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July 4, 2006

-- Journal --

Summertime in Harvard Yard

By Michel Lee

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. They say that your mind is most flexible when youre young. Thats when you should learn languages, travel the world, meet new people, do all those crazy things your parents wish they could do now, and spend the summer at Harvard?

The Harvard Secondary School Program allows high school students to spend four or eight weeks on campus, giving college life a try.  For the next two months, Ill be here in Cambridge, Massachusetts, taking eight credits of courses from Harvard-affiliated professors and enjoying all that Boston has to offer.

Click Here   Harvard University

I was pleasantly surprised when I moved into Matthews Hall two Saturdays ago.  I was expecting a dark garret, but instead I opened the door to a spacious dorm with real hardwood floors, ample lighting, and a roommate who tolerates my midnight runs to Tealuxe and Ben and Jerrys. The cafeteria fare is acceptable, but who can resist bubble tea?  After some work with Lysol and the Swiffer, the room is looking pretty homey.  I like to cuddle up by the windowsill at night with Catcher in the Rye.

Previously I held a misconception that all Harvard students spent their days burrowed away in the library, but now Im finding that Im overwhelmed by the sheer number of extracurricular activities.  There are several student-run religious bodies, including an informal Seventh-Day Adventist group that meets weekly, several non-denominational groups, and Harvard Hillel (a Jewish center that includes a kosher cafeteria).  Harvard Summer School students in the secondary school program can sign up for trips to Tanglewood, Cape Cod, museums, Dartmouth, Yale, and more for a moderate fee.  Students interested in the arts might audition for the orchestra, talent show, or chorus.  Those who prefer to be an active member of the audience have a wide selection of plays, musicals, and other shows to choose from.  Intramural sports at the Malkin Athletic Center seem to be somewhat popular.  I prefer to go running with my friends in the evening by the Charles River.

Also adding to the rich atmosphere on campus is the diversity of the student body.  So far Ive met high school and college students from Finland, Mexico, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Greece, Uzbekistan, France, Korea, China, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, India, and England.  It all makes for very interesting conversations at the dinner table in Annenberg Hall.

So Ive painted a rosy picture of campus life, and gosh darn it, Im a great advocate of Harvard.  Of course, there is a darker side to spending eight weeks in school, which Ill discuss later (though Im pretty sure you can infer quite a few things just from the word school).  Ive got to run to my dorm room before I go watch the World Cup in the lecture hall upstairs.

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