Sunday, May 8, 2011

Harvard: The Good.

I'll try to make this less navel-gazing. Just the beginning.

I was thinking of doing this for a while, but I was finally pushed into doing it because a) my finals are all jokes, b) I think it's important, and c) I had to take a "senior reflections" survey recently. My answers were unsurprisingly positive. I know there are other people I respect who had very different experiences, so I'll switch between our perspectives to try to get the whole story. No anecdotes because why bother.

My conclusion is that it's more than worth going here. I know nothing else other than hearsay from others, but I'm glad I made the somewhat risky decision. Even if my experiences weren't all positive, and for others they were mostly bad, I think the experience is incredibly important for the rest of their development.

I'm starting with The Good to spread these out. Feel free to contribute your own experiences, contrary or not.

The Good
- The people. Networking is key for most people, especially if their interest is business or even academia. This includes networking with fellow students. Minds meeting is priceless, whether the minds be flippant or brilliant.

- The opportunities. There are few places in the world gifted enough to offer international travel at this level, chances to work with faculty that are entirely worth working with, chances to produce and be creative and have a lot of options. I worry this makes a lot of people, including myself, entitled. Some would say that we earned it, and I think most of us have to various extents. I'm reluctant to agree, but I can accept that I have earned it. I went through some shit and worked my ass off to get here. I mostly deserve financial aid and the chance to eat at the Faculty Club and go to Greece and spend my time basically doing fun, useless-in-the-real-world crap for my degree.

- The support. I know many would disagree here, but in my own experiences and those of friends, I've found the support offered by faculty, counselors, doctors, and administrators immensely helpful and loving. No anecdotes, I know, but when my father died and I was utterly lost and worried about the implications for my academics, I was nursed and carried along by some wonderful people who had no need to do so. They just did. They didn't do it through email or put me on a shelf to work on a host of other things they do in addition to helping people. Even when the crises weren't real crises, and when I was reluctant and scared to ask for help, I was supported. They don't judge or act dispassionate unless you want and need it. They are doing exactly the right work they should and I wish more people like that existed in the places the people I love who are hurting are.

- The flexibility. Yes, it exists. If you can't find classes worth taking...a major you care about...the room to think for yourself and be creative...the chance to make the most or the least of the overwhelming opportunities you're offered...then you need to open your eyes or listen to your friends and advisors. Sorry if that's a bit harsh but I really, really believe it. Compare what you're getting to what your friends back home are getting. It's not fair at all. Take advantage of it so that you can hopefully give back to other people who deserve the same and more.

That's enough for now. I'm doing the positive now because I'm in an ungodly good mood. MOOD INSTABILITY COMES IN HANDY, Y'ALL. I'll try to dispassionately do The Bad and The Ugly today and post them when I'm in a worse mood. But I want to write now because my fingers are restless and fuck if I'm working more on the study sheets that I am the ONLY PERSON CONTRIBUTING TO FUUUU.

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