« on: March 20, 2007, 11:23:53 AM »
So I think this weekend was fairly representative of the Harvard experience as a whole. The school is huge and thus offers you the opportunity to do whatever it is you're interested in and find your own niche. (As Dean Kagan said, you can make a big school small, but you can't make a small school big.) In the same way, I felt the ASW was whatever you decided to make of it. I don't know how my experience compares to that of others, but here we go.
Short version: While some people were stranded in airports, watching Legally Blonde, or going on tours of Boston, I was out drinking. There was a social hour I barely remember and a very sobering negotiations workshop. Afterwards, a small group of us hit up the Cambridge bars and an undergrad party.
Long version: SCAP's flight was only delayed 20 minutes, so our plan to spend all of St. Paddy's Day drinking was in full effect. We spent two hours at an Irish bar by South Station, then headed over to the law school. Johnny Cochran (the non-dead one) happened to be on the same T as us and joined in on the flask-swigging action.
The next several hours were for self-guided tours (or watching Legally Blonde if you're one of the 6 guys and 0 girls who decided to go that route), so we got together with a bunch of people to go on a tour of the Sam Adams Brewery. Since we arrived a bit early, we decided to kill time by going to a local bar. The tour itself was nothing too extraordinary--it was free but didn't offer too much beer. Also, apparently you're not supposed to eat the hops. Whoops.
After killing some more time afterwards at the bar, we headed back for the HLS social hour, which much to my chagrin did not have alcohol (+2 points for Columbia). This was the first of several events at which I met people and completely forgot doing so, only to introduce myself to them again the next day. This hour is basically a blur in my mind, but I don't think there was anything that really stood out during it.
The next activity was a negotiations workshop that involved getting into a group and deciding which 3 of 7 people dying to save (hypothetically, obviously) and then discussing the results ad nauseum. I'm really not sure what this was supposed to accomplish or why it was part of the program after the social hour.
A bunch of us dropped off our stuff, checked into hotel rooms, and hit the bars. Nothing too eventful there. Good people, good conversations, some hilarious details I unfortunately can't share in a public forum. After that, we went to an undergrad party in the Yard and relived our vigorous youth with some games of 'ruit.
Short version: Panels are the devil. Professors say interesting things. Dean Kagan is mad chill. HLCentral keeps it rockin.
Long version: We started off with a very nice complementary brunch in Hark and got to sit around and bull for a couple hours. Then came a student life panel, which was dedicated solely to convincing us that Harvard kids are not antisocial monstrosities and actually do interact with other human beings over the course of a day.
The next panel (public interest) was guaranteed to be an exercise in putting the audience to sleep, so a couple of us got out of there and just chilled at the Hark instead. Afterwards, we had a choice of professors to listen to while they discussed topics they were interested in. I attended Palfrey's and Goldsmith's and found both to be extremely interesting and engaging.
Next came the Dean Kagan Q&A. She was very friendly and seemed to really care about the issues we raised while providing witty answers for any questions certain clowns (me) felt the need to ask. Also, as she and many others we heard from made clear, the past several years have seen a great deal of positive change at Harvard, especially with respect to tailoring it to the needs of the students, rather than the old practice of throwing underachievers in a bottomless pit of darkness.
The rest of the evening/night was probably the best example of the "make your own niche" mentality I mentioned earlier. There was a student organization fair followed by a dinner hosted by whatever organization struck your fancy (or offered you the most free alcohol). I went with HLCentral, essentially the group that throws parties, to John Harvard's, which was a jolly good time and mostly a pregame for a party they were hosting at Kong. I was there the whole time and was actually a bit surprised that the promise of free drinks and scorpion bowls only drew about 40 of the 200 admits over the course of the night. But I guess to each his own.
After being outraged that the place closed at 1am, and not realizing that it was in fact a Sunday night, we headed back.
Short version: Did I mention I hate panels? This day was generally pretty uneventful and could be skipped. Lunch with faculty was decent but nothing special, and the mock class was probably the highlight.
Long version: Weak and early continental breakfast to start off the day. I finally got a campus tour but still haven't seen the dorms, which I definitely wouldn't live in anyway since I'm a master chef and need my kitchen.
This was followed by panels or classes. Too lazy to attend class, a few of us went to the career services panel. After about two minutes, it was clear that Harvard's career services office is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. The rest of the time was spent droning on and on about just how awesome it is. We left before questions and vowed to never attend another panel.
Lunch with faculty. Another little speech by Dean Kagan patting us all on the back and telling us how awesome we all are and will continue to be. Intellectual titans, captains of industry, etc.
Next was a mock class with Dersh. I actually did my reading this time (sorry Columbia) but still managed to be a complete slacker and forgot all my materials. Fortunately, I sat down next to a girl I knew and since I had absolutely nothing with me (nametag, bag, etc), I'm pretty sure Dersh just thought I was her "guest" and didn't call on me. Score one for the good guys.
We then went into a grandiose room to hear Toby tell us goodbye. And that is all. If you have questions about anything, I'm here for ya.
One last thing--I really did not meet too many people I didn't like. Some of this could've been self-selection related to the people I talked to and the events I attended and I feel like half the people I hung out with are ending up at Yale anyway, but whatever. Everyone from LSD was definitely chill (forthefunofit, kenny32, szerena + her friend whose LSD name I don't remember, dasharashi, obviously SCAP). I'm sure I met a couple more without realizing it, so let me know about that too.