To be sure, a year and a half is not very long at all in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, there are already very different threads weaving through my life than those of many of my peers and classmates. Provided nothing goes catastrophically wrong in the rest of my time here, I have already committed to a full-time job after college for a minimum of four years. (A comforting thought after taking a midterm or final.) Yet despite this post-graduation job security, there’s still a lot of competition for specialized branch service. Imagine the Infantry and Military Intelligence branches as the Goldman Sachs and McKinsey of the U.S. Army.
Regardless of some of its less-favorable outcomes, Housing Day is a day filled with color and spirit and celebration. It is perhaps one of the few days of the year where Harvard students are filled with genuine joy and happiness in the company of dear friends and comrades, and a true day of unity that excludes no one (save for those unfortunate folks whose ever-socially-conscious professors and TFs schedule a midterm that morning, and for that unfortunate blocking group that Pfoho pforgot last year).
The rule: no secular music with lyrics. I certainly wasn’t going to ask the varsity strength and conditioning coaches to turn on Gregorian chants during our rugby workouts, but any music that I chose to listen to had to follow that rule.
Who would claim otherwise? We definitely recognize instances of good and bad character. That said, how much do we really care about the roots and creation of this character? Assessing character briefly became a matter of utmost national importance (or non-importance, perhaps) in this election season, but woefully little attention is paid to the act of building character. In a society that generally prefers quantification, action items, assessment and evaluation, creating character is seen as a moving target and vague abstraction better left alone. Treating character in this way, however, is exceptionally dangerous to a self-governing society.
Around a year later, I made the mistake of logging into Facebook on the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, which was especially ill-advised after 0630 ROTC physical training at the MIT track. “I am ashamed to be an American.” “As an American, this is embarrassing.” And so forth. I was prepared to encounter anger, outrage, confusion, and grief that day, but I was not expecting to encounter what I felt was nothing short of … unpatriotic. I went about my day as incensed and hurt as some of my classmates, but for entirely different reasons.