After 21 years in my own body and mind, I know some basic things I need to function best: six to eight hours of sleep, breakfast, comfortable clothes and footwear, my prescribed meds for depression and asthma, feeling respected by my co-workers, a balance of social time and solitude, a healthy level of engagement in tasks.
Regardless of the tonal variety of the small memories I’ve accrued on-campus, I can’t say I regret any major decision I’ve made in college—the bottoms of hills on which I started have all led me to climb to better places.
Faculty opinions have made it clear that our current Gen Ed system is in radical need of improvement to meet students’ intellectual needs in our complex, changing world. As per request, we have pared students’ non-concentration requirements down to only four Gen Ed varieties, often combining old categories that are similar enough if we don’t overthink it; plus, an expository writing course and the study of a foreign language.
“You can write yourself out of anything,” I tell myself as a sort of mantra while I struggle to type up a simple, short lab report for my graduation-requirement science class, one that’s clearly designed for humanities majors but still manages to leave me with a backpack full of returned tests covered in inky red X’s.
A Culver’s in its natural environment, though, is always found in Wisconsin. On the side of any highway, framed by scrubby trees, you’re bound to spot the navy blue oval of a Culver’s sign, that beacon leading to squeaky cheese with a crispy, hot outer crust and served with cups of shamelessly fatty frozen custard.
He opened the door to reveal a tiny room cluttered with ski waxing benches, oversized duffels, rainbow clusters of racing skis, and scattered posters of Olympic skiers peeling off the stark white walls. I could tell right away that this wasn’t the latest in ski technology: this was a home.
Afternoon sunshine twinkles off the Charles River’s tiny blue waves and warms the grass on its shores. Beneath the nearby trees, students lay out on towels with their laptops and textbooks. Some people on the walking path seem hurried, others are enjoying a leisurely jog or stroll. Several, however, have stopped to read the mysterious string of poems stapled to a nearby tree.
“We should probably tell her about competitive reading,” Coughlon says to Wilson. It turns out the pair’s massive collection isn’t just a hobby—it’s a full-fledged rivalry. Both friends use the website Goodreads to track what they’ve read. Wilson explains, “I’d started in high school, and was mean to Sarah freshman year about her reading habits, and it just so happened that Goodreads instituted a Challenge Yourself book-reading competition, and so we ended up not only challenging ourselves, but each other. We both read 100 or more books [that] year.”
As the school year drudges on, the brown and grey buildings of Cambridge can often feel as confining as our stacks of midterm papers and textbooks. But spring is here, and the sporadic weather can reward us with some gorgeous days. Grab some friends and escape the confines of campus for a day trip to the Arnold Arboretum, the urban nature center maintained by both Harvard and the City of Boston.