Surfing and Suffering: Late Night Conversations about Mental Health

In this column, one thing I have mentioned, but not emphasized enough, is the value of having conversations about mental health. So, when I suddenly remembered that I needed to write the last piece for my column while over at my friend’s house on Sunday evening, I decided to ask the guys I was with a few questions about mental health — feeling like it was an appropriate way to wrap things up. And I learned more than a few things as they answered my questions (perhaps, most notably, how a few drinks could turn them into “surfer-bros”).

Embracing Uncertainty

To increase understanding of science, then, it is necessary to acknowledge and contextualize uncertainty, not hype up or ignore it, both to the public and among scientists. We must embrace uncertainty as we continue along this endless frontier.

Vegans Have a Right to Choose, Too

There are many complicated reasons why each of us consumes the food we do. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, vegan or meatatarian, we can agree that we have the right to maintain our diets of choice. Let’s work together to make sure that everyone has that right by ensuring that the diversity of meal offerings reflects the diverse preferences of Harvard’s student body.

How Harvard Can Beat the Final Clubs At Their Own Game, Inclusively

Harvard’s proposed solution is for final clubs to have “no public parties.” This is the wrong solution. As Justice Louis D. Brandeis has famously said about speech, the remedy “to falsehoods and fallacies… is more speech, not enforced silence.” Similarly, the answer to discriminatory exclusive parties is not no parties, but more inclusive parties. Simply put, it’s time for Harvard to take parties seriously.

From Girlhood to Adulthood: Becoming a Black Woman

I can only say, the first step to becoming a Black woman, is to nurture yourself and love yourself and all aspects of your Black womanhood in whichever form it takes. The strongest river, the longest path you could ever forge is with yourself, and I will continue to do so for our future self.

Finding My Veritas in Friendship

Though I have spent thousands of words in this column enumerating Harvard’s problems, I will take now to offer it a solution: sound friendship. Change begins on an interpersonal level when we give each other the margins to express ourselves, to make mistakes, to be corrected, to correct, and ultimately, to feel safe in growing. Friends help us find our Veritas.

Making It Work

Throughout my column, I’ve set out to tell the story of meritocracy from the unique vantage point of Harvard students. I wanted to find out what it means to be successful in an economic reality that revolves around perpetual competition in a school that is the epitome of competitive. But, more importantly, I wanted to see to what extent the individuality of each student and the sum of their experiences conform to this ecosystem of endurance.

What Hillel Can Teach Us About the Need for Spaces of Refuge on Campus

Whether a one-size-fits-all multicultural center is preferable to more narrowly tailored and culturally specific spaces is a difficult question that administrators should allow students to solve — constrained by reasonable financial considerations. But the necessity of at least one such space is not debatable. And it cannot be pushed down the road any longer.

Bickering with Bok: The Pitfalls of Embracing Philanthropy

That might be the most frustrating thing about the pro-philanthropy worldview: Bok and his supporters never deny that there’s a legitimate moral debate at hand, they never reject the pitfalls of relying heavily on donations (even if they undersell the costs and overrate the benefits). They simply lack the imagination or the will to view beyond our current funding system, discarding concerning trends as “troubling” but “inevitable.”

“Okay” and “Not Okay”: The Destructive Binary of Mental Health

Perhaps, as a world, and at institutions such as this university, if the majority of people stopped considering themselves to be completely different than the minority of people with recognized mental disorders, there would be a reduction in exclusionary behavior and an increase in the empathy that reducing this stigma so desperately requires. At the same time, dismantling this binary might convince the “okay” majority to not feel as though their mental health problems are insignificant, encouraging them to seek support.

We’re Not Socialists. Let’s Say So.

If we are going to take practical steps to address the extraordinary socioeconomic inequality and environmental degradation America’s underregulated capitalist market helped produce, Americans must stop associating regulation with socialism. Unfortunately, Republicans are not going to stop utilizing this effective — albeit inaccurate — critique. At least not until Democrats do something to counter this distorted narrative.

Unblocking Our Paths: Creating Visibility for Black Transgender Women and Femmes

When expanding this conversation of Black womanhood and our survival, we cannot stop the discussion of Black trans womanhood and femmehood at death. Black trans women and femmes have materialized and imagined worlds and futures that rupture and create space for all people’s survival. Learning and centering Black trans women and femmes in the reimagining of Black womanhood is vital to liberating Black women and our femininity from oppressive structures, and allows us to define womanhood for ourselves.

How To Change the World and Have Harvard Pay For It

Harvard has a yellow brick road. If you want to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, Harvard can help you do that. You need only follow the path (of course with a lot of personal effort).

Harvard’s Free Speech Fallacy

If non-conservative faculty have attained academic truth, the value of a liberal arts education and the goal of “discovering and disseminating ideas” become defunct. Our hallowed veritas becomes a meaningless slogan. Is it any surprise that 41 percent of Harvard’s surveyed faculty feel that the University’s standing within higher education has fallen over the last decade?

What the Public Should Not Know

For this column, I’ve spoken to Nobel prize winners, bestselling authors, and bioethicists. The idea of emphasizing the scientific process has come up in almost every interview so far. Science will be paramount in future decision-making, especially as issues of the scientific future like climate change and artificial general intelligence will become increasingly tied up with humanity’s future

Making An Impression

Though every applicant is more than just a collection of letters and numbers — that thousands of high school students like myself spend endless hours obsessing over — it can be perhaps more unsettling to know some of the most intimate aspects of our identities are being judged by other human beings that may not like what they see.

Billions Left on the Table: Harvard’s Misguided Investment Strategy

Ultimately, Harvard’s current strategy may come back to donors wanting their money to feel safe and closely looked after when they write a check to the University. Just like they might make the mistake of placing their individual assets in the psychologically safe hands of an active manager, they want the University to do the same. But it is Harvard’s responsibility to do what’s financially savvy above all else. And higher returns will surely speak loudest in the end.

Self-Acceptance, and Other Consequences of a Mario Kart Wii Addiction

As difficult as it is to define what self-acceptance is, or what it looks like, we can’t ignore it. Unless we totally reject who we are, we must possess it to some extent. I know it sounds paradoxical, but I don’t believe self-acceptance necessitates complacency — such comfort with your flaws and weaknesses that you resist change. Otherwise, self-acceptance would involve never ironing-out those sixth-grade temper issues. And would involve me guiltlessly dedicating all of my time to Ubering a mustached plumber around a race track.

Mike Bloomberg: The Good Philanthropist?

But because he’s only human, Bloomberg can also be a self-interested agent, one vulnerable to flaws, excessive ambition, and stamp-your-name-on-everything narcissism.  He is a perfect example of the dangers of overly concentrated power, of how massive wealth can excessively enable the whims of a single individual.

Let’s Talk about Harvard’s Colonial Past and Present

While we can't change the past, it is our responsibility to strive towards a future where institutional outcomes match modern-day values of inclusivity, equality, and justice. We can work towards this future by listening to Indigenous students and faculty and engage in empathetic discussion about how we can collectively reflect and move forward.

Where Our Rivers Intersect: Intersections between Black and Asian American Women

Despite Black and Asian American women’s connectedness, there has been very little conversation between the two groups at Harvard and beyond, even when we are both facing brutality, violence, and can assist one another during these times. By redirecting discourse to these women’s crisscrossing rivers, our words and authentic mutual support can begin to flow.

It’s Time for Harvard To Ban McKinsey, Again

Essentially, Harvard protects its students while they are on campus yet has nothing to say when the companies that they invite to campus and introduce to students later abuse those students as graduates and deeply harm society. Harvard needs a new body associated with OCS that compiles information about the social impact and workplace environment of every company that hires more than one student per year and that shares this dossier with students before they go into campus interviews.

An Argument for Argument: The Price of Conformity

Students should be held accountable for what they say. However, the problem is that Harvard has created a culture where acceptable conduct is an ever-moving target and there is little forgiveness when you miss the mark. If we truly want students who will have “enormous power” to be responsible leaders, they should feel comfortable expressing their opinions in an academic setting so that they may be corrected and refined when appropriate. Harvard’s culture of fear makes it so that students remain silent when they could be engaging in enormously meaningful conversations: conversations that could correct ignorances and future missteps.

The Paradox of Peer Review

Problematically, peer review assumes a veil of objectivity and expertise when it is an incredibly subjective process. Reviewers inevitably have overt or unconscious biases towards the institution, methods, or even individual researchers of the publication they’re reviewing. Additionally, because reviewers must have a certain level of authority in the subject, their work is often in direct competition with what’s presented in these potential publications. In some specialized fields, only a handful of researchers — and by extension, reviewers — are available, most of whom are familiar with each others’ work.

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