Saturday, January 24, 2015

What to do during Harvard's Winter Break: Study Abroad (and fulfill your sense of wanderlust)

Time not doing homework means more time spent on Facebook, and I couldn't help but get lost in my own Parisian daydreams whilst looking through countless friends' photo albums filled with gorgeous photos detailing their incredible travels. 

The spring at Harvard is a time when most students jet-set to beautiful, foreign countries to spend their spring semester. Most students choose either their sophomore or junior spring to go abroad, but there is still a number that defy the norm and go in the fall. It's really up to the person and what they want to study. But really, a chance to live in a completely new country, meet new people...not to mention try all of the food... for a semester? Incredible!

My friend Sylvia is a Government concentrator, and is spending her spring exploring (and studying, of course!) in Paris, France. She's sharing her thoughts on her experience here!

Study abroad in Paris!
Guest post by Sylvia Marks
Harvard College, '17

The thing that struck me first in Paris was its vast metro system.  This could have had something to do with the fact that I had to take three trains with two suitcases and a backpack to get to my host family from the airport; I suppose I was pretty impressionable at that moment, physically taxed from the amount of luggage at my side, and mentally taxed from trying to not think about the fact that my seatmate on the plane had coughed on me for eight hours straight.  But in regards to the metro, I was pleasantly surprised with the ease at which one could get anywhere in Paris (and cheaply).  I’m here in Paris on Columbia’s program at Reid Hall to study political science and sociology.    I’m still in the midst of choosing my classes, but will likely end up taking two politics-oriented classes (one at the Sorbonne - like a Harvard class… but in French - oy vey), a sociology class on the city of Paris, and two mandatory seminars (one on grammar and one on academic writing).  Since the homework load has been fairly light so far, I’ve used the opportunity to go to all of the famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower (at least three times), the Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre Dame.  Getting to these places and others (like numerous bakeries to satisfy my constant hunger for pain au chocolats) has depended entirely on the functionality of the metro, which in my mind, is what makes the entire city fit together, and I am glad to have met some extremely interesting people on my program from Harvard and other schools, with whom to experience life in Paris.  I have strolled along the Seine, seen an impressive amount of churches, wandered the Louvre, complimented my meals with a glass of wine (or a baguette, or both) religiously, and smiled every day about the fact that I have the opportunity to live in Paris, France, one of the most exquisite cities in the world, for five months.  Now all I’ve got to do is learn French.

Monday, January 19, 2015

What to do during Harvard's Winter Break: The Wintership

As I've mentioned before, Harvard's infamous for giving its students a much-needed month (and some change) long winter break. This goes for the undergraduates as well as the graduate students (cue the cheers!), and speaking from experience, its hard to avoid the antsy gotta-get-some-work-done inclinations that start creeping up on us after about 2 weeks lounging at home. Travis, my friend and fellow sophomore at Harvard, is sharing a few thoughts from how he spent his winter break. 

Reflecting on PIH Engage
Guest post by Travis Yeh
Harvard College, '17

This winter, I was an intern with the Engage team of Partners in Health, a Boston-based non-profit healthcare organization. The Engage team, a lively group of five full-time employees that coordinates the grassroots community organizing arm of PIH, welcomed four of us interns for the winter.

Winternships are a great way to explore different career paths and activities outside of your usual scope. For me, working at PIH was a step into thinking about global health, a field that has recently caught my interest after we had a module on it in SW47: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Social and Economic Problems in Contemporary South Asia. A mouthful of a course name, for sure, but the course and its guest lecturers from various Harvard schools gave me a window into a lot of the problems that we face around the world today. It’s sad to realize that we have a lot of the medicine and advancements needed to address many of these issues, but there are so many barriers to distributing this care to those who need it most that they end up never receiving it.

The Engage team of Partners in Health advocates for changes in policy to solve these problems, fundraises to support the efforts, and holds events to educate others about topics in global health, such as the recent Ebola outbreak, and make tackling these challenges an approachable task. My project this winter has been to help the Engage team figure out how to measure the “strength” of each chapter and write a midyear report examining how they performed this past semester and how they can improve. As the internship is only a little over two weeks, it’s been extremely fast-paced: just over a week ago, I had no idea how Engage worked; now, my fellow Harvard intern and I have just finished the midyear report and are beginning preparations for one that outlines strategy for the upcoming term.

The work has definitely been fascinating. However, what I’ve found most valuable is the opportunity to see how Partners in Health operates from an internal perspective. There is a marked humbleness in how PIH works, driven by a quiet, but determined, resolve to give people around the world the care that they deserve. They refuse to let any obstacle stop them, and they do their work without any pomp and circumstance. It’s been an inspiring lesson in humility and tenacity.  As J-term comes to a close and we return to classes soon, I take away with me a piece of this drive and an improved understanding of how, with the help of a little willpower, we can take steps to make this world a better place.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

What do you do during a month-plus-long winter break?

The spring semester starts in just 10 days, and that means our month (plus some!) long winter break is almost over. Cue the tears.

But in all seriousness, winter break has been relaxing, but an incredibly productive time for most students. Whether we were traveling (a couple of my friends are currently backpacking around Thailand and Cambodia), working a short-term internship (a friend recently took on a project for the global health organization Partners in Health), or busy studying abroad (thinking of our friends who've started the spring semester already in the politically turbulent city of Paris), it feels like we're given this lonnnnng break to 1) take a breather and 2) buckle down and get to work.

THSB will be hosting a few guest Harvard student bloggers to share their distinct, incredible winter break experiences and excursions, so check out their stories here in the coming days!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A look through 2014

As THSB's new year's resolution, THSB will feature more exclusive posts about the Harvard student experience, life and times, pre-professional work, extracurricular life, on-campus events, and more

However, in recognizing that every new venture has roots in the past, here's a brief look at what we at THSB and the Harvard community took part in this past 2014:

Back to campus for spring semester, and back to the still snowy-wonderland that is Harvard in the winter!

The Harvard Shop featured our first "Best Dressed at Harvard" contest this past spring.
Shop the tote here

The Harvard Shop team worked hard throughout the Class of 2014 Commencement, and bid our amazing senior class farewell. 

Moments to be thankful for: laughing with Kirkland House's own Baby Jack.
Shop Jack's bowtie here

It felt like the spring semester had just ended... well, it actually just had. But summer school waits for no one!

Luckily, there were plenty of fun live events, fairs, parades, and parties to last us through the summer at Harvard Square!

Summer also gave us a chance to take a breather and take that stroll along the Charles River that writer Jorge Luis Borges famously recounted.
Shop her t-shirt here

You probably guessed it already, but we're obsessed with the babies on Harvard's campus (to say the least).
Shop his onesie here

Three months of summer break flew by in the blink of an eye... back to the books...
Shop his sweatshirt here and her zip-up here

We cheered on the Big H at the annual Harvard-Yale football game, where Harvard crushed Yale (needless to say).
Lots of layering needed in thisthis, and beanie recommended

We couldn't get enough of the gorgeous Harvard Yard during the fall (mostly because its over before we know it, and below zero temps start freezing us out). 

Happy 2015!

Cheers to a new year of new beginnings and content here on THSB!

Friday, December 26, 2014


NYC during the holidays

Christmas feels like the one day of the year when the whole world conspires to spend time with their families. Whether you're in Cambridge, where the snow is beginning to pile up, or whether you're across the country in Los Angeles, where the sun keeps the temperature at a "chilly" 69 degrees, Christmas is Christmas wherever you go. (Trust me, despite the fact that most residents of my Southern California city are wearing shorts and t-shirts, we still get in the joyful holiday mood). 

Since going away for college, I have truly begun to the value the short trips I make home, and Christmas was spent in true family fashion. I woke up and took a quick trip to the local coffee shop and woke up the house with the smell of fresh coffee. As the youngest in the family, Christmas morning has always been my favorite moment of the day, so my parents willingly (albeit a bit grumpily) came downstairs to start the gift opening festivities. 

As I've gotten older, the number of presents for me and my sister have dwindled as we've taken it upon ourselves to shower our parents with all the gifts we've found and bought throughout the year in anticipation for that year's Christmas. 

Here's a few gifts that were under our Christmas tree this 2014:

1. Matching monogrammed cups from Anthropologie (M for mom, & D for dad) 

2. A cozy new Harvard scarf & a classy Vineyard Vines collection belt for the proud Harvard Dad 

3. A hold-all wallet from Kate Spade for my mom, the accountant of the family

4. A pair of boat shoes from Sperry Top-Sider for my prepster dad

...and it was a hit!

But apart from just exchanging gifts, spending time with family and close friends this winter break has been the perfect breath of air from the busyness of life as a student. Merry Christmas, and happy holidays!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey spotting

SPOTTED: plump turkey with the namesake "Harvard Square Turkey," near Mather House

At Harvard, we're both intrigued and proud of our valiant turkey that manages to avoid any and all danger out on the streets, so we want to celebrate another Thanksgiving that has passed without our Harvard Square Turkey for dinner. 

Celebrate with us and check out The Harvard Shop for 25% off our apparel and accessories until November 30, 2014!