It was my very first Thanksgiving away from home. Instead of family and my aunt’s savory turkey, it was my roommates and a d-hall Thanksgiving meal — I was stuck in Boston for the weekend. But the worst part of that dinner was missing it entirely: we misread the emails and showed up too late. And by the time we made the bold move to have Thanksgiving dinner at the Hong Kong, a formidably fast fast-food takeout joint, I was in an Uber, racing to the suburbs of Boston to pick up my shift as a server for an affluent family’s Thanksgiving. I missed Thanksgiving dinner back home, at Harvard, and even at the Kong. My Thanksgiving dinner at 10 p.m. consisted of a handful of breath mints and half a family-sized bag of Funyuns.
Imagine you are the conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Your musicians switch up their instruments at will, and they come and go throughout the piece. Can you create a beautiful performance out of this cacophony? You’re going to need a really big baton.
The world is noisy. As students, we are tasked with juggling classes, extracurriculars, friends, family, a crumbling political landscape, and questions of our future — all at the same time. For every item worth our attention, there seem to be ten tantalizing pieces of junk that seek to win over our focus. How do we differentiate the two? And even when we can, how do we pick the right important items to focus our time and energy on?
It’s fall 2017 — my first semester at Harvard. Having never touched the world of tech entrepreneurship, and seeing the startup scene at the Harvard Innovation Labs, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and MassChallenge, I was itching to try my hand at running a venture.
It’s one of those things you don’t notice until you start looking for it, and when you see it, it will make you sick. Every minor inconvenience, every ephemeral bout of frustration, adds up to a cumulative suffering. Clearly, this is the true source of undergraduate dissatisfaction with campus life. Don’t believe me?