Not all of my fellowship experiences merited a post, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of mentioning. As I start preparing to move back to the D.C. area, I’ve been thinking about some of the things in Cambridge I’ll miss and some of the small moments I won’t soon forget. Here’s an incomplete collection:
Before it started, I knew it would end. That is the cruel nature of fellowships. As soon as they start, the clock starts ticking. The end is ever-present, always approaching, taunting you from the very beginning.
It’s easy to forgot how unlike the “real” world the academic schedule is. It’s not just summer break, or the fact that campus is nearly empty on Fridays, or that every holiday is honored. There are the lenient hours, the extra breaks, and the flexible schedules. That’s not to say people don’t work hard. Just that the schedule is unlike what you find in the non-academic life. Another example: winter break. Continue reading “So Much Time, So Little Time”
At Harvard, you don’t just sign up for classes. You shop for them. Indeed, the first week of the semester is actually known as “shopping period,” where you can drop in and out of classes as wish and ask (to yourself), “Is this topic interesting?” “Is the professor engaging?” “Can I get up this early?” If the answers are yes, you sign up. No? Keep looking.
Radio pros make it seem so easy. Their voices sound confident and friendly — like a buddy telling you about his or her day. After spending a weekend learning what they’ve mastered, I’m reminded that when someone makes something looks easy, it’s usually because they’re pros, not because it really is that simple.
Life is full of paradoxes. The more afraid you are of death, the less you’ll be able to enjoy life. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. The more time you have, the less you’re able to blog.
Ok, that last one might not be true, but that’s how the past week has felt. After meeting the other fellows, our schedule has been jam-packed with activities both fun and bureaucratic.
The fun started with a tour of MIT. Like many large urban research institutions, MIT’s campus sprawls through town. Its buildings represent an eclectic assortment of brutalist, avant-garde, modern, and classic architecture styles. Continue reading “Taking It In”