"If, for a moment, you think of your life at Harvard as an ocean voyage..."
From the moment we saw this line on page one, FlyBy knew the Advising Fortnight handbook would be a prime example of only-at-Harvard absurdity. It did not disappoint.
The packet, whose theme is "Chart Your Own Course," appears to have been designed by the guy who did the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Also, like most aspects of "the Fortnight," it seems like way too much money was spent on branding and not enough on substance (we have a wiki now! Web 2.0 ftw!).
For starters, the name of the program—was there too much good stuff for a week? Too little for a month? Or were they just looking for the most pompous title possible? Flyby is pretty sure the word "fortnight" went out of style once it started taking less than that amount of time to get from Independence, Missouri to Oregon's Willamette Valley.
More absurdity after the jump...
"Chart Your Own Course" takes the heady language to a new level:
...you know that there are an infinite number of paths you can choose to direct your ship...All of the possibilities will get you to the right destination for you, but the ports of call along the way will determine the quality of your trip.
Wow. Just wow. Where do we begin?
There are "infinite paths"? Really? We feel like even a mediocre statistician would tell you that the Harvard concentration list is, without question, finite.
Also, we're not so sure that all of the possibilities lead to "the right destination," metaphorically or in real life. Didn't plenty of mariners end up wrecked on the rocks? Was that the "right destination" for them? In the real world, have no Harvard undergrads ever regretted their concentration choice? In fact, if it's impossible to go wrong, what is the point of this "Fortnight" in the first place?
The worst part of the whole business is the absurd amount of money that seems to have been budgeted to this initiative over the past few years. What were the College bursars thinking? "Frisbees, t-shirts, more useless swag for Advising Fortnight—Check. Maintaining the Q Guide? Denied."
As awesome as it is to have a stack of Advising Fortnight notepads for jotting down thoughts about how ridiculous Advising Fortnight is, we think we'd prefer this money get spent on... well, practically anything. Here's what came to our heads in the span of 30 seconds:
- dining hall food
- student social events
- Q guide jobs
- OCS? Why not?
- Faculty searches
- accelerating housing renewal
- roach extermination
- commencement speakers
We know advising is important, and that it's apparently improving, but we're confident it's not the t-shirts. Promise. Now, can we have more than one written question published in the new Q Guide? Pretty please?