Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Seven Second Semester Highlights

It’s crazy to think that second semester started all the way back in February. I don’t really think it’s flown by; I feel like I was well aware of the time as it passed, but it feels like it’s spread over so much time and so much has happened that I can’t remember it all. I really wish I could blog about each and every day of school, but seeing as I didn’t this year, I’m going to go back and recap some of the major highlights for me this semester.
7. Jet Lag

As I aimed to explicate in a past post, my trip to India this spring was refreshingly disorienting, and put my college experience in this strange sort of perspective I can’t quite explain. I sent back frequent messages to friends over the break saying that I was going to try to be more adventurous second semester, and do my best not to get sick all the time. I don’t know if I fulfilled these goals fully, but this start to the second segment of the second semester equipped me with a bit more of a “go hard” attitude. Well, at least in Ratna terms.

6. Not Being Sick

Apart from what may have been allergies, I don’t recall any long-lasting bouts of annoying Ratna sickness this semester! While this hardly seems to qualify as a “highlight,” it certainly allowed me to enjoy the second half of the year more wholly than even the first. 

5. Opportunes Spring Jam

Tuned and Toned” was the most high-energy, enjoyable performance I’ve ever been a part of. This occasion was also the first time, I think, that though I haven’t been fully satisfied with my own personal performance (solos, etc.) I was so utterly stoked to be a part of the whole that delivered a mind-blowing show that even my perfectionism couldn’t get in the way of the glow I felt after the show. 

4. Finals Period

I’m really happy with how my semester wrapped up academically. I didn’t get all As. I wrote three papers about things that I was really interested in and wanted to produce work on. I’m proudest of my final Latin paper, an analysis of a nerve-tinglingly beautiful poem written by Ovid as a missive addressed to Aeneas from Dido’s feminine perspective, which is part of a work called the Heroides that I may be interested in researching further in the future.

This semester’s reading period and finals week may have exemplified the strangest studying paradigm I’ve ever implemented. As usual, I started studying for exams and drafting papers quite far before the deadlines, but I also dropped studying to spend a beautiful amount of quality time doing random things with my amazing friends on campus. I went for a beautiful run along the Charles River with Sara and Sam. I cooked noodles for Javier and Reylon. I watched SNL with Brianna and Jordan. I chatted with Sophie and Allison. I packed with Eliza and Kirin. All the while, I churned out some decently high-level work, despite some major late-night distractions amidst my lucubration. Which brings me to my next highlight:

3. Reylon

Reylon became my best friend almost instantly upon our meeting at the beginning of the year. But his decision to take next semester off to explore the world brought a whole new dimension to our wonderful relationship: we spent many a late night telling one another our “life stories” in episodes. I feel like if I wrote down every anecdote I’ve shared with Reylon over these last few weeks about my time in middle and high school, I could have a short biography of my life. College is a very special time to meet new friends, and filling them in on the cast of characters in one’s life can be a wonderful opportunity for reflection at this important stage of one’s education. It has been extremely enjoyable and rewarding to remember with Reylon in this manner over the course of our second semester.

2. Math

Completely unexpectedly, I had a wildly enriching experience in math this year, and the Math M sequence was probably my favorite set of classes. For someone who always shies away from calculations, I felt remarkably confident and empowered with respect to calculus concepts this semester, and couldn’t have been more excited for my final exam (truly). Even more rewarding than the test itself (which was actually pretty rough) was reviewing it with my professor afterward, and having my understanding of the year’s material acknowledged. Obviously, the main contributor to this new level of comfort was my CA (course assistant) Ian, a sophomore in Adams House who is unbelievably dedicated to his students and friends. My only goal for the course was to feel more secure in my ability to grasp mathematical concepts (once and for all), and I am pleased to say that this goal was happily met.

1. Bridge Week

My favorite part of the semester actually took place after the semester was over. “Bridge Week,” the time after finals and before graduation, combined all of the beauty of Harvard’s campus with none of the stress of Harvard’s workload. I enjoyed lovely opportunities to spend “unmetered” time with my Greenough hallmates, Lowell blocking group, and the amazing Opportunes. I sit on the plane back home now basking in how awesome the end of this year has been -- I couldn’t have imagined more from my freshman year, and I am rearin’ to be back in the fall.


  1. Look at you go. Honored to be a highlight :) Let's write that book sometime.

  2. Fantastic! Thank you for keeping us all up-to-date on your many adventures, Ratna! I hope to see you soon and keep writing! :)