The great thing about Harvard is that tons of events, panels, speeches, lectures, conferences, dances, performances, plays, concerts etc. etc. go on each week. The pulse of activities on campus is crazy, but it seems like, a lot of people get caught up with their own extra curriculars and classes that they don’t get to enjoy the vivacious intellectual life on campus.
One thing I started doing last spring was to spice up each week with a random, quirky event. I went to the IOP and saw Elizabeth Edwards, learned about for-profit micro finance from the founder of a firm, and so on. Just this past week, I saw Brian Greene (astrophysicist extraordinaire) and plan to see Neal Stephenson (science fiction master mind who foresaw Second Life in 1992) this very weekend.
If you give yourself leeway in your schedule, you’ll be able to enjoy awesome events that Harvard has simply because its Harvard and end up loving your experience as an undergraduate more.
1) Harvard is awesome
We bring in presidents, prime ministers, world-renowned musicians, CEO’s etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. It’s actually pretty ridiculous. Magnify this with all the wonderful events you can go to in Cambridge, other local colleges, other Harvard schools and so on.
The magnitude is mind-blowing. While other colleges may have two or three notable speakers come to campus a month, we probably have two or three speaking each day.
The opportunity to learn and explore by these means is boundless here.
2) Harvard students — not so awesome
To be frank, Harvard students are a bit like ostriches, heads in the sand, worrying about the life of their little sandy patch day in and day out. It’s easy to focus only on your own activities and classes that you don’t get the chance to explore what Harvard has to offer.
That is a shame. There’s such much talent on campus, why wouldn’t you want to see a play written and put on by your fellow classmates who will probably be on Broadway in the next few years?
3) No excuses for the lazy or busy
If you’re so busy that you can’t take an hour out of your week to go do or see something completely random and fascinating, you have larger issues on hand.
Remember, work-life balance, not work=life balance.
4) This is what you came to Harvard for — remember?
If you like engaging your mind, you won’t regret making the time to attend that lecture by that uber special professor from Oxford. It’s one thing to go to class, quite another to hear Jeffrey Sachs himself expound upon the issue of sustainability (when just the previous day, he was on CNN talking about exactly the same thing).
Classes will always become a little grinding, and tossing in some intellectual spice will make you feel much more human, I promise. When else are you going to get so many chances to broaden your horizons?
5) It’s free!
Most of the time!
And even when the Harvard Book Store makes you pay $5, you get a $5 coupon for a book! And don’t we all love books?