This emptiness triggered in me the realization that I had come to Harvard for the wrong reasons. I had fruitlessly tried to use my education to shape others’ impression of me instead of using it to enrich my own life and the lives of others. Remembering my dad, I knew his sacrifices were made for my happiness, not for me to convince others of it. I needed to let go of how others saw me and my circumstances, and had to start living for myself.
While any liberal arts curriculum prides itself on academic flexibility, what Harvard needs, paradoxically, is a more rigid curriculum that is sufficiently rigorous and challenges students to get out of their comfort zones. The purpose of a liberal arts curriculum should be to inspire students to be independent, life-long learners, and fostering independent learning requires guidance.
There is something uniquely Harvard, in fact, about turning the passive into the active. We capitalize on forgetfulness to maximize efficiency. Forgetting becomes a useful tool for neatly discarding whatever we deem unnecessary, especially the things that are hard to remember; not because we can’t recall them but because we don’t want to. We choose to forget to save more time to be busy, and to save ourselves from dealing with whatever lies beyond an introduction.
The sheer number of students at Harvard and the College’s formal emphasis on community on campus constantly remind us that we are never alone. But sometimes, we just are alone — and there’s nothing wrong with being alone. This autumn, while the weather is still nice and the moon is still bright, go be your own best companion.
HUDS food is the great equalizer for the majority of us on campus — it picks no favorites. Regardless of if your parents are in the top one percent of income earners globally or if you come from a home with food insecurity, you are blessed with vegan creamy pasta with Beyond sausage for dinner and a blondie brownie for dessert.
The bottom line is that white writers speaking for the oppressed is not trivial. You cannot remove politics from literature and literature from its impact; literature impacts politics which dictate our material conditions, which can decide whether many of us live or die.
We stand to gain so much more from being our authentic, genuine selves. If no one else, I — the guide of the land of late-night, the girl who wrote a comedy special to Harvard as part of her application — am always here to hear your story and laugh and cry by your side from sunset to sunrise.
Local governments hire HKS alumni expecting that the MPP credential holds a certain merit. In reality, from my experience, most students come from dissimilar academic backgrounds compared to adjacent graduate programs, complete AP-level coursework, and get rubber-stamped as policy leaders for completing a program where anything below a B- is failing — and, to my knowledge, almost nobody fails. As we experience a global leadership crisis, it’s important the public not rely on Harvard’s MPP program until the school commits to higher standards of vetting and rigor.
As one of the world’s leading academic institutions, Harvard should strive not to meet expectations but exceed them. This means actively working for positive change. Demonstrating a strong commitment to creative action against climate change can bolster Harvard’s reputation as innovative and globally-minded.
The inter-connective capacity of modern technology presents us with an infinitely sprawling lawn. But how do you know? How do you know that the person you’re with is the right one? If your blissful three months of spring infatuation is worth sitting on the bench all summer?
America is a democracy; its citizens are therefore morally complicit when they know of crimes and atrocities committed by their government and army and nevertheless choose to shrug their shoulders and do nothing. Americans have a duty to speak out and — more importantly — bring those who are responsible to justice. Harvard’s voice here is essential, both as a leading educational and cultural institution in the country and as the alma mater of many leading figures in current and recent administrations.
Dorm Crew provided a much-needed avenue for students to work on their own time and earn money without interrupting their school schedules — a rare opportunity on campus. To quietly cancel it without enough consultation from the students involved is shortsighted and duplicitous.
The real value of Harvard is being surrounded by people who push you to your limits, who help you realize how much you don’t know, and who inspire you to see how much potential there is in the world for you. It sounds cheesy, but you realize how important Harvard’s environment is once you find yourself exploring the law libraries, starting podcasts, and writing books, all because of the motivation given to you by your peers.
At some point, the University must take more of a responsibility for the spread of Covid-19. Before asking students to give up important parts of their college experience again, administrators should ask themselves what more they can do to stop the spread without compromising student life.
While I still acknowledge how privileged I am to attend this institution, I cannot ignore its flaws. It is my responsibility as a member of the Harvard community to acknowledge its shortfalls. To continue to speak up and use my voice. To admit that, today, I can see the cracks within your perfect exterior.
With Radcliffe College, once Harvard’s sister school, gone, the institute remains the sole institutional flag-bearer of a name that still represents, for a great many, the long and continuing struggle for parity. The rebranding is particularly baffling — and galling — because the wound has been self-inflicted, imposed by the institute itself. At a stroke, it diminishes the legacy of women’s history at Harvard, hard-fought since the late 19th century.
Had the effort ever lapsed in the face of official scorn, Harvard would still be in league with Exxon, trying to make a little more money off the collapse of the planet. I remember most vividly Harvard Heat Week, in April of 2015. Some of those memories are uncomfortable — sleeping one night in the shrubbery outside Massachusetts Hall, and the next in the occupied alumni office.
When faced with exponential spread, any delay is almost incomprehensibly severe. And the thing being risked — the death or incapacitation of someone who may have had no choice in being here — is clearly grave. In comparison, the potential harm of not releasing such criteria — the whiplash of being suddenly sent home — seems utterly unimportant.
If we speak up, we will restore shopping week. Administrators might call our concerns “unnecessary” but our professors will make the final decision on shopping week and their opinions may still be undecided. That means that we can change minds, and the outcome of any faculty votes, if we show our professors how much students care about shopping week.
After 9/11, we rallied around our democracy, but now a corrosive drift toward polarized politics has emerged. We must learn from 9/11 as we consider the fragility of our future. Previous generations have survived assaults on U.S. democracy because a government of the people supported it, strong institutions sustained it, and a powerful military protected it. But U.S. democracy isn’t immune. As we have seen, without a rock-solid foundation, democracy fails quickly.
Shopping week is indispensable to Harvard’s mission of providing “exposure to new ideas, new ways of understanding, and new ways of knowing,” and of propelling students to “embark on a journey of intellectual transformation.” Writing as members of different segments of the Harvard community — a current undergraduate and a graduate student teaching fellow — we wish to share our thoughts on the contributions shopping week has made to our educational experiences at Harvard, and on what the community stands to lose if this integral component of the semester is curtailed.