The long line of people stretch out in front of me as I register for my summer class schedule. "Away from home for eight whole weeks. Hooray!"
I walk to my dorm on the third floor and heft my bedding onto the top bunk of the double occupancy room. The suite is excellent. Three bedrooms, two singles and a double, a bathroom, a living room and even a fireplace greet me as I walk into the room. My roommates are sweet too. One of my roommates is from Athens, Greece.
Our first night at Harvard we have a proctor meeting. Ari Shapiro is a nice guy and we play the name game, so we know everyone in Wigglesworth C. Most of us didn't expect the proctor meeting to last so long, so we hadn't eaten at the Freshman Union. We went, instead, to this excellent restaurant just down the street. The eggplant and artichoke pizza taste marvelous. So do the vegetarian nachos.
Monday is the first day of classes. I run over to the Ultimate Bagel to pick up breakfast and dash off to my first Japanese class. Most of the students are college students but I really don't mind. I feel so happy just to be here. The teachers explain everything thoroughly even though it is class shopping week. Class shopping is an experience. I drop in for a class of Renaissance Art and then go to an Astrophysics class for the day. Sweet.
Bright green leaves flood the entire campus. My feet pace the ground of the walkways that are protected by the thick green canopy above. Widener Library stands in the foreground with its tall white columns. The steps are a major hanging out place when you are tired of the dorms.
Widener Library has the largest collection of books in one building. It doesn't take long to realize this when I have to go running up and down the stacks for three hours for a research paper. There are some terrific dioramas inside the main complex. Widener Library is connected by an underground tunnel to the neighboring Pusey Library.
A group of guys and I go to the Science Center on Fridays and Saturdays. We go to watch a movie that's playing like "Fried Green Tomatoes" or "Thelma and Louise." Most of the time we go down to the computer center and look for a free computer and play games like Risk and Saddam's Revenge for hours. It is so cool.
Our proctor is a student during the regular school year. Ari holds study breaks every Saturday or Sunday. We listen to Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd, Primus, Enya, and tons of others. We talk about movies, and even imitate Wayne and Garth. That is something I didn't ever expect to see. All the Harvard students I know are relaxed and don't act snobby.
The nightlife around here is really fierce. It takes awhile to get the hang of it. My roommates and I go jogging at midnight. I go over to another dorm and look over the Charles River for the night. A couple of us stay out all night and look at the stars. Sometimes we go outside the campus and listen to street musicians who play the best music and take requests.
Sometimes I want to exercise. The MAC is a terrific center for athletics with intramural volleyball, soccer, and basketball during the summer. The weight rooms are open with complete nautilus equipment, stationary bikes and stairmasters. Blogett Pool is a swimmer's paradise. Depending on the set- up for the day, you can swim a fifty or twenty-five- meter pool.
Despite all the things to do in the Boston-Cambridge area, I manage to get my work done for my summer class in Elementary Japanese for eight college credits. It is easy to get practice because of the well-equipped language lab. I also have five teachers who are excellent. I never imagined learning ten kanji a day after the first two weeks. The fluency after eight weeks of Japanese is better than four years of high school French. That says a lot for the teaching staff.
This summer school program is one of the best. I have memories of the International Affairs Journal and Model United Nations as well as everything else to keep this school alive. The rainy days which are frequent only heighten the perception of the rest of the long glorious summer. There is only one thing I don't want to forget next time: an UMBRELLA. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.