red, violets are blue, here's Flyby's Valentine's Day playlist just for you <3 Flyby's 2020 Valentine's Day Playlist. {shortcode-c1c9dc08a0d75a59e0f784e1e4222bca67fa010f}

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Like what you hear? Follow our Spotify account, where you’ll find all our playlists. Don’t like it? Tell us about it. Shoot a message to flyby@thecrimson.com, especially if you have ideas for more songs we can include.

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25 Questions with Datamatch’s Supreme Cupids

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{shortcode-49f70321dd63358cd2dad1c52998cb5d93862dde} While Valentine’s Day may not be for everyone, there’s one Harvard tradition that just about everyone can get behind: Datamatch. This year marks the 25th anniversary of everyone’s favorite matchmaking survey, so we came up with 25 questions for Datamatch co-presidents Teddy T. Liu ’20 (a former Crimson technology chair) and Ryan Y. Lee ’20.

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1. What are your official positions within Datamatch?

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TTL: Our official titles are Supreme Cupid.

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RYL: We got custom ‘Supreme Cupid’ shirts, and part of me was worried that CustomInk wouldn’t print it because of the word ‘Supreme.’

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2. How long had you been on Datamatch before becoming Supreme Cupids?

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RYL: We both joined as Freshmen, and rose up together.

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3. So, have both of you been on Datamatch dates before?

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TTL: Yeah...I think the last one I went on was actually my freshman year. I haven’t been on one since then.

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4. What was your first Datamatch date like?

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RYL: Freshman year I went on a Datamatch date, and prior to that Datamatch date, I had written, for Expos, a paper on Hamlet. I’d been writing this for two days, and it was kind of a dark look on Hamlet and I was totally in that headspace. And so I went on the date, and for whatever reason I kept veering the conversation to extremely dark, deep topics, like ‘What is the meaning of life when we all just perish anyway?’ And she was just sitting there, clearly trying her best to be like ‘Oh, yeah[…].’ From a mutual friend, I heard that apparently I came off as too negative.

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5. Did you get a second date?

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RYL: No, I did not. I totally understand why.

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6. So if you could describe the ideal Datamatch date in three words, what would they be?

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TTL: Free food. Love.

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7. What would you say to the Datamatch skeptics out there who haven’t participated before?

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TTL: If you need an excuse there’s free food, that’s what we always say. Like if you want to pretend you’re jaded and don’t believe in love, then there’s always free food. I think everyone can subscribe to that.

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8. So seeing as it’s the 25th anniversary, do you have any idea how the Datamatch founders were inspired to start this whole thing?

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RYL: That’s a great question.

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TTL: Who are the founders?

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RYL: It is unclear here. A lot of times we get hit up on LinkedIn or something.

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TTL: Yeah, like last year somebody randomly tweeted Oh, the thing I started 20 years ago[…].

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RYL: I like to think that the founders had a crush on somebody on campus and created the whole thing to kind of get some insight...and make some magic happen.

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9. What’s the deal with the missing year? Datamatch started in 1994, but 26 years later it’s the 25th year of datamatch?

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RYL: The only tidbit that we really know is that a couple of years in they actually had to cancel the survey because there was something involved with a fire and champagne popping going wrong, or something along those lines. There’s a lot of lore.

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10. Obviously we’ve come a long way in both technology and love since 1994, so how has Datamatch changed since its beginnings?

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TTL: Well it started as pencil and paper, so like, hand matching. We’ve clearly left that in the past, which has allowed us to reach a lot more people. This year we’re going to be at 25 or more schools, and we’re nearing 100,000 users.

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11. Ok so expansion to other schools is great and all, with one key caveat: Why did you let Yale have Datamatch??

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RYL: Valentine’s Day is a day of love, and I’d say forgiving, and trying something new. As villainous as Yale is, at heart, we are on two sides of the same coin. And that coin is Datamatch.

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12. Seeing as this is the 25th anniversary of Datamatch, are there any shiny new surprises that students should expect to see this year?

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RYL: We can’t spill the beans. You’ll have to sign up at datamatch.me.

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13. How much has the *ultra secretive* algorithm changed since the beginning?

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TTL: Even in the time that I’ve been there, the algorithm has seen a pretty significant amount of change. We’d like to think that it’s more accurate, that its predictive powers have increased.

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RYL: You should tell them about the story!

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TTL: We’ve been hearing stories from last year even where some people started dating after Datamatch, and then they thought, like, wait a second, you know, your name sounds kind of familiar from before. They asked us to look for them and it turns out they had been matched by the algorithm.

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RYL: So maybe there’s some oracle behind the scenes.

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14. People love to speculate about the Datamatch algorithm, so give me some non-CS metaphor for the complicatedness of the algorithm.

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RYL: Imagine a whale, but the size of a lime. And the lime is the blooming of this magnificent tree that has more whale-limes. From that whale-lime tree, we pluck the limes and make them into a delicious limeade. That’s the secret sauce.

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15. The website says that Datamatch has about an 80% participation rate at Harvard — what drives Harvard students to fill out the Datamatch survey in such ridiculously high numbers?

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RYL: It’s February. It’s very cold. Everyone's kind of tucked away. If we’re bears in the middle of the winter, it’s a nice chance to stretch out our legs and meet all the other bears in the area that you might not have a chance to have met. You can go to the local garbage stop and crawl through the garbage together in search of nutrients.

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16. How many marriages do you think Datamatch has caused in 25 years?

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TTL: It’s more than one. We have a confirmed marriage.

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RYL: I’d like to think that number is around a few dozen.

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TTL: 25 years is a long time.

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17. A lot of people do Datamatch for the free food, so has free food always been a part of Datamatch?

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RYL: No, it’s actually pretty recent. Datamatch has always been around, but it was either the year when we were freshmen or the year before when Datamatch kinda kicked it up a notch. One of the former presidents of Datamatch decided to add the free food as an extra extra incentive to like, actually go out. And yeah, it was a big hit so now it’s a tradition that we keep up. A very expensive tradition, but very exciting for everyone.

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18. A lot of people love Datamatch for the survey questions. Within Datamatch, do you have a survey question hall of fame or any personal favorites?

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RYL: I remember this specifically because at a meeting, I thought it would be funny if we read off the most popular old questions. One of them was so ridiculous that it made me blush. So the question was, ‘What is your favorite whale noise?’ and the five responses were all variations of [Lee imitates whale noises] ‘Ooohhahhhhh kakakaka oahhhh.’ I had to, in front of the entire club, make these noises, and I think everyone lost a little bit of respect for me.

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19. Has anyone on the Datamatch team ever used Datamatch to scheme someone? Or have there been any great Datamatch success stories on the team?

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RYL: It was like October last year, and I was single. I had this wave of inspiration to make a dinner reservation for two on Valentine’s Day with nobody in mind, thinking to myself, like, this is my deadline to find someone special. And it’s like the day before Valentine’s Day, and I have nobody. So I was joking about this with one of my friends and she was like, kind of teasing and making fun of me for it, and Valentine’s Day comes around. And we have this [Datamatch] feature that I want to emphasize for everyone that if you opt in, you can like search for other people’s names and hit ‘match,’ and if they hit ‘match’ for you, then you’re both notified. And so I remember that morning, I hit ‘match’ for her, she hit ‘match’ for me, and we both got the ‘notified’ email. I texted her like ‘Hey, do you want to hang out, like, tonight sometime?’ and she’s like ‘Hey, do you want to use that dinner reservation?’ So the first date with her was dinner on Valentine’s Day, and we’re still dating now. So yeah, I owe Datamatch my girlfriend.

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20. What’s something that students might be surprised to learn about the ‘behind the scenes’ of Datamatch?

\r\n\r\n

TTL: I don’t know what peoples’ perception of us, like, technically is, but it’s a lot of running around screaming, I feel like. It’s like a duck, like they say: calm on the surface, looks like everything’s going smoothly, but paddling like the dickens underneath.

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21. If Datamatch was a dating app, which dating app would it be?

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RYL: Datamatch.

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TTL: I feel like it’s really unique. It’s not like any of the others because I don’t think we take ourselves too seriously.

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22. Describe the Datamatch spirit using a celebrity who used to go to Harvard, a Harvard building, and a HUDS dish.

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RYL: Rashida Jones. Just that energy. I feel like we have to mention Red Spiced Chicken. We’re spicy.

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TTL: And we’re everyone’s favorite.

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RYL: What’s a chaotic Harvard building…hmm...the Science Center during a fire alarm.

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23. Today, everyone loves Datamatch, but in Datamatch history has there ever been any backlash from students or administrators?

\r\n\r\n

TTL: I think it’s been mostly smooth sailing.

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RYL: Well, we don’t hack into the houses’ internal facebooks and steal the images…

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24. What do you see as the ultimate future for Datamatch?

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RYL: You know, at the end of the day our core goal is to spread the love and help, you know, spread joy and excitement.

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25. So, as 2020’s Supreme Cupids, what’s your ultimate advice for Harvard Students seeking love?

\r\n\r\n

TTL and RYL: Do Datamatch!

', [])

How to Celebrate Galentine’s Day Around Harvard

('

{shortcode-99091fa57795cc31cca725bd3ea3cc68f63c2def} Don’t have a boo? Still haven’t asked out your newest section crush? Ever since winter break, it seems like everyone is getting cuffed just in time for Valentine’s Day. If you’re stressed about making plans for the evening, look no further than your equally single friends for a fun night! It may be tempting to glare at annoyingly cute couples in the Yard, but first try these ideas for the perfect platonic day.

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Go out for Brunch

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Sadly, it isn’t Sunday everyday, so HUDS’s iconic Sunday brunch is out of the question. Dress up with your friends and head to an aesthetic cafe like L.A. Burdick’s or Pamplona to take cute pictures and enjoy some pastries and coffee to get you through the day. Alternatively, make some homemade mimosas (virgin, of course) and bring some in a bottle to the Berg. Whatever works.

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Spa Day

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Treat yo’ self to some self-care, because hey, if you can find self-love, romantic love is right around the corner. Bundle up in some fluffy robes with your friends and light some scented candles to set the atmosphere (but don’t tell Yard Ops). If you’re looking for the perfect sappy rom-com, check out “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” or “Set It Up” for an evening of laughs. Fruity face masks and wine (21-plus to drink!) perfectly complement each other, and can also guarantee a fun and wholesome night with your friends.

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Chopped

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While couples are dining on fine Valentine’s Day entrees, unleash your inner Gordon Ramsay and spend the night watching “Chopped” with your friends. Buy a mix of stock ingredients and crazy ingredients and compete to see who can best incorporate the wildest foods in their entree dishes. Flyby challenges you to use Boom Chicka Pop Kettle Corn, Sour Cream and Onion Pringles, Cheerios, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (some of our personal favorites). Time starts now!

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Explore the City

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Do what you’ve been planning since freshman year and take the T into Boston. Get into the romantic spirit by attending a drag event at the Museum of Science. Afterwards, eat your way through Boston’s iconic North End, stuffing yourself with delicious pasta and cannolis from the authentic Italian restaurants. Maybe even check out Seaport’s Winter Village, a snowy extravaganza complete with freshly baked waffles and a skating rink ($5 per person).

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If you have a good squad of friends, it turns out you don’t need a romantic partner to have fun on Valentine’s Day. That being said, if you’re still aching for a significant other, Tinder is always an option — just don’t go on any dates with your TF.

', [])

Shopping on a Budget: Valentine’s Day at CVS

('

{shortcode-bb667a077fa8ad9b25cc42c7b05c9e66562c5037} Whether this is your first year spending Valentine’s Day at college or you’re a Harvard Square budget shopping veteran, it can get tough thinking of new gift ideas for your SO on Cupid’s Day. So, when all hope seems lost, fear not! Keep reading for some fail-safe items to throw on to your CVS shopping list that are sure to touch your loved one’s heart.

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{shortcode-f7dbddfef89c160d0d3bd318cdb653e41d7ff651}

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Classic Chocolates, $1.99 to $15.99

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You can never go wrong with a classic box of chocolates, as seen in this floor-to-ceiling wall display CVS always keeps stocked with goodies related to the latest holiday. Items include $1.99 single chocolate hearts, $4.49 Hershey chocolate hearts, $5.29 Lindor chocolates, and $6.99 mini Reese’s Cups. Some even include mini teddy bears, making for a perfect two-in-one gift!

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{shortcode-0607d3df736ee7b95a08f591dba3a0c846bd1c62}

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Takis, $3.99

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Spice up your Valentine’s Day with a *fuego* steal from the snack aisle. Snag a bag of Takis for $3.99 and play a rom-com to make for a cute night in with your boo. Warning: If you don’t attach a cute and punny love note saying something along the lines of “You fire up my heart” or “Taki dirty to me,” you are setting yourself up for failure this Valentine’s Day weekend. Trust us on this one.

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{shortcode-dd36b6d6c34b96f62dacf37659dc3c181aa775e6}

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Fun Socks, $3.99 each (3 for $10)

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Have you ever wanted to try that matching couple outfit thing but didn’t know where to get started? Well, CVS has got you covered. Tucked away in the corner on the second floor is this beautiful stand of printed socks for $3.99 a pair, featuring sushi, avocado, cats, and Rosé puns galore. If you’re stocking up for a fun Galentine’s night in, these socks also come at a bargain price of 3 for $10.

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{shortcode-108289079c1be410c90be6661978cc0ca238332c}

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Tide Pods, $7.29

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Let’s be honest, nothing says “I love you” to a broke college student like “I got you this bag of Tide Pods.” Keep your Valentine’s Day gifts practical this year with a $7.29 bag of Tide Pods, something which even the pickiest of us are sure to appreciate and actually use. (Also, can we talk about the fact that the Tide Pods are on a shelf behind a literal locked plastic case? Unbelievable.)

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{shortcode-a00b40b1b8f18fd853770d2face1d8a11bc1746f}

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Toastmaster, $18.29

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Is this Toastmaster HSA approved? Who knows. However, for $18.29 apiece, why not start off your Valentine’s Day weekend on the wild side with this potentially felonious purchase? Grab one of these Toastmasters from the first floor home section and invest in many more dangerously home cooked breakfasts of Eggo waffles with your loved one.

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{shortcode-61e43dc0616e9b9281e0397a254b0493f489fc2a}

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Compact or Neck + Shoulder Shiatsu Massager, $79.99 to $89.99

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If you’re really looking to splurge this Valentine’s season, you can get one of these Compact or Neck & Shoulder Shiatsu Massagers ranging from $79.99 to $89.99 on the second floor. While we aren’t too certain how good these are, that price range sure seems like you’re investing in what is likely to be the “best night of your life.” At the very least, you can make sure your SO is well-rested and knot-free as classes begin to pick up speed.

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Who says being short on cash means you have to skimp on meaningful gifts for the ones you love this Valentine’s Day? Even if the Harvard Square CVS doesn’t do the trick for you, treating them to a Boardplus meal or providing a week’s worth of printing shows just as much love in a cost-effective way as a CVS splurge does. Happy shopping, lovebirds!

', [, , , , , , ])

Valentine’s Day Events Around Campus

('

{shortcode-4b285542dfb6467588dcc56b9f03a6103fdf8eed} Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and along with it comes the annual stress of figuring out how you’ll spend it. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date or just a platonic night with pals, there are plenty of student organizations on campus who are here to help. For a Valentine’s Day adventure without venturing *too* far from campus (and without breaking the bank), these are the perfect events for you!

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Valentine’s HeARTS & Crafts

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Still running behind on that perfect Valentine’s Day gift for someone special? The Harvard Studio Art Society has you covered! Come by Ticknor Lounge on February 13th from 8-10 p.m. to get those creative juices flowing while also enjoying drinks and desserts.

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Valentine’s Day Salsa

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Valentine’s Day is a great chance to try something new with a friend or a date, and this beginner-friendly salsa class is the perfect opportunity to pick up some new dance moves! The Harvard Ballroom Dance Team will be hosting salsa classes in the Mount Auburn Room of the Smith Campus Center from 8-9 p.m. on both February 13th and 14th (perfect for Galentine’s OR Valentine’s Day!). Pricing is $5 for undergrads, and no experience or partner is necessary.

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Sweeney Todd Screening

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Does watching Johnny Depp as a “Demon Barber” sound like your idea of the perfect romantic movie night? If you answered yes, check out the Lowell House Opera’s screening of Sweeney Todd on February 14th at 6 p.m. in the Lowell Screening Room. There will be plenty of snacks and it’s a great chance to build some excitement for their upcoming spring show!

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Let’s HURC Up

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The Harvard Undergraduate Robotics Club is hosting their first social of the semester, and it’s sure to be a lot of (romantic) fun! Come by Adams Senior Common Room on February 15th from 9 p.m.-12 a.m. for Thai food, boba, and Valentine’s Day-themed treats. Be sure to find a significant other, friend, or a random person off the street to enter the couples game show at 10 p.m.!

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean a fancy dinner for two or a night spent crying into a box of chocolates while watching Netflix. Check out all that our campus has to offer, and get ready for the best Valentine’s Day yet!

', [])

Flyby Tries: Being Vegan for a Week at HUDS

('

\u200b\u200b\u200b\u200b\u200b\u200b{shortcode-c2913e88f2716e99cd25eee7d159c6452dc72a95}Ellen: Hi, I’m Ellen and I love chicken. My vegan friends have been bemoaning my chicken addiction, and to their delight, I’ve been shifting to a more flexitarian diet. However, I wondered what it would be like to completely cut out meat and dairy, especially at HUDS where finding vegan options seemed difficult. I wanted to understand the difference in meal accessibility for meat-eaters and for vegans.

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Janani: Hi, I’m Janani and I love salad. I’ve been vegan for a while, and it’s not always easy in the d-hall. When Ellen decided to go vegan, in true solidarity, I decided to help her look for HUDS hacks.

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Days 1-2

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Ellen: Like anyone else who has ever had a New Year’s resolution, I started out excited to try out egg substitutes at Berg breakfast. As an avid egg lover, I was most worried about vegan “eggs,” but HUDS delivered. I ended up pleasantly surprised, and even found myself enjoying the “eggs” after dousing them in Sriracha sauce.

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Lunch and dinner the first day were surprisingly simple: I made a beeline to the vegan corner at Berg. Some of the entrées were completely different from the meat options, and I tried a lot of new foods, including seitan and falafel.

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Day 2 dinner was when my willpower suffered. The free food event I attended boasted thick slices of pizza, covered in delicious, dairy-filled cheese and shredded chicken. It was tough, but I managed to stay true to the challenge and munched on vegan pizza squares.

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Days 3-4

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Janani: The third day of something new is always rough, and the not-so-vegan HUDS dessert was definitely tempting — Mississippi mud squares, anybody? Ellen was craving chicken, and, I’m not going to lie, I was too. We were basically eating beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But we stayed strong.

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I introduced Ellen to Berg’s prized possession: the almond milk dispenser. No more having to give up coffee or cereal when you can drink all the almond milk you want. (Ellen tried the oat milk too, but it’s honestly a bit too watery.)

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Days 5-7

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Janani: It was the fifth day that we both experimented with the HUDS vegan muffins. Turns out, these are an absolute gift from the universe, aka the HUDS workers in Annenberg. It is a big shame the upperclassmen Houses don’t have vegan muffins because they are now the best part of our days. Sadly, HUDS only makes one batch of vegan muffins every day, so if you want to be a happy vegan, you have to wake up early.

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Ellen: The last days were tough, but certainly much easier than before. Being vegan felt more natural, and I found myself going to the plant-based bar out of habit. The Square has a surprising number of vegan options, and on the last day, I treated myself to a Beyond Burger from Veggie Grill — an absolute delight!

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Final thoughts from the Vegan: Honestly, I learned a lot this week, and I am a little sad about being a lonely vegan again tomorrow. It was really fun to have someone to vent to/appreciate the ups and downs of being vegan with, and I’m going to work on getting my other friends to try veganism too.

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Final thoughts from the Non-Vegan: I really enjoyed being vegan! I learned so much about the plant-based diet from Janani, like possible protein sources (go seitan?) and the secret gem of HUDS: vegan muffins. The hardest part was not staying vegan at HUDS, but at the campus events stocked with loads of non-vegan treats like Insomnia and cheesy snacks. Something else surprising: my skin glowed after cutting out dairy, which was a definite bonus along with the environmental benefits of veganism.

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I don’t know if I could do this full time, but I’m realizing that more and more restaurants and eating services are changing to accommodate plant-based diets, making veganism far more accessible. I never thought I would say this, but as a result of my lovely friend Janani and this experience, I’ve decided to go vegan four times a week — leaving just enough time to keep my chicken addiction satisfied.

', [])

What to do When Harvard IT is Down

('

{shortcode-e800d41e5c2ee63b534333e09002f670a0115e06}Shopping week has come to a close and you should no longer be dependent on my.harvard, unless you’re starting to realize you signed up for 60 hours of work a week and are frantically searching for easier classes. Whether this is your current situation or you’re already bracing yourself to game the system next semester, here are some useful tips to deal with this perennial problem.

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Take Deep Breaths

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Inhale. Exhale. Take a moment to process your annoyance. Remember, you don’t have to send an angry email which will be read by an employee who’s not at fault — but we didn’t say you shouldn’t draft an emotional social media post. Make sure you check that your device is connected to WiFi or an ethernet cable before acting rashly.

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Phone a Friend

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Ask your friends if they are experiencing similar problems or if they know when a GenEd or a gem is meeting. It is also a good idea to check the HUIT website in case there are any scheduled site repairs. If this is to no avail, it might be worth refreshing the site every 10 minutes instead of every 10 seconds. Your time is valuable.

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Pretend Like Internet Doesn’t Exist

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If it seems like you’ll just have to wait it out, reflect on anything you could have done to prevent technical difficulties in the first place. Before school starts, download the Course Catalog PDF so you can peruse classes offline. Make a mental note to check class locations days, weeks, or, preferably, months in advance of the start of term instead of the night before.

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Take the HUIT784 Shuttle down to HQ

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This is the part when you step into the shoes of your favorite literary rebel and storm the fortress: HUIT headquarters at 784 Memorial Drive. Gather your fellow comrades and head to Lamont to catch the HUIT shuttle (or march down the Charles in case the shuttle is down too). In the case of bureaucratic hurdles or a simple loss in resolve, hop on over to Trader Joe’s and treat yourself to some comfort snacks. You deserve it after all you have been through.

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Sites crash sometimes and it’s frustrating. Luckily, you can beat the system, and chances are you won’t have to look far for a sympathetic ear.

', [])

Dude That's Rude: Gym Etiquette

('

{shortcode-812aecac9648f968568ecc1db946b9098ac434e1}Walking through the doors of the MAC and Hemenway can feel empowering and welcoming. “Empowering” in the sense that you can head back to your room after your “workout” (aka snapchatting mirror selfies in your workout clothing), and “welcoming” in the sense that these two gyms are sure to embrace you by enveloping your body in sweaty air — a literal warm hug. But sometimes, or most of the time, if we’re being real, our experiences at the MAC and Hem can feel like a battle with fellow gym-goers over the limited space and few machines. It’s like you need to build up strength and endurance to go in the first place. So, to make the gym experience more enjoyable for us all, let’s stick to the following guidelines:

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1. Recognize that there’s limited space. Yes, maybe at home your gym allows for you to sprawl out and even make your own obstacle course, but that is a luxury that doesn’t exist within the walls of the MAC or Hem. So instead of monopolizing the 10-square-feet designated for 50 people, go grab a mat like everybody else and stay in your lane.

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2. Sharing is caring. And if you didn’t realize, that small area for floor-work wasn’t meant for your own personal training space. If we join you in that area, don’t tell us to move over. You should.

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3. Jump rope with caution. How is it possible that we even need to bring this up? Small spaces, lots of people, and jump ropes are a recipe for disaster.

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4. Please clean up after yourself. There are wipes and spray for a reason. Just because you might enjoy working out in the literal midst of others’ sweat does not mean that everyone else does. And also, that spray smells really good. Like grape candy. Yum.

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5. There are only three Pelotons. Having any number of Pelotons is a luxury, no doubt, so we don’t want to complain. But there are only three of them. So after you are done with your 60-minute Hip-Hop remix ride with arms and intervals, please don’t sit on the bike texting (or snapchatting...we see you taking those selfies!) because there’s a line waiting behind you.

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6. Don’t look at us while we’re doing weights. It’s awkward for us. It’s awkward for you. Don’t do it. Look away.

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7. We’re not competing. Harvard is already a pretty intense place, so let’s make the gym a competition-free zone. As mentioned above, stop looking over at that guy from math class who is doing some heavy chest pressing. You are your own competition.

', [])

Love it or Hate it: Evening Classes

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{shortcode-82006a68a921232e637d8f3ee01fbd2f8b3631cb}Love it: Night Student for the Win – Anna M. Peters

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Pulled an all-nighter the night before? Thinking about ditching your 9 a.m. because you simply have no motivation to be up that early? With class in the evening, that is something no longer worth worrying about. More importantly, you don’t have to feel guilty about starting readings the night before they’re due, or choosing to watch The Bachelor instead. This extra cushion of time gives you a guilt-free night of sleep, even when you do procrastinate. In fact, with the extra hours that you will be getting, you may finally be able to avoid every college student’s nightmare: sleep deprivation.

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Though evening classes may mean skipping dinner or falling asleep in class, you’d be lying to yourself if you denied the fact that you’re already skipping breakfast or dozing off in your morning classes. Additionally, think about how many fewer tourists there are at night. Say goodbye to waiting in human traffic and witnessing the tragedy that is eager tourists trying to get a picture touching John Harvard’s foot. Evening classes also allow for a more flexible schedule. After all, Harvard students are always on the go, and those daytime hours may be the extra time you need in order to comp a few more clubs, run a few more miles along the Charles, or actually leave the Harvard bubble and go into Boston sometime.

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Still unsure about that 6 p.m. class you signed up for? Thinking about dropping or switching to an earlier class that manages to prevent you from ever having lunch again? Think again, because evening classes truly are a blessing in disguise.

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Hate it: Early Bird Gets the Worm – Christine Lee

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We’ve all been there at some point during our college careers: eyes drooping, pencil dragging across the paper, the professor’s words going in through one ear and out the other. Those hour-and-15-minute lectures seem never-ending when your caffeine intake is running low and sleep deprivation is at an all-time high. So why in the world would you subject yourself to an evening discussion when it’s hard enough to stay awake through your 1:30 p.m. class?

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Taking a night class is basically like commiting to a serious, semester-long relationship — they force you to shift around your eating schedule, social life, and pset-cramming sessions altogether. Imagine how much more convenient it would be to finish all of your classes by 2:45 p.m., take your afternoon nap, and still have time to eat dinner before submitting a decently written essay by midni— I mean, 11:59 p.m. (*chef’s kiss*).

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Anyone who willingly ranks an evening section as their top choice for a course must have either had no other viable option or is the kind of person to actually read the entire Terms and Conditions page. Do yourself a favor and avoid night classes at all costs — otherwise, you’re just signing up for an expensive post-dinner nap two times a week at the expense of your GPA (*gasp*). Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

', [])

How to Vibe Check Your Section

('

{shortcode-eaf59255422f86c1e2a59186bd7526f5fcbef996}You’ve made it through shopping week — you lotteried, you registered. Now, it’s time for the most perilous part of the new semester: sectioning. Sure, you’ve gotten a read on your professor and the energy of lecture. But you can’t shop a section. Enter the “vibe check,” or the process of altering the vibes of a space through verbal or nonverbal signaling. Here’s how to vibe check your section.

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Set the Right Precedent with Your TF

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They’re probably a nice person. They have a life outside of section. And they also hold your grades in their hands. Give them a smile, listen to their backstory. If you can vibe with your TF, you’ll probably vibe with their section, and being nice is the best way to guarantee their support in your pursuit of good vibes. If they’re giving off bad vibes, consider switching sections.

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Chill Out

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This isn’t a job interview. Vibing is a mindful, peaceful experience, so leave the stress at the door. If you’re in a room with windows, sit somewhere with a view. If there are no windows, consider bringing your SAD lamp. Nothing says vibing like great lighting AND curing your seasonal affective disorder.

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Bring the Necessities

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Pen? Check. Paper? Check. Tea? Check. EcoSystems cup stuffed with cereal? Check. Section is like grabbing a meal, except you don’t have to talk about how busy and stressed you are. Set the precedent early. If you’re in a building with a café in it (Barker Center), take a little break and go get yourself a snack. Take your time. Vibing can’t be rushed.

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Section Kid

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This is where the real vibe check comes in. When they start to speak, first, remember they are your peer, they are worthy of respect, and you might be able to learn something from them. Then commence the vibe check. It could be verbal, by saying something like “while I respect your thoughts, I would appreciate some space for the words of others.” You could also just stare a foot over their head the entire time they’re talking. Vibe checked!

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Check the Whole Class

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When the room’s energy is off, and you simply can’t vibe, take direct action. If all else fails, wait for a lull, then stand up and loudly say “vibe check.” If everybody looks at you like you’re crazy, they’ve failed the vibe check. Consider sending them this article.

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It’s a new semester, it’s a new year. Ensure in 2020 that you’re surrounded with the best energy possible by vibe checking your way through your classes. And hey, if all else fails, at least you’ll still be vibing.

', [])
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