The Summer I Turned…
Every summer, we all channel and manifest the same energy: this summer will be my summer. No matter how your summer went, we hope that your Harvard summer is just as ~transformative~ as your Harvard semesters. For us here at Flyby, we had it all: from MCAT grind to 9 to 5 workforce, some stayed in their hometowns while others traveled to the other side of the world. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), no one found themselves caught in a love triangle with two brothers during our yearly summer getaway to Cousins Beach (iykyk). Instead, here are a few stories from our writers as this was the summer they turned…
…bureaucratic – Tina Chen
Hopefully, one day I’ll know how to spell that word without autocorrect. This summer, I interned with the United Nations Population Fund through the Harvard Global Health Institute. I worked with the Maternal and Newborn Health Team, specifically focusing on the Campaign to End Fistula, which aims to eliminate obstetric fistula globally by 2030. Navigating the bureaucracy of the U.N. was definitely … interesting, to say the least, but this summer piqued my interest in global health and reminded me why I want to go into the medical field. It was also great to be back in my home city (NYC babyyyy) this summer. I rented an apartment with a friend, so we were living that hot girl summer life with lots of cute museum dates, fun river walks, and delicious NYC eats. With that said and to make the medical dream a reality, this Barbie’s job for the semester is MCAT.
…insufferable – Raymond Wu
After 20 years, I have finally realized my dream of becoming one of those people. Yes, one of those people who brings up their study abroad every single second and who is unable to readjust to the grueling, monotonous American lifestyle after living it up in some place that actually cares about public infrastructure. I was in Taipei, Taiwan this past summer studying Mandarin as a part of the Harvard Summer School program. I ate lots of good food, saw a lot of really cool places, and made a lot of great friends. Did I learn Mandarin? Yes, I think I improved a lot actually. Have I retained any of that knowledge? Well … what’s important is that I had fun.
…spontaneous – Alexandria T.Q. Ho
If there is one thing my globe-trotting summer taught me, it is: sometimes, it’s better to throw your planner away and go with the flow. Well, technically I didn’t throw away any planner since I used Notion religiously and cannot live without my laptop. But, for once in my life, I was okay with not planning out every single minute of my day with activities and embracing the unexpected moments of life. So what if I accidentally missed my subway stop and found myself in an unfamiliar neighborhood in Stockholm? That was simply an opportunity to explore a new cafe for fika. Our flight back to Stockholm from Reykjavík got delayed 10 hours? We got some time exploring more of the beauty of Icelandic nature then. Of course, I do miss the structure that college brings but not gonna lie, I am excited to let some spontaneity into my final year of school.
…wanderlust – Hailey E. Krasnikov
This summer I became the classic ~London School of Economics kid~ as I spent the majority of my summer exploring studying London for nine weeks. It was my first time outside of North America, so I decided to see as much of Europe as possible. From trying gelato in Italy, to eating a giant pretzel in Germany, it was an unforgettable summer.
…’90s rom-com protagonist – Eve S. Jones
Ok, no, I didn’t have any meet-cutes or start dating anyone. But otherwise, I had the classic ’90s Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall, New York City summer. I read submissions and fact-checked for a magazine in Brooklyn. I lived in Queens with two fashion students and their dopey yet charismatic boyfriends. I searched Bushwick thrift stores for ~the perfect find~ (catch me in my new/old wool coat in a few months). As I sipped a Yemeni latte and read “The Transit of Venus” in a cafe in Greenpoint, I couldn’t help but wonder … was I the main character?
…romanticist (romanticizer?) – Arezoo Ghazagh
Home! Good for a few weeks, not necessarily a couple of months — something that I did not realize when I tried to be cost-efficient and find a commutable distance internship to fill my summer. Even though I quickly got bored of my childhood bedroom and office cubicle, I eventually was able to rediscover all of the things about my little Connecticut beach town that made me miss it so much in the first place; sunset paddleboarding by the beach, late night drives with no destination, even a coffee run at the local Dunkin’. Playing the side character this summer showed me the true beauty in the mundane, and summer definitely had her redemption arc (just like Taylor and Steven in season 2 of TSITP — forget Belly, I’m team Saylor (Taeven??)).
…corporate – Hayeon “Rachel” Ok
Yes, that’s right folks. I’ve succumbed to the career path that is perhaps most frequently discussed on this campus. Finance. This summer, I discovered the beauty of a 9 to 5 workday, but didn’t necessarily enjoy the 5 to 9 because I am still a ~broke college student living at home~. Did this fuel the relentless fear that I will be forever bound by the capitalist machine that is corporate life after I graduate? Why, yes. It certainly did. But honestly, working a 9 to 5 and then not worrying about homework or office hours or psetting in the evenings or weekends was splendid, 10/10. Good luck to my premed besties! Y’all will kill it in med school, but more years of school is just not for me. #itsnotaboutwhatidoforcapitalismbutwhatitdoesforme <3
…sleepless – Kat Ravichandran
Prince said, “Time is a mind construct. It’s not real.” And I repeated those words to myself at hour 36 of being awake as I hallucinated in the S-Bahn home from my German class after working 9 hours at a startup after taking a 6 a.m. flight from Milan after having an all-nighter in the city after taking a day trip to Lake Como. As a chronic extrovert, I certainly had my trepidations about living alone in Berlin; that is, until I learned that living alone is an extrovert’s paradise. No one minds you coming home at 2 a.m. from a long day of coding (and then the obligatory after-work drinks); no one minds you practicing your German out loud at midnight (or aggressively mispronouncing Eichhörnchen); and no one minds you sleeping noon to 5 p.m. on a Saturday to execute back-to-back club escapades. Ah, Europa. Coming back to Harvard, I was worried I would lose my newfound axiom of sleeping when I’m dead, but I would like to give a very special thank you to my CompSci professors for giving me enough pset problems to last until I die <3.
…Mr. Worldwide – Abigail Mejia
This summer I studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea through the Harvard Summer School program! It was my first time traveling outside of North America and it was a little daunting to do that alone but it ended up being a really unforgettable experience. In the second half of the program, we were partnered with students from the local university we were staying at (Ewha Womans University) and we became a pretty tight knit group <3 (bonded by the hardship of the Gov course we took together). Overall, a wonderful experience, other than that time a bus driver got angry because I called him by the wrong honorific, but that’s a story for another time.
…a vigorous walker – Stephany Gutierrez
I like half of this campus spent my summer in Europe. I was studying abroad in León, Spain. But most of all, my step count was through the roof; my health app has never been prouder. Being in a walkable city was life-changing and is something I will forever miss. I truly embraced the new walker personality when I embarked on a five-day hike of more than 100 kilometers while walking the Camino of Santiago (I still do not know how I did it). I also visited Paris, Lisbon, and Rome, which were annoyingly documented on my Instagram. Overall, my summer was ~transformative~ and I met so many new friends and checked many things off my bucket list <3.
…studious – Subul Ahmad
Never back down, never what? Never give up! Friends, you must incessantly repeat these pep talks in order to persist through studying for the MCAT. I would know, because I spent my summer holed up in the library doing exactly that. Fair warning: you think that the MCAT is soooo far away and that you have all the time in the world before you have to worry about it. Then, you blink, and all of a sudden, you’re faced with conjuring up all of your knowledge of Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology. To be real, I had barely recovered from going through those weed-out premed classes. My summer may not have been that different from the regular college programming, but once I take this exam, I am going to be vibing — no thoughts, head empty — and that’s motivation enough.
There you have it folks, Flyby’s summer recap. Until next year!