Day in the Life of a Dorm Crew Worker

In the quest employment here at Harvard, Dorm Crew probably rests at the bottom of any job-hunter’s list. Dorm Crew workers are either elusive like ghosts, the only record of their presence a yellow slip of paper on a mirror, or they arrive during uncomfortably… personal times. Let’s be serious though, how many of us would clean our in-suite bathrooms on our own? Exactly. Let’s take a second to appreciate those of us who show no fear towards toilets and shower drains.

12:00pm – Anotha’ day anotha’ dolla’. Dorm Crew pride. This is the most intense of all jobs on campus; Crimson Callers are pansies. Room one for the day… and it belongs to a pack of females. Perfect.

12:05pm. Is this a dorm room or the dwelling of a hoarder? Seriously it looks like the backstage area of a Broadway show in here. Dear residents, based on my observations of your primping materials, I’ll bet you’re all single. The mermaid-teal eye shadow pallet appears to be a favorite. But I’m not here to judge. Girls keep it (fairly) classy, and I appreciate not having to deal with a post-rager disaster zone, so thanks for that. One suggestion though… bi-weekly removal of hair from the shower drain is not okay. Gross.

12:55pm – Time to bounce. With a friendly notice on the now impeccably streak-free mirror, my work here is done. I am the phantom of cleanliness. CUSTODIAL PRIDE.

1:05pm – Room two. Male. I definitely just interrupted some… “self-bonding” time. Well, this is sufficiently awkward.

1:10pm – What in creation am I mopping right now? This bathroom is a petri dish of weekend excitement. Why is the bathroom serving as the storehouse for a beer funnel?! Sanitation fail and definite party attendance deterrent.

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Harvard’s Cultural Groups: Opportunities to Belong

Harvard is well known for having an incredibly diverse student body. With students from fifty states and all corners of the globe, it is difficult to paint a visual picture of a “typical” Harvard student. In accordance with the expansive ethnic diversity, the College has over 75 cultural groups.  Some are small, such as the Irish-American Society, with 1-9 members, while better known groups such as Hillel, Taiwanese Cultural Society, and Black Men’s Forum have over 100 members. Cultural groups remind minority students that though they are far from home, there are people at Harvard who look, speak, or think as they do.

Cultural groups at Harvard are often looked upon as breeding grounds for exclusivity, is if they encourage people to interact only with others of their own race. However, most students who are involved in extracurriculars at Harvard are part of more than just one club, group, or organization. Harvard students are driven, motivated, and involved people; most of us participated in many extracurriculars at our respective high schools. So why would we resign themselves to associating with only one group of people in college? I believe that the mission of Harvard’s cultural groups is not to alienate their members from the rest of the student body; it is to provide support for minorities on a student to student level within the larger Harvard community.

Cultural groups are hardly separate or disconnected entities. They regularly combine with other ethnic groups for mixers, parties, and discussions. Such groups are not looking to isolate themselves from one another, but to encourage conversation of race relations and what it means to be a minority in America, in college, and at Harvard in particular.

Ethnic groups also reach out to the Harvard community as a whole. In fact, The Chinese Students Association’s Utopia Yacht Party that took place on the Charles River last October was open to students of all races from not only Harvard, but MIT and Boston College as well. Similarly, the Taiwanese Cultural Society hosts NightMarket as a replica of a traditional Taiwanese event that is open to all Harvard Students. Coming up is Harvard’s annual powwow hosted by the Harvard University Native American Program, an event that is open to Harvard students, Native Americans from across the nation, and the general public. Whether or not students of other races choose to attend events such as these are their own decisions. When groups host such events, they publicize them to the entire school because they genuinely want students of all races to attend. The only people who make these events “culture-exclusive” and thus, awkward to attend, are those who decide that they must be.

I consider myself a minority at Harvard and I am active in my respective cultural group. We have community dinners once a week, a social every month, and mixers with other cultural groups. That said, I do not feel leashed to this group. I spend time with my blockmates, class friends, and people I have met through other groups and organizations. My ethnic group is like a little slice of home, but I have other friends too.

Overall, I think that cultural and ethnic groups are an important part of Harvard’s campus life. I have had nothing but positive experiences within my group and I still feel like a part of the larger Harvard community. We could not claim to be a diverse student body if minorities did not have opportunities to embrace and practice their heritage. The plethora of cultural groups makes the Harvard a truly extraordinary place; every student fits in somewhere on a smaller scale than within the general student body. Harvard is made up of an undeniably culturally diverse student body, so embrace this. It is what makes this university such a truly interesting place to be.

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Voice HotSpot – Café Pamplona

Most people have seen Café Pamplona in their travels across campus; they’ve rushed past it on their way to Berryline, Adams house, or Lamont. That is to say, when students mention Pamplona, it’s often as the place they’ve always meant to visit, but really never had the time for, because running to Dunkin’ Donuts is quick and easy. Too often in college, we think that all coffee is created equal; sure, there is a noticeable difference between the brown water of the dining halls, which cooks and cooks again until bitter, and the so-called “lifeblood” that we purchase from Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts each morning and call “real coffee.” When we don’t drink coffee, we often opt for tea (if not for the taste, then for the sophistication that comes with drinking “a cup of tea,” while extending one’s pinky finger in the air). In effect, they’re all the same, beverages that allow us to get through our days and pretend that we’re not exhausted zombies. I believe that when getting that caffeine fix is such an integral part of one’s life, the mundane cups of Joe should be punctuated with truly memorable experiences. You won’t find donuts or air pots of old java at Café Pamplona, but you’ll find some of the best coffee and tea in Harvard Square. Beverages are not served in Styrofoam cups with lids that never stay open, but in ceramic mugs and cast iron teapots, accompanied by tiny spoons resting on proportionally tiny plates. Café Pamplona is truly a throwback to the coffee shops of Pamplona, Spain, for which the establishment is named. In true European fashion, an espresso is small and strong and a cappuccino is smooth and creamy. If you’re not looking for a cup of energy in your visit to the establishment, don’t be deterred. They also offer fruit sodas, caffeine free teas, hot apple cider, and other beverages. And if you’re hungry, Pamplona is a fantastic alternative to any Harvard dining hall. Goat cheese and arugula sandwiches, mini pumpkin pies, soups, cakes, and tarts are sure to remind those who are fed up with standard college fare that eating should be a delicious, satisfying, and rewarding adventure. And from one vegetarian to all others on campus, I promise that Pamplona’s menu is a dream come true; no more shall we resign ourselves to salads and veggie burgers.

Delicious food and beverages aside, Café Pamplona is a hotspot for a host of other reasons, the most important being that it’s a café of all seasons. Most cafés and coffee shops provide two or three tables for outdoor sipping and dining, but if it is a nice day, chances are slim of catching a table unattended. Pamplona, however, provides ample outdoor seating so that more than just a few of their patrons can enjoy the weather along with their cold soda or other iced beverage. When pleasant breezes turn into gales and the mild temperatures take a turn for the frigid, head inside and sit at a table while sipping a hot chocolate or a latte.

What makes Pamplona really special is that it’s underground. That’s right, it’s located in the basement of 12 Bow Street, and for someone like myself who loves nothing more than feeling cozy, this is the perfect hidey hole. Low ceilings, yellow walls, and a black and white checked floor make Pamplona seem like a comfy cave; add the whirring of an espresso maker and the scent of grinding coffee beans and you’ll crave the feeling of a warm ceramic mug in your hands.

Café Pamplona is best experienced if you’re willing to spend a bit of time sitting, sipping and people watching. Known around town for its authenticity in a world of commercial chains, Pamplona is a favorite for all sorts of interesting people. Stay for more than a minute and you’ll be sure to hear more than one language spoken, see a few eclectic outfits, and remember that Harvard Square is home to some very cool people; Pamplona is intriguing, quirky, and fun. So for your next study break, don’t walk to your house’s dining hall. Explore the eccentricities of Cambridge without even leaving the Square.

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Cinematic Adventures – The Social Network

It’s no surprise that the new movie The Social Network has taken Harvard’s campus by storm. Across the internet and newspapers, its reviews and ratings are through the roof; perhaps there’s an award or two in its future? The quick wit and dry humor of Jesse Eisenberg (playing Mark Zuckerberg) keep viewers in fits of laughter while the reality of Zuckerberg’s numerous court litigations remind us that success comes with a cost. Eisenberg plays the socially awkward genius/angsty teen character to a T. He’s an eloquent smartass with a sharp tongue and no regard for authority. But despite his hard outer core, he’s still a victim of trying legal proceedings (all of the codes were his own, after all!). As he builds the site how can we not encourage its success? Let’s be real; where would we be without it? Anticipation rises and seat edges are clutched as the network expands to other schools, then to the west coast. Through the film, Eisenberg’s character transitions seamlessly from a bitter, freshly dumped nerd, to a wishful programmer, to a successful tycoon, all the while still as reticent as he was when he started the venture. Meanwhile, this transition is punctuated by Administrative Board appearances and legal testimonies, reminding viewers that it’s tough being on the top. By the end of the film, I was torn between loving Zuckerberg for changing the world at such a young age and hating him for essentially kicking his best friend to the curb. Facebook is cool. Backstabbing is not.

But like any Hollywood creation, The Social Network is just that, a creation. Movies are made to sell tickets and in today’s society, the more drama the better. As Harvard students, we are particularly sensitive to the *ahem* inaccuracies of the film. Due to Harvard’s ban against filming on campus, Eisenberg runs through Harvard Square…straight onto the campus of Johns Hopkins University. We scoffed and laughed as the camera panned upward to show a sign reading “Kirkland House” on a building that was definitely not on Harvard’s campus. We scratched our heads during the final club party scenes which were rife with scantily clad females, males sporting ties and suit jackets, and gratuitous amounts of illicit drugs. The acid tablets and lines of cocaine were balanced out very nicely by half naked gals dancing on tables. Classy image, although I’ve never seen a Harvard party play out quite like that before. What’s more, it seems to be well known around campus by now that Zuckerberg wasn’t even particularly interested in joining a final club; he was perfectly content with his status as a brother in Alpha Epsilon Pi, Harvard’s Jewish fraternity. But The Social Network is Hollywood’s creation, and a well adjusted Mark Zuckerberg simply won’t sell as many tickets as an angsty, status-hungry one will. According to an article written in Slate Magazine by Zuckerberg’s former freshman dorm-mate Nathan Heller, Zuckerberg wasn’t even the moody introvert that the film depicted him to be. In his article “You can’t Handle the Veritas: What Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher get wrong about Harvard—and Facebook,” Heller writes that during his days at Harvard, Zuckerberg was “outwardly friendly, often smiling, confident, inclined, if anything, to talk at outdoor volume.” But again, let’s be real. Happy, well-adjusted nerds who invent globe-altering technologies just aren’t box office gold.

So what’s the verdict on The Social Network? If you’re looking for a factual documentary on Facebook’s creation, keep moving. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a movie that’s worth a ten dollar ticket and a six dollar bag of popcorn, this is it. Entertainment wise, this movie is fantastic; you’ll both love and hate Eisenberg’s character, all the while praising the real Mark Zuckerberg for creating the ultimate social networking site from a college dorm room. Okay, so it’s not the most accurate film ever—but who goes to the movies to learn, anyway? Facebook’s all about the drama.

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Raven Used Book Store – A Hidden Gem in Harvard Square

At the beginning of each semester, Harvard students flock to the COOP or their Amazon shopping accounts in hopes of buying used copies of their assigned books and textbooks in order to save a few dollars. But the COOP and the internet are not the only places that one can buy books for less. Located beneath the Harvard Shop on JFK street lies a hidden gem called Raven Used Book Store. Walk down a few stairs into the basement shop and it’s immediately clear that this bookshop is no Barnes and Noble. Absent are the plush chairs and couches of most mainstream bookstores. Instead, one tired-looking, frayed brown chair with a lumpy and sun bleached red pillow stands at the end of a free-standing stack of books. Such a piece of furniture may paint the shop as ascetic and uncomfortable in one’s mind, but it is actually quite cozy and welcoming. The chair has been used, relished, and clearly sat upon many a time – it would only be fitting to read a used book while nestled in such an experienced chair.

Against an unfurnished and undecorated concrete floor and ceiling, the store’s sheer volume of books is simply impressive. They are crammed into every nook and cranny, from the ceiling to the ground, stacked horizontally and vertically; the cash register is completely hidden from view by a tall stack of novels. Volumes of literature and philosophy dominate the shelves; each of these subjects occupies an entire wall of the small store. In fact, employee Jonas Shmidt calls the philosophy volumes the “foundation” of the little shop. Rich as the shop is in Oxford Classics however, it also offers books dealing with more eclectic subjects such as Anarchism, Marxism and other social criticisms. Raven also boasts well stocked sections of volumes that critique poetry, art, and photography. Religions of the world are represented as well as stories both from and about foreign countries and distant lands. No inch of space is wasted in the shop; shelves beneath the check-out counter hold rows of foreign language references including French and other romance language translation dictionaries as well as a guide to Sanskrit Grammar. A step into Raven opens one’s eyes to strange, interesting, and often overlooked subjects.

Raven Used Books should be an oft frequented bookstore for any Harvard student or interested reader in general. Loving both literature and a good deal, I just had to purchase a copy of Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility – the price tag read six dollars. Delighted by my new purchase, I wondered if Raven is popular within the Harvard community or if I had stumbled upon a little-known treasure. Employee Jonas Schmidt says that although Raven has been housed in Harvard Square for nearly five years now, the majority of its clientele is not made up of Harvard students, but of professors and Cambridge residents. In fact, Raven’s clientele base has a “surprising lack of Harvard undergraduates,” who apparently visit it as a last resort when the COOP has run out of stock. From the perspective of another cash strapped college student, shouldn’t we visit places like Raven first for our required texts? When looking to buy, the difference between new and used is quality of condition. When we think of used books, we see cracked spines, annotated margins, and dog-eared pages. However, these blemishes and imperfections are absent from Raven’s books. The small shop purchases its merchandise from professors and graduate students, local residents, and sometimes even straight from the publishing companies, themselves. Therefore, the shop selects only books that are in good condition to buy and resell to its customers; my new copy of Sense and Sensibility has not a crack in its spine. Raven Used Books seems to be a haven for books that were once purchased, but never read.

The ever-wise Jerry Seinfeld once said that “a bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.” As college students, we are a society of curious intellectuals, always searching for new ideas, thoughts, and words. A visit to Raven Used Books might start as a mission to find a particular book, but it will certainly turn into an exploration of the small, one-room store, because it is so rich with interesting, eclectic, and intriguing works. A single glance at the shelves is bound pique a newcomer’s interest and ensure a second visit.

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Occupy Discussion

Today, one of my House tutors held his office hours not from behind his desk, but from behind the information table at Occupy Harvard.  You know what I have to say to that?

Rock on.

The Yard’s tent city has become the subject of such hot debate over the last few weeks, but for all the wrong reasons.  I’ve heard a lot of students complain about the “inconvenience” of having to show their IDs to get into the Yard, or of having to choose an open gate because their regular route of travel has been cut off. It seems that students have pushed more of their energies into finding alternate walking routes through the Yard than into thinking about why Occupy Harvard has been constructed in the first place.

Every day in class, we as students are encouraged to ask questions, challenge conventions, and think of ways in which we can change our world. This is exactly what Occupy Harvard has aimed to do; yet, it has been received by the Harvard community in an embarrassing and rather sad manner. The Occupy movement is worldwide and has opened countless opportunities for debates, panels, speakers, and education. This is a prime opportunity to discuss the situation at hand, no matter which side of the issues you’re on.

Instead, the student body has polarized between two extremes, to the point where it seems like if you’re not with Occupy Harvard, you’re expected to hate it. I’m not shocked that this movement has made its way to Harvard, but I’m pretty surprised by how it’s been dealt with by the administration.

Faced with a tent city and a sterling reputation to uphold, Harvard locked down the Yard and then sent out an email to all students describing why it all simply had to be that way. In a place where we should be encouraged to challenge and question what’s put in front of us, I think it’s pretty embarrassing that the administration would rather put a lid on the whole issue. I won’t pretend to have all of the answers to the current Occupy Harvard situation, but here’s my short list of what I think the movement could and should have led to:

  • Discussion between administrators and protesters about the issues at hand.
  • Invitations to outspoken economists, politicians, Occupy leaders etc. to visit campus and lecture on their views.
  • Panels of prominent speakers on BOTH sides of the issues to engage students in debate about what has become a global movement.
  • Collaboration between undergraduate departments (perhaps Economics and Government?) to encourage student-run debates.

Some of these things are starting to happen. Tomorrow (12/7), Science Center D will host the Occupy Harvard Teach-In, a series of 30-minute lectures from 3:30-7:30 p.m. on all things Occupy. Other small (and rather poorly publicized) Occupy events have also taken place within the last few weeks. This is a great place to start, and I think we can do even more. As students, we should be asking questions of what we see in the Yard, rather than blindly writing it off because it has caused a minor inconvenience. As a community of curious and intellectual individuals, it’s our responsibility to step it up and challenge, question, discuss, and really think about what we’re seeing in the Yard right now.

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What is Love?

Valentine’s Day. Single’s Awareness Day, if you will. For many of the singles ladies (and men) out there, the big, red holiday can seem like nothing more than an excuse to wallow self pity. But what is Valentine’s Day, really? It’s made of roses and chocolates. It’s a fancy outfit and a romantic dinner. It’s red and pink and sparkly. It’s the ultimate day of love, right?

I am not in love. I do not have a date this Valentine’s Day. I am spending the fourteenth of February in the manner that I would spend any other day. I am single, but I am not bitter. I may not be in love, but I have love. I believe that love can be found outside of exclusive relationships. It may sound trite or cliché to say that I love my friends, but there are a very few people who I value above all others. It’s not a romantic love; it’s a comfortable love. It’s supportive and reassuring. I’m confident that this love is not something that I’ve come up with to appease my single mind; I believe in it.

I know that this love is out there because I’ve received it. True story: when I overtaxed myself past the point exhaustion, a few people told me in honest and serious tones that I needed to slow down. When I became so overwhelmed that my muscles seized up on themselves and I couldn’t sleep without the help of MotrinPM, those same people stayed awake with me, although they really just wanted to go to bed. When the tears just came and I cried without reason, those people sat next to me and talked to me. They put down their school books, showed up a few minutes late to their meetings, and forewent Friday night parties in order to sit with me. Putting one’s personal agenda on hold in order to help another is love. It was friendship when people told me “it’s okay.” It was more than that when the select few gave me a conversation, gave me a hand, and gave me help.

Love is more than knowing a person; it comes when you understand a person, not because he or she predictable in nature, but because you truly comprehend his or her inner workings. Love happens when you can finish not only the other person’s sentences, but their thoughts. When two people can have a conversation without words – a conversation of glances and gestures – they have love. It’s a mutual understanding that goes beyond knowing each other’s favorite authors and subjects. When you understand how someone else forms opinions, processes information, and reaches conclusions, you have reached love. When you understand how another person acts when he or she is alone, without the influences of other people, you have reached love. So perhaps love is a certain level of understanding. It’s comfort and contentment. It’s the ability to see to a person’s core, beyond the exterior that he or she shows the rest of the world. But most importantly, it’s mutual. I do not believe in unrequited love; what most people would label as such, I would refer to as a sort of infatuation. If love is a type of understanding, then it must also be a connection. It is felt by both parties; they are joined to one another by a single thread of consciousness that is so strong, neither person feels as if they are working in the relationship. Love is effortless. You don’t realize when you attain it; it just happens. It’s quite rare, but it’s out there.

I might not have a date for this Valentine’s Day, but I have love. I have attained the lofty goal of “love” with only a few people, and I am perfectly content because I know that in this mutual exchange, they love me too. I will spend the “holiday” with the people that I love, and that’s more than good enough for me.

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10 Guys You’ll Meet at Harvard

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By Michelle Nguyen

The Voice takes you through the ten male prototypes you’ll encounter at Harvard.

1. The One Who’s a Virgin

You can’t swing a purse in Harvard Yard without hitting a virgin Harvard male. He comes in all shapes and sizes (pun fully intended). Even some very eligible-seeming bros belong here –they probably spent high school hitting the stacks instead of the sack– although they tend to migrate out of this zone really fast during their freshman year. He has the potential of becoming a great boyfriend, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to get over the initial awkwardness. *Accidentally* hooking up with a virgin always makes for great Sunday brunch stories though, so there’s the silver lining.

2. The One Who Will Stay a Virgin

Another classic Harvard category. It’s astounding how a place so small can hold so many socially awkward and sexually frustrated young people. It’s very easy to spot this one. He seems awkward. He walks awkward. He is awkward. He probably also lives in Lamont and packs his stuff in a carry-on during Finals season. He might also have red hair. Bless his heart, though. He could invent a social networking site one day and all the arrogant bitches of Harvard who ignored him (you included) can cry themselves to sleep at night.

3. The One Who Would Be King

You know, the kid who harbored presidential ambitions when everyone else was dreaming about chocolate and cartoon characters and stuff. He is most likely a tall, well-dressed Government major from the south who frequents the Institute of Politics as often as the rest of us mortals do Berryline. You might be charmed by his composure and drive, but like anything else in his life, the ladies that he dates must all serve the Grand Plan. I’m Asian and foreign (Communist, even), so I never even tried. But if you want to, just google “Jackie Kennedy” for a good role model. Or Marilyn Monroe. It’s all a matter of preference.

4. The One Who Would Die Trying To Be King

Prior to Harvard, he friends all 1,600+ classmates on Facebook. During Freshman Week, he hands out business cards that say “49th President of the United States” in gold embossed letterings. He’ll run for the Undergraduate Council. He’ll probably also spearhead a stupid anti-something campaign to get his name in a Crimson headline. He’s not to be confused with boys from the first category who are usually reticent about their ambitions and (thus) might actually make it happen. By junior year, he becomes an easy target for cruel dining hall jokes. But who are we kidding? We all go to Harvard and about a third of your classmates hold some kind of presidential-type ambition.

5. The One Who’s Gay

“If he’s too good to be true, he probably isn’t” goes the saying in Sex and the City. At Harvard, my saying is that “every guy is gay until proven otherwise.” The Harvard homosexual guy is well-dressed, charming, good-looking, smart and gets you. He’s all that a girl can ever hope for in someone to produce double legacy children with. Except that it’s physiologically impossible. Unless you drug him or something. But I personally am all about consent. Also beware of the one who’s in the closet. There are quite a few of them, even in the People’s Republic of Cambridge. Do you really want to be the one he dates before coming out as gay?

6. The One Who Knows Everything

He got into Harvard because he’s a genius. He has a perfect GPA and standardized test scores. He makes Phi Beta Kappa. He’ll graduate with high honors. You should make friends with him –it’s actually nice to know someone who knows things, but I’m not sure about pursuing a romantic relationship with him. Maybe it’s a personal thing, but I’ve always thought of the encyclopedia type as asexual. There’s also that guy who actually is asexual. He’s more interested in making friends with his lab RAs and experimenting on mice than getting to know you.

7. The One Who Lives in His Sweatpants

(Unless it’s punch season, then he lives in a suit and bow tie and reverse baseball cap.)

With 41 Division I varsity teams, Harvard has quite a number of athletes. He’s easy to spot since he’s so big and walks funny. It’s very likely that he majors in Economics or Sociology. It’s also very likely that he’s attractive, so much so he doesn’t seem to belong on the Harvard campus.

The bro spends his freshman year with fellow bros on the team, taking the same classes, eating together, and crashing the same sketchy dorm parties. Then, he becomes a sophomore, joins a final club and mingles with bros from other teams. It’s all very testosterone-heavy and homoerotic, really. Especially when you think about some water sport teams where the boys spend most of their time together in very little clothing. Hmmmm.

It’s easy to wiggle your way into the pants of the bro (so long as you’re not clothed and he’s not sober). It’s much harder – if impossible – to wiggle your way into his heart. The competition is stiff and often scantily-clad, what with sorority girls and other girls and even more girls from the Greater Boston Area (see: The Harvard Hoochies). He probably doesn’t know how to date girls anyway.

8. The One Who Loves Himself

I’m not talking about the act of loving himself –which is perfectly fine, unless you’re a Dorm Crew worker cleaning his bathroom. A member of this species is the apple of his parents’ eyes. He stares at his reflection on the back of his iPhone and flashes a megawatt smile at himself. He spends hours every day wondering why he’s so damn perfect. He plucks his eyebrows. He gets what he wants. He forgets to grow up. He might be into you, but ultimately, he always loves himself more.

(Image: The Winklevi, courtesy of Google Images)

9. The One Who’s Nice and Finishes Last

He’s your friend. Close friend, even. He walks you to class and listens as you whine over a failed weekend and a failed LS1a exam and a failed (almost) romance with X athlete on the Y team in the Z final club. He doesn’t try to take advantage of you when you’re drunk and vulnerable. He probably has a crush on you. You probably know it, too. But for some reasons you always go for the Harvard jerks who will break your heart. Which brings us to…

10. The One Who Breaks Your Heart

He’s perfect. He’s tall, handsome, athletic, charming, and obviously intelligent. He probably has a rich-sounding last name (like something with a hyphen or a Harvard Residential House in it). He sweeps you off your feet, then rips your heart out and drops it like a piece of rock. He also gets smoother and douchier as he gets older. But no matter, you find his arrogance and douchiness attractive anyway. He’s hot property, and he knows it. So he is very committed to playing the field, at least until his love handles start to develop and his hair falls out. The protocol is never to get attached, but very few can manage this. (Much as we love to tell ourselves otherwise.)

10+1. The One Who’s Actually Perfect

There are about five of them, and they’re all in a relationship. When you do find one who’s single, you get so nervous that you fuck up your chances anyway. You then get to go back to ignoring the nice guy and chasing after the douche. Let’s face it, girl: You, too, go to Harvard and therefore have a thousand of issues and insecurities. Like 99.99% of these boys, you’re also a little nutty. There’s a reason romance (almost) doesn’t exist on this campus. But here’s to hoping, anyway.

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The Dos and Don’ts of Friends with Benefits

By Lauren Feldman

For those not in-the-know, Urban Dictionary defines “Friends with Benefits” as “two good friends who have casual sex without a monogamous relationship or any kind of commitment.”

For those in the loop, it is a best-of-both-worlds combo of camaraderie and pleasure so good, it seems destined to fail.

With a dating scene at Harvard that can seem as futile as Quadded freshmen hoping to “wish” themselves into a new abode on Housing Day, the elusive FWB relationship can seem pretty appealing. But in order to avoid having a friend with goodies turn into just another disappointing Harvard hook-up, here’s what you need to know.

Friends Forever:

Do: Make sure you’re actually friends with your partner beforehand. The purpose of FWB is to add on to a rapport that it is already there. This relationship should be strong enough to weather the storm when sex is thrown into the equation.

Don’t: Make it all about sex, no matter how good the sex is. FWB should be supplemented by platonic, friend-y activities. Hanging out with your partner in larger groups is a good way to avoid the temptation.

It’s Free, You’re Free:

Do:  Feel comfortable relying on your FWB for emotional support. Doing so is crucial for ensuring that your friendship lasts while and after the benefits dry up. However…

Don’t: Use your FWB as a crutch. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t cry to your partner about your goldfish dying prior to becoming FWB, don’t do it now.

Snap Out of It:

Do: Avoid using relationship-y labels. No matter how adorable “pookie” may seem when he/she flashes that smile, terms of endearment like these make the line between “just friends” and “more than” even murkier. Also, your mutual acquaintances will be grateful.

Don’t: Get jealous when he/she expresses interest in other people, or upset when he/she is suddenly less interested in you. For FWB, your status is “friends,” and you’re both still single.

And the ultimate rule:

Don’t: Be FWB with someone you’re interested in romantically. FWB is all about navigating the fine lines. Unless you’re absolutely sure you don’t want a full-blown relationship, FWB is not for you — someone will end up hurt, and you’ll both regret it.

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Houghton Library: A Rare Gem Full of Rare Gems

houghton

By Suzanna Bobadilla

Exploring the rarely visited library which houses many of the world’s most valuable and rare books

Houghton Library is situated between Widener and Lamont. Most students at Harvard pass by this library everyday with thoughts of finishing up that last p-set in Lamont Café, yet never once stop to think what the Houghton building is or what it holds. Being huge library nerds (oh come on, don’t be surprised – this is Harvard, after all), we decided to take a quick trip to Houghton Library and push beyond thoughts of the Lamonster.

Opened in 1942, Houghton Library was built to hold Harvard’s rare books and manuscripts. It was one of the first libraries to have specialized climate control features to ensure the preservation of its contents. Today Houghton Library is home to many of Harvard’s most interesting and all encompassing collections, including the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Harvard Theater Collection, Early Books & Manuscripts Collection, and the Modern Books & Manuscripts Collections, to name a few. Many of Houghton’s collections are now available on Online Archival Search Information System (OASIS) such as the Digital Medieval Manuscript and Digital Papyri collections. But while seeing Houghton’s collections online allows you to just stay in your dorm room and study thousands of years old artifacts, there is still something to be said about seeing the real deal in person.

Walking into Houghton Library for the first time is definitely one of those “Harvard” moments. With its glass paneled bookcases circling the room and the beautiful staircase leading to the other floors, Houghton seems more like a gorgeous old mansion rather than a library. Visitors will need to check in at the first desk and then head over to the locker room to store their personal belongings. Perhaps one of the trickiest parts of any Houghton visit is remembering to bring a quarter to access the lockers. It sounds like a silly problem, but it could be potentially problematic. Harvard IDs can tap, swipe, and Crimson Cash students into basically every college necessity but they are useless when confronted by the lockers’ coin slot.

Once everything aside from a pencil, laptop, and small notebook is locked away, visitors are allowed to enter the reading room. You will have to press a button that will unlock the door and then head over to the librarians’ desk where you will need to be registered. Access to materials is granted only after showing two forms of picture ID and signing an agreement. The process is much more intimidating that the card-slide at Lamont, but understandable given the value of the materials.

Along with the papers of Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and T.S. Eliot, Houghton Library is home to some of Charlotte Brontë’s first creative works. The library holds nine miniature novellas that Brontë and her brother (name of brother) created when they were still children. After browsing Houghton’s collections on OASIS, we decided to examine Brontë’s mini books. We were first astounded by their size. About the length of a thumb and the width of a two keyboard keys, we were amazed that the Brontë’s were able to write so clearly and with much detail in such a small space. The books were bound together with string; some were written on the backside of newsprint. More than anything else, the books show that Brontë was driven to write no matter what she had available. Handling the manuscripts was very intimidating. Houghton’s security measures are impressive, but in the end there is nothing separating you from an almost 200-year-old thin and weathered piece of newsprint. Following the advice that we got from our kindergarten teachers, we decided to look and not touch, and settled with craning our necks to see more of the text.

After straining both our eyes and our backs trying to closely examine Brontë’s work we decided to call it a day and say goodbye to Houghton. Walking out of the library into the amazing weather, it already seemed unreal that only minutes before we had been touching Brontë’s handwriting.

Houghton Library’s reading room is open from 9:00-5:00 Monday through Saturday. Other collections may be closed on weekends. Good luck and remember that quarter!

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