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Saturday, February 13, 2016

#NewYear #NewUs

Happy New Year! I hope your winter breaks were full of fun, family, and most importantly - sleep! While you all were busy stuffing your faces with food that's only so heartbreakingly good because it's not HUDS, the Havard Shop was hard at work building a new shop for 2016!

Located at the Garage right next to the haven of undescribably amazing yet painfully unnecessary bath items that is Lush, the new Harvard Shop is now open and ready to keep both you and your ego warm as winter temperatures start to dip below zero this season.

Arms feeling like they're going to fall off while you wait for the infernally late shuttle at the Widener stop? Layer up with one of these comfy sweatshirts!

Backpack not cutting it? Need a fashionable way to hold all of your books and subtly represent every New England stereotype ever at the same time? Rock this stylish Vineyard Vines x Crimson Collection Tote (way better than Yeezy x Adidas, trust me).

Don't see enough of Harvard even though you're on this campus 24/7 from Fall to Spring (though spring has a very loose meaning here)? Get this book of Harvard snapshots, Life in Crimson, and place it on the nearest empty coffee table! #classy #coffeetablebooks #stilldontreallyunderstandthem

 Still don't have a bae after Valentine's Day? This Harvard Shop has got you covered with its adorable plushie animal collection, modeled by Sales Associate Gianna Cacciatore!

Stay warm, stay safe, and be sure to visit the new Harvard Shop soon!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Great Technological Meltdown of 2015: A Story of Struggle, Redepmption, Altruism and the Resilience of the Human Spirit, pt. 2 (Told in Three Haikus))

To my Computer

Saturday evening.
Friend, you have forsaken me,
As dark turns to light.

Seven and a half -
The hours you refused to work.
Why does this happen?

My last resort, my last hope --
Please last a few more days.

The Great Technological Meltdown of 2015: A Story of Struggle, Redepmption, Altruism and the Resilience of the Human Spirit, pt. 1

It was like any other Wednesday evening after Thanksgiving break; pervasive melancholy at the thought that the rich, beautiful home-made macaroni and cheese that so brightens my life and captures my spririt is unattainable once again until next year. In a desperate attempt to keep this soul-crushing knowledge at bay, I immersed myself in phone-based social media, propagating hilarious Instagram memes and sarcastic Snapchats. Everything was going swimmingly; I was laughing, my friends were roasting me -- I really thought eveyrthing was going to be fine, that Thursday (the last day of class) would end my semester on a high note, that reading period was going to be off to a good start...
How naive I was.
Suddenly, an ordinary night turned extraordinary when my iPhone threw itself into water, not even fully submerging as I saved it under two seconds from a watery death. I tried to convince myself that my phone, my technological arm, was barely harmed, and bravely continued to utilize my phone. I backed up the device just in case, to my downfall. 

The phone started to glitch -- at first just some small water spots in the bottom right-hand corner, however as time passed on and as I frantically waited for the back-up to finish, the water spread across the bottom half of the phone. I couldn't bear to look at my phone while it struggled to backup to iTunes and Photos, thus, I traveled downstairs to the Currier dining hall. My friends, sensing something wrong, asked me the matter, and I painted for them my plight. Rice, they asked me, did I have rice? Rice....I thought...rice! I had forgotten about rice and its propensity for solvnig water-based phone incidents! A solution...except for the fact that I did not randomly possess dry bags of rice in my room. I sent a frantic email over the Currier mail list to see if by chance some other student happened to be a rice afficianado and had some of the grain to spare. Despite myriad expressions of condolences and expressions of solidarity, the emailed responses contained no solution to my plight. 

I returned to my room to see that though my phone had finished backing up, it seemed as though it would not survive much longer. I unplugged my phone and turned it off only for it to turn on by itself and blink at me as though it were saying good bye. Not on my watch! It was 1 am -- the prime time, as any student knows, for productivity and solution-finding! I convinced an unlucky friend of mine to join me in my quest for rice, and we set off for Starmarket in the dead of night, nothing but our courage and the stars above to keep us company.

I return to my room with a bag of organic jasmine rice in hand and a strong hope in my heart. 48 hours, Google told me -- I just needed to keep my phone in rice for 48 hours and all will be well.

Never mind that most Google results mandated immediate shut-off of the phone's power and instant immersion of the phone into rice whereas I had backed up my data for an hour after its swim...

Denial is a powerful thing.

The next day I am late to my class on Divinity Avenue; I woke up late due to dealing all night with my phone and finishing the rest of my work only to miss the shuttle. I decide running to class will be quicker than waiting for the next shuttle to come, and decide to try a new, quicker way to Divinity Avenue from the Quad about which my friend had told me. 

I end up lost somewhere in Porter Square-- no phone, and no map because computers are useless without wifi. I wander around aimlessly and contemplate returning to my room, but I ultimately decide I can't let these setbacks defeat me, on the last day of class no less! Thus, I somehow meander onto Oxford Street and I am back in business (albeit thirty minutes late).

This same day, this wonderful, beautiful Thursday, was absolutely glorious... I had two interviews back to back and then later that evening was one of the biggest events I had planned of the year. Of course one interview was in the Quad and one was on the River, and of course the Quad evening's shuttle unreliable nature reared its ugly head again, and of course I subsequently found out that one cannot order rideshare transportation such as Uber or Lyft from the computer, and of course I had to sprint from Currier to Dunster in heels. Of course my interviews ran late, of course the person I had to meet to help me with food and speakers for the event thought I was a flake and proceeded to secure the soundsystem without me, and of course I sprinted to our designated meeting-place anyway because I couldn't read my Facebook message on my computer and walk down the street at the same time.

My first not even 24-hours without a phone were going swimmingly.

Alas, when I arrived at the hard-fought 48-hour mark, it turned out everything was in vain. The phone, when pulled from its rice-y depths, maintained its stubborn black screen, refusing to show even a flicker of life despite my repeated attempts to charge it and restart it. 

No matter -- my roommate has an old, fully-functioning iPhone -- I will just use hers! 
Of course her phone is T-mobile, of course I have Verizon, and of course Verizon iPhones and T-mobile iPhones use different technologies that render them incapable of being activated on each others' platforms. Go figure.

Another person was going to give me his iPhone, but his father decided he wanted it instead.

I am on a now 12-day hiatus from mobile technology. 

I can't snapchat, I can't Uber, I can't receive calendar aletts, I can't email. People say I should feel liberated, but I can't relax.

Friends have invited me to birthday events, but I never received the texts, my non-response to their friendly invites causing them to reevaluate our friendship.
An important contact was trying to communicate with me for two days, resulting in almost another missed connection.

My computer is my lifeline, my direct conduit to scheduling meetings, messaging contacts, conducting my daily life, though I am intimately aware of its wifi Achilles heel.

Harvard students have offered me Samsungs that have no compatibility with iCloud, iPhones so old they're incompatible with new OS updates, and fine, old iPhones at prices so exorbitant that I wonder if they are really Harvard students or Apple executives in disgusie.

I'm sure this essay can be taken as commentary on millennial reliance on technology, the dangers of becoming too attached to one's mobile life, the need for humanity to return to nature, and I am happy to discuss those topics. However, as of now, I am still of the opinion that I would like to have a phone again. 

Until then, my computer should suffice, right?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Finals Season

The cold really has not set in yet in Cambridge, but finals season definitely has. In Currier, my house, our usually warm and cheery dining hall has been overtaken by a new species of Lamonster that has escaped the confines of that Harvard Yard-bound library. Empty eyes and overstuffed heads abound as withered feet shuffle lifelessly around Currier halls. That lunch that students keep saying they will catch with their friends keeps being postponed with apologies of being too busy studying, too tired from studying, or too studied from studying. The air is thick with a strange combination of both stress and apathy as students battle whether they care enough to secure that last-minute grade boost or whether they give up and eke out the bare minimum to at least stick it out until their flight back home. I myself have been curled in my bed, scrolling mindlessly through pictures from Harvard-Yale Weekend to remind myself of happier times. I love Harvard, and I think it is important to remember that the seemingly-interminable winter of finals season is but one aspect of a comprehensive Harvard experience that includes joyful times with friends and surprise visits from family. You can and will succeed!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Ugly Sweater 2.0

It's that time of year again; finals are coming whether you like it or not, cold air is seeping into dorm rooms despite Harvard's feeble heating systems, and Grandmother's lovingly-knit sweater is proudly rearing its ugly head again. For thirty-one glorious December days, baubles, rhinestones, and garish depictions of various holiday characters are completely acceptable to display in broad daylight. This year, however, holiday cheer and pop culture have combined to create a revamped ugly holiday sweater, which I like to call The Ugly Sweater 2.0. The Ugly Sweater 2.0 is not your Grandmother's sweater; it takes advantage of screen-printing technology to feature pop culture influences from Adele's hit new song "Hello" and unforgettable moments in President Obama's speeches -- even rapper 2 Chainz has joined in on the fun with his new pop culture holiday sweater fashion line.  In my humble opinion, however, the best Ugly Sweater 2.0 I have seen this season are the versions featuring musical artist  (and perhaps love of my life) Drake. Affectionately named "Holiday Bling," this sweater is a screen-printed play on his make-you-want-to-call-your-ex-while-crying-and-eating-chocolate hit song "Hotline Bling." The greatest part of the Holiday Bling Ugly Sweater 2.0 is that it has made its way to Harvard!

Harvard students and holiday sweater trend setters Amanda Fang and Margot Ssen rocking some Holiday Bling

Happy Holidays from The Harvard Shop to You!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Be There. Be Declared.

I remember coming in to college, thinking that I was going to concentrate in Government - one of the 49 fields of studies, or "majors," as Harvard calls it, in 99% of other colleges. Harvard's a little quirky and likes to set itself off of the beaten path, so we call our majors "concentrations," and I ended up finding my way to a concentration called "Social Studies." 

You're probably thinking to yourself: "Social Studies? Isn't that elementary school history...? So, do you want to become a social studies teacher?"

I get that a lot, and no, I don't think that I'll become a social studies teacher (notice the think - who knows what'll happen!). What's so great about the liberal arts education that Harvard offers and stands behind is that at the end of the day, the concentration that's listed on our diploma doesn't truly matter. Whether we graduate Economics, which year in and year out has the highest number of declarations, or Folklore & Mythology, which is notorious for having the most supportive faculty members and the fewest declared students, your field of study is just another way to hone in your interests, yet stay open to all of the incredibly interesting disciplines, thoughts, and ideas you'll find yourself at the center of at Harvard. 

This was all to say that November 12, 2015 was the official deadline for Sophomore Concentration Declaration! Congrats to all of the sophomores who proudly declared their fields of study, and are one step closer to graduating. No matter what concentration you choose, there's a crazy amount of support to help you get to where you want to go, and to become the version of yourself that you want to be, so cheers to the journey!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fresh for Freshman Year

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a creepy photo of my soon-to-be-successor, Max, on the blog. Like I said then, I'm feeling all of the warm and fuzzy feelings associated with training someone to take over your job, and reliving all of the moments - from the mess-ups, hilarious teaching moments, jokes, insiders, random encounters with tourists, and chilly sessions in between photo sets (it's no joke being a model! You get cold in between photographs). This time last year, I was learning to take my camera everywhere I went, writing my first blog posts, and feeling that leg-up as a sophomore. 

Here are just a few of the many spectacular photos that Max took (this was one of his first times with the camera - isn't he a natural?), featuring the Harvard Crush Crew Sweatshirt, Vineyard Vines Shep Shirt, Harvard Rugby Shirt, and the wildly comfortable Harvard Vintage Crew Sweatshirt.  

There are still quite a few number of trees that are illuminated with an array of yellow, orange, and bright red leaves, so the Harvard Yard is a sight to definitely check out if you're in the area. With the temperatures verging on the 70's this week, you'll catch students, tourists, and faculty alike sitting around the Yard, soaking in the sun, catching up on readings, or having a nice and needed break from the busy day-to-day.