The blog of The Harvard Crimson

Overheard at Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee
As one of the newest coffee shop additions to Harvard Square, Blue Bottle Coffee hasn’t solidified itself as a major hot spot on campus. Yet. From my observations, the trendy coffee joint is a meeting place for elitist hipsters and disgruntled students alike, serving as the perfect place to take aesthetic Instagram pictures. I settled down with a notebook, old-fashioned style, to record.

“Does this almond milk taste sweet to you?” “No yeah it’s definitely sweet.”

As a vegan myself, the quality of almond milk is essential in determining whether a coffee shop is going to earn a place on my regular list. Is it on the menu? Plus one point. Homemade? Plus another point. Are there other non-dairy options in case I want to spice it up? Plus another… you get the idea.

“You can’t cry in this place, it’s too nice.”

An ultimate mood. Something about the white minimalistic walls, blue and beige decor, and delicate plant arrangements creates an environment that demands cheeriness. Plus, compared to the dining halls’ coffee-that’s-about-as-effective-as-water, Blue Bottle’s is so robust it’ll dry your tears right up.

“Zac Brown Band is the one country artist I tolerate.”

With a serious dislike of country music myself, I’m not sure if I agree with this one, but I have to hand it to him. Feels a little weird calling an entire band a single artist, though.

“No more hamsters!”

What is the context of this conversation? What does this even mean? I’m so confused.

“She thinks she’s, like, really mature. But she’s not!”

Boy, oh boy, was this conversation a wild ride. Two girls were engaging in a heated discussion as they took turns insulting their blockmate, taking sips of their matching lattes in between hard hits. Poor girl.

*Girl photographing her avocado toast* “It’s like they purposefully made it ugly.”

I admit I actually laughed out loud at this one. It’s smashed avocado on multigrain bread, honey. It’s not that deep.

Were these findings life-changing? Only if you really have nothing better to care about than the woes of elitist students trying to buy being cool. The conversations inside Blue Bottle are just the same as those everywhere else on Harvard’s campus, except everyone is armed with a $6 iced coffee.

QGuide+: The Student-Made Gem Finder You Need to Use

With Harvard debuting Syllabus Explorer and Curricle beta, it’s clear that students and administration are seeking an alternative to the Course Search function on my.Harvard (it may work, but it is definitely in need of some updates).

While Syllabus Explorer can be helpful in choosing courses, Curricle is downright weird. But not to fear, for there’s a better solution out there. A student-made course-finder called QGuide+ is very simple, but devastatingly effective. It goes through the most recent QGuide data on a course, and allows you to filter courses by workload and overall Q rating after you’ve typed in a few keywords. If you’ve ever wished you could just search the Q guide instead of the course catalog, this is what you’ve been waiting for.

This, as many of you may now be thinking, makes it really easy to find easier courses — also known as gems. Jack. Freaking. Pot. In fact, QGuide+ prides itself on being the “Best Gem Finder.” If you have a tough workload and are looking for a more relaxed fourth class, rest assured that finding a gem is much easier with this tool. Other features on the site allow you to filter by the number of Q evaluations a course has received and the general education requirement(s) a course fulfills.

Creators Benny Chang ’22 and Blake D. Young ’22 say that the project started over J-term when Young “was thinking about what classes to take.” First, Chang and Young worked on collecting the data that was necessary for several weeks. Then it was time to build the website. Seemingly surprised by how quickly they put the whole thing together, Chang chuckled and said that they had created the entire website “probably within the past week.”

“We just figured it was something people wanted, and we did it,” said Chang.

The project started out as an extension of CS50, which both Chang and Young took in the fall.

Young said, “We both took CS50, and that basically taught me some tools necessary to learn the basics of Python. From that I built a chess bot.” From there, Young wanted to do some more “practical things.” Hence, a course search website with filters that Harvard students actually care about (like workload and Q rating). David Malan, if you’re reading this, just look at the wonders that CS50 can do.

According to Chang and Young, the reactions have generally been very positive (duh). In the future, they plan to add features to make the website more user-friendly.

Head to the QGuide+ and happy course searching!

How To Use Harvard's New Course Selection Tools

Stores close, weather turns even worse, but that’s not the only way Harvard has changed while you were gone this winter. I’ve been reliably informed that there are two new official tools to help you decide what classes to take as we hurtle into shopping week! (I say “reliably informed” and not “told by Mike Burke” because apparently I deleted his email.) One is Syllabus Explorer, which looks like a refined version of the my.harvard Search function. The other is Curricle, which is still in beta mode and is also supposed to...do that same thing? Since it’s possible that, like this writer, you missed these tools, Flyby has the deets on how they work and whether you should try them out.

Search Syllabi

The most valuable thing is Syllabus Explorer’s ability to search, well, syllabi of all the classes here running back a few years. If you’ve always wanted to study a specific topic, writer, or piece of work but struggled to find something related to it in the course catalog, this is a much easier way to go about it. Of course, the moment I had Syllabus Explorer pulled up I forgot everything I’ve ever wanted to study… so it’s only as effective as you are. And the more specific you are, the better. A search for “feminism” calls up the top 214 results, and though some of those aren’t available this semester that’s still a lot to go through.

Sort by Semester

It’s not immediately obvious that Syllabus Explorer also allows you to look at your search results, but you can click on ‘Term’ to sort as most recent first. There will still be quite a few pages to click through, if you have a vague or broad query, but it’s better than the default, which sorts by relevance.

Similar Classes?

Another cool function Syllabus Explorer has is that it can suggest similar classes to any one you look up. If you have a certain thread you want to return to in your noble academic quest, this seems like a great way to find more classes on the same subject. It’s unclear on what basis the website deems classes to be similar, but it looks believable enough.

Mike Burke, What is Curricle?

You might wonder why most of this article has touched on Syllabus Explorer and not Curricle. This is because the latter is...perplexing.

Gregory Nagy's Connections on Curricle
Gregory Nagy's 'Network' on Curricle
It has some cool graphics, and it is still in beta, but it’s unclear how helpful it’ll be. A lot of it is certainly interesting data — like the instructor networks tab — but it’s not immediately useful in terms of shopping week. Watch that space, maybe?

Harvard seems to have finally heard our complaints about the archaic loading times of my.harvard, but the search for a replacement may not be as straightforward as it seems. Good luck out there this shopping week!

5 Fascinating MIT Courses for Cross-Registration

Shopping week is a time to explore Harvard’s extensive course offerings, but as it turns out, you don’t have to stop at Harvard. Whether you are just curious at the prospect or want to be able to say you went to both Harvard and MIT, MIT Cross-Registration is for you! Be sure to check out these unparalleled, fun courses just down Mass Ave:

MIT 6.00: Introduction to Computer Science Programming in Python

If you missed the CS50 bandwagon in the fall, catch MIT’s version, offered in both the spring and the fall. “Python and the practical approach of the course made it easy to learn coding,” says Michael Gritzbach ’18. Although this course has a steep learning curve, some students prefer a more in-depth approach to one language over CS50’s six.

MIT 21G.012: Exploring Globalization through Chinese Food

Explore global developments in migration and transnational business through the lens of Chinese food. The class’s main project is maintaining a blog, so record your findings by perusing cookbooks, taking a walking tour of Boston’s Chinatown, and concluding the semester with an authentic Chinese cooking workshop!

MIT 2.00B: Toy Product Design

Get a chance to work the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department’s fun toy design lab! After learning the theory behind what makes a toy click, you can design, construct and market a toy in groups. Give playsentations (play presentation) iat the end of the term! Embrace your inner child, and remember that it doesn’t have to be plastic to be a toy.

MIT 6.163: Strobe Project Laboratory

Use high-speed cameras to capture some of the coolest videos you’ll ever see in your life. The goal of this class is to “learn the application of electronic flash sources to measurement and photography.” Though you’ll need the equivalent of MIT’s Physics II as a prerequisite, being in this laboratory is bound to be worth it.

MIT 12.011: Archeological Science

This one-semester course at MIT considers the ecology at various stages in prehistory, man-nature interactions, and case studies on ancient technologies. This course is open to students at many Boston universities.

Even if you’re already sMITten, there are a few keep in mind when cross-registering:

  1. Be ready before the earlier registration deadline and Add/Drop date (This year, it’s February 1 and February 11).

  2. Going to office hours every day for extra help may not be an option since MIT is even farther away than the quad (a shocker, we know).

  3. Think twice about cross-registering during senior spring. Since MIT’s term ends after Harvard’s, grades may not be available in time for graduation.

  4. If you need to drop a class, be sure to follow Harvard’s procedures (Harvard will inform MIT).

Enjoy the prospective bi-weekly escape from the Harvard Bubble!

The Five Types of Harvard Pedestrians

One of the most unexpectedly stressful parts of going to Harvard is crossing the street. No matter where you live, you just can’t avoid this high-stakes task, even when you’re heading to an interview or midterm that’s nerve wracking enough on its own. While this everyday nightmare is something that all students must face, we all go about it in our own way. So, what’s your pedestrian style?

The Sheep

Once upon a time, you knew how to “look left” and “look right”, but now you look straight ahead at other pedestrians, trust their judgment, and cross when they cross. People accuse you of being a lazy follower, but you know this is a genius strategy to make others do the mental labor of deciding when to cross.

The Reckless

Drivers and bikers tremble in fear when they sense your aura nearby. You look both ways before crossing, but you cross no matter what you see coming your way, forcing someone to hurriedly hit the brakes. You make eye contact with the poor driver through the windshield and smirk at them as you walk by. You are either absolutely fearless or just running late. Nothing like relishing in the knowledge that you are going to lead a Sheep to disaster one day.

The Indecisive

A string of cars are coming, or maybe that red hand on the traffic light is flashing for the last few times. You can’t tell if there’s time to make it across and decide to wait it out. When you realize that you totally could have gone four seconds ago, you suddenly bolt across the street without thinking. Some driver gets annoyed and honks at you, and you anxiously replay that moment in your head for the rest of the day.

The Slowest Walker On The Planet

You cover ground more slowly than Ice Age glaciers did. As you amble across the street, other pedestrians stream past you. Sometimes you walk slowly because you’re going someplace you don’t want to be, but usually, this is just who you are.

The Orderly

You wait when you’re supposed to wait, walk at a reasonable pace, smile at strangers, wave at babies, and say excuse me. You deserve nothing but excellent pedestrian experiences, but somehow unfortunate things keep happening to you. Your phone falls, your coffee spills, cars splash you, or your foot gets stuck in an uncovered hole in the road. Why is the world so unfair?

If you’re going to cross the street every day in Cambridge, you might as well do it with some personal flair. Go forth and travel safely from destination to destination!

How the ‘Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education’ Tried to Scam a Kennedy School Professor

HGSE Dean Scam: The First Email
Poor Dean Long needs those gift cards very badly
It seems as though faculty would be used to receiving questionable emails at this point — after all, we’ve all written our fair share of late night, sleep deprived pleas for extensions. However, it seems as though the senders of these odd exchanges aren’t limited to students. Apparently, Bridget Terry Long — the dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education — was the latest Harvard figure to try to scam University faculty members.

Last week, Harvard Kennedy School professor Joshua S. Goodman ’00 received an email from a Gmail account claiming to be Long:

The two question marks really makes it seem urgent (and really gives off “I’m the Dean of the GSE” vibes). Well-played, “Dean Long.”

Seeing that the email came from a Gmail account, Goodman wanted to “play it cool.”

Good effort, Professor Goodman, but if the combination of “Yes” and “what’s up?” gives off any “play it cool” vibe, it’s my grandpa’s.

“Dean Long” told Goodman she was “in a meeting” and couldn’t use her phone. She needed Goodman to get her an Amazon gift card from the store immediately!

Goodman played along for a while, and even asked “Dean Long” to verify her identity by telling him a very specific piece of academic information.

To be honest, playing the “look how smart I am, I’m a Harvard professor” card on a scammer is just kind of sad. I’m starting to wish the scammer had actually succeeded.

Regardless, Goodman eventually informed the phisher that he knew this was a scam and that he would be keeping the $500 worth of gift cards for himself. What did he spend it on? Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches? Academic studies to flaunt? Give us some more ideas in the comments.

But the phisher was persistent and kept up the act. Twenty-six hours later and “Dean Long” was apparently STILL stuck in a meeting…on a Saturday. Is the academic life really THAT tough?

After a meeting that lasted 24 hours, $500 spent on gift cards, and the flexing of academic muscles on an email scammer, “Dean Long” finally stopped writing.

As for (the actual) Dean Long herself, she responded on Twitter by reassuring the world that the emails were not from her and that it was, in fact, a scammer.

Long joins a group of illustrious faculty members — including former University President Drew “Pay Me Money to Speak at Commencement” Faust — who have been impersonated by scammers looking to swindle academics for their money. We hope she enjoys this distinct honor.

A link to the full Twitter thread can be found here.

The Weirdest Theses: Nuggets of Gold from the Archives

Sumire Hirotsuru's Senior Thesis Recital
You might not have a thesis this creative, but there are ways you can spice things up...
You thought coming up with a topic for your 10 page expos paper was hard? Try coming up with a topic for an entire thesis. For all you poor souls out there who are scrambling for thesis ideas, we dug through the archives to remind you that not everyone comes up with the most “serious” thesis titles — and apparently, that’s okay. Because these examples literally won prizes.

Give Me Burning.

No context. Is “Burning” a thing, a person, or a place? Can you give someone the action of burning? Titles are supposed to preface the topic of the whole thesis, but we have so many questions and so few answers.

Clickbait.

Ah, clickbait. We love it. We hate it. YouTubers can’t live without it. This thesis has no further explanation in the title; it’s just titled “Clickbait.” If that’s not the literal definition of thesis clickbait, then we don’t know what is.

Can You Just Not.

Can we not? We’re not sure what this thesis is even about, but we had to put it in here just to show how much you can get away with when writing your thesis. Title it whatever your heart desires. Or you can just not.

Vanitas: The Harvard Indifference Epidemic and the Mysterious Med. Fac. Society, 1818-1905.

We love a play on veritas. We think it’s veri-clever. But Harvard students? Vain and indifferent? We could never, but apparently someone spent an entire year writing about the epidemic of Harvard students’ indifference. Whatever.

Drop Out Like It's Hot: Analyzing the Impact of State-Level Legislation on School Completion Rates

We can tell this was written recently. Puns are definitely the best way to title a thesis that only a handful of people will end up reading. Might as well make it funny.

According to these incredible thesis titles, nothing is off-limits when it comes to writing and titling a senior thesis. You don’t even have to give context. Have fun seniors, and if you don’t, remember you can always drop out like it’s hot ;)

What It’s Like to be Quarantined at Harvard

UHS
HUHS daddies us in quarantine.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be medically quarantined at Harvard? Maybe you’ve heard horror stories, or maybe you’re heard how it’s the best thing that could ever happen to you. Lucky for you, this Flyby writer was in quarantine, so here’s some ~investigative~ (if you can call being held somewhere by force "investigative") reporting on all the deets of medical quarantine at Harvard:

The Room

HUHS put me in a DeWolfe room (flashback to my freshman dorm). It’s technically a double, though I am isolated in here, so there are two beds in the bedroom. The other room is a common room. It’s also pretty spacious — I’ve got two desks and two chairs, a fridge, and an oven, though the oven is pretty much useless. I think I’m also supposed to have a couch, but I walked in to find a cryptic note left on one of the desks:

“Hi! We borrowed your couch. Security said it was okay if we left this note.” - The room across the hall.

Considering the note was covered in dust, I doubt “borrow” was the right word, but okay, I guess. I still have two beds.

Rules

You can’t go to class. You can’t have visitors over. In fact, they close the door and don’t give you a key — meaning if you leave, you’re screwed. When you pick up stuff outside of your room, you have to wear a mask. For the days you’re in quarantine, you can’t even leave the room you’re in. (Don’t worry, they provide you a room with a bathroom.) You may be wondering — what about food?

Meals

All your food has to come from HUDS — you can’t order from anywhere else. This is honestly the worst part of quarantine. No Poke for five days is a living hell, yes, but at least you’re not infecting anybody. You have to order the next day’s meals by 7:30 p.m, and you can order anything from the grille or the HUDS menu. They bring it to your door and basically ding-dong ditch you. They knock, leave the food in a bag, and run away for fear of catching whatever it is you have. It’s kind of funny, to be honest.

Check-ins

Nurses call you twice a day to see how you’re doing. Word also spreads quickly, so you also get tons of calls from friends and family. But the most interesting call you’ll get is from the Cambridge Public Health Department, who will try to figure out where you got the disease and who you could potentially give it to.

Snacks

Honestly, Harvard hooks you up pretty well with snacks when you’re in quarantine. They gave me 9 packs of Goldfish, a whole box of granola bars, pudding, chicken soup, 5 bottles of water, and 10 bottles of red Gatorade. (Blue would’ve been too good to be true, but luckily I order blue powerade from HUDS every day.) You can also call Securitas, and they can make an effort to get anything else that you want. I’ve made it a habit to say that my snacks are "looking like a snack" today before eating them...has a lack of human contact already driven me crazy? You decide!

Materials

You can bring stuff from your dorm room before you head into quarantine. I brought more bottled water, all my schoolwork, my laptop, and my phone. They suggest you bring bedding and your work, but not to worry, they also provide you with things. Here’s a list of everything they gave me:

Shampoo
Soap
Towels
Mattress cover
Sheets
Blankets
Pillows
Medicine
Toilet Paper
Trash bags

Also I have two beds, so I made a megabed. Yep. I have a megabed.

So...is it really that bad? As I eat Goldfish in bed, am in limited pain because of a lot of Advil and Tylenol, and bingewatch Netflix, I really can’t complain.

Why You Should Say No to Winternships

Snow Dusted Trees
Do you really want to choose to hang around in this?
Walking through campus you may hear some people talking about “winternships” — the strange time over winter break when some people choose to work instead of relax. But let’s face it, winter break is for taking a much needed mental break and catching up on Netflix (and non-HUDS calories), not for overloading yourself so as to only come back just as stressed as you left.

Do Some Ec10

Before you start considering the prospects of working over winter break, take a moment to do a cost benefit analysis, weighing the benefits of relaxation with the short-lived internship that most likely will not be a fulfilling experience. Just think, would you rather be sipping some hot cocoa and sleeping in, or spending a few weeks continuing the stress that you experienced during all of the fall semester?

Know Yourself, Love Yourself

While some may want to try something new with their internship, or hope to add another few lines to their resume, don’t be tempted to pursue this opportunity just for the sake of following the rest of the crowd. You do you. Recognizing that you need some alone time or some time away from anything remotely related to school is not a bad thing. Just think, after a month at home, you can come back refreshed and ready to take on the spring.

Home. Cooked. Food.

Would you rather be toiling away in a boring office in Boston and living on ramen from your microfridge or eating all the delicious snacks your family makes? Need we say more?

All in all, make the right choice for you. Sure, you can work at a startup or continue conducting research, but keep in mind the benefits of the time you can spend recharging this break. Say no to winternships and end this tragedy before it begins.

Sucking Up to Professors

OH
Ah, office hours...your new home.
You may be realizing that you’re not shaping up to be the academic superstar you aspired to be. Maybe your professor didn’t absolutely love the essay you wrote in the 30 minutes before it was due, or maybe you’ve just realized that participation counts for 30% of your grade in the seminar you sleep through. Fear not, though: this is a perfect time to turn your academics around. It’s late enough in the semester that your professor has started to think about who’s going to be getting A’s but not so late that your efforts will be immediately recognized as blatant brown-nosing. So if you’re looking to make sure your professor recognizes your name without a grimace when grades are due, here are a few ideas to get a head start:

Do the readings before you go to office hours

There is no worse feeling than smugly asking some super-insightful question only to be informed that the answer was fully covered in the readings for Week 3. While one really easy way to avoid this awkward situation is to just not go to office hours, you can also benefit from literally just skimming the materials before showing up. You don’t need to do any hard work, either. Just move your eyes over the section headings and make sure you’re asking something vaguely new-ish.

Basic Social Skills

Yes, it’s incredibly unfair for your professor to insist on meeting at 9 a.m. on the Monday after Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you should give into your (totally valid) urges to scowl at the ground for the entire 75 minutes. Just smiling at your professor when you make eye contact — or asking them how their holiday weekend went — can improve their sentiment towards you by a ton. And besides, when they’re deciding final grades, would you rather they think back to the time you complimented their shirt or the time they caught you glaring when you thought they weren’t looking?

Show the TFs Some Love

Being a teaching fellow seems like the literal worst job ever, but you have the power to make it better for them! Showing some interest in your TF beyond which answers they’re allowed to give you for the problem set or how they’re going to be grading next week’s project can have a big impact on their experience and — transitively — your grades. Does your TF perform independent research? What degree are they pursuing? Are they having relationship problems that you can relate to? Now’s the time to take them out for coffee and find out!

Suck Up Creatively

Now that classroom-to-table is out of money, you’re going to have to think of some new venues for feigning interest in your professor’s research. The sky's the limit here: ask them to take a walk with you, schedule a meeting, or offer to pay for their dinner. Or work your “college-student budget” into conversation often enough that they offer to pay (this happens more often than you might think).

No matter whether you’re aiming to get a rec letter or just some decent grades out of this semester, your professor can be one of your biggest supporters and allies. Good luck making some new friends!

Tips for a Less Miserable Reading Period

The ever-increasing Canada Goose sightings and steadily declining quality of HUDS meals can only mean one thing: the end of the semester is near. Before finals, though, we have to make it through reading period — a weeklong purgatory of not-quite-break but not-quite-grind. Instead of bringing a sleeping bag to Lamont for the week, we’ve collected some festive alternatives.

Roast your profs on the Q

Nothing says catharsis like an extended, anonymous rant about the classes that have made you suffer all semester long. Since your final grades are held hostage until you submit feedback, you might as well check this annoying item off your to-do list now. Typing up all your grievances beforehand may just help you focus during your exams, instead of getting distracted by the built up rage you’ve accumulated over the past months—we love fake productivity. And if you spend your newfound free time perfecting a poetic roast, who knows, you may just get featured in the Crimson.

Host A Friendsmas

You’ve heard of Friendsgiving, now get ready for its winter, not necessarily religious cousin, Friendsmas! The lull in between classes and finals is the perfect opportunity to blast Mariah Carey’s "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on repeat to get into the holiday spirit. Grab your friends, decorate your common room with twinkle lights, make cookies in the Student Oasis (it’s under Mem Church; did you know that we can bake there?), and marathon wonderfully terrible Hallmark Christmas movies. If you want to go all-out, even try organizing a Secret Santa or gingerbread house making competition.

Eat Away Your Feelings

With exams approaching, Harvard gives back to its student body what any smart institution would for college kids on the verge of mental breakdowns: free food. Join the Harvard Square Business Association on December 1st in front of the Smith Center from 1 to 2 p.m. for free latkes. Or on the 15th stop by the Smith Center again from 2 to 4 p.m. to awkwardly avoid eye contact with carolers as you take your your cup of free hot chocolate and make a run for it.

Ice Skating in Boston Common

Voted the best outdoor skating rink by USA Today, the ice skating rink at the Frog Pond in Boston Common is a must for any of us looking to be the next Olympic champion figure skater. A mere 20 minutes away on the T (get off at Park Street), it’s an easy half-day trip that’ll have you forget all the studying you have left to do. Don’t stress about having to bring your own skates: the rink’s got you covered, with rentals available for $12.

ZooLights at Stone Zoo

Looking to really escape the bubble? Head 30 minutes north of Boston to the Stone Zoo. Decked out in twinkling lights, the zoo offers you the chance to see bears and other cute animals in a setting straight out of the North Pole. Need even more motivation? The zoo offers a special “Holiday Hot Chocolate with the Reindeer” program, giving you the opportunity to snap a pic with the real-life Rudolph with sipping some pure chocolate goodness. Count us in.

Newbury Street Shopping

If you’ve been saving up all semester and looking to treat yo’ self, Newbury Street is the place to go. You’ll find stores catering to all styles and budgets on a street that’s packed with breathtaking window displays. If you’re looking to splurge, head to Met Back Bay and take part in their Hot Chocolate Experience, featuring four different types of decadent chocolate. Your sweet tooth will thank us later.

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill is the go-to neighborhood if you want to catch a glimpse of Boston’s ~elite~. But what makes a trip to Beacon Hill appealing — aside from the quick T ride — is the plethora of quaint and Instagram-worthy streets with townhouses decked out for the holidays. Wreaths and elaborate Christmas light displays will undoubtedly be out in full force, making all your high school friends jealous they don’t go to school in a city as cute as you do.

How to Avoid the Plague That is College Sickness

University Health Services
If you're staring this view down, it's already too late...
Midterms, freezing temperatures, cuffing season… oh my! Welcome to the causes of college sickness, where few are spared and even fewer are prepared. We all have that one friend that claims he or she never, like never, gets sick. A week ago, I was that friend. Unfortunately, college sickness took this personally, so take it from me and my burning throat: avoid the plague at all costs.

Tip 1: Never Leave Your Room. Ever.

We’re serious. How many people have touched the table at your favorite spot in Lamont? Or the door handle of Annenberg? Yeah, it’s better not to think about it. You never know when or where you’re gonna encounter these illnesses, so your best bet is to stay in your room forever. Your classes are filmed and you have a case of ramen in the common room — use your resources wisely.

Tip 2: Do the Things That, um, Keep You Alive

You don’t have to be premed to understand how sickness occurs (thank god). Wash your hands often with soap and water, avoid touching your face, and hydrate as often as possible. Don’t listen to your favorite elementary school teacher: sharing is not caring. Sharing is just a recipe for a stuffy nose and the worst fatigue you’ve had since last year’s reading period. Sorry, Mrs. Lacey, it’s just not worth it.

Tip 3: Make It a Competition

Harvard likes to be the best at everything, and sickness is no exception. This place finds a way to breed any and all illnesses, even the ones we thought did not exist anymore. Why not turn that competition around? Are you the ~healthiest~ among your friends? The last person to get sick? The best germaphobe around? Congrats, you’ve won good health, which is synonymous with winning the lottery in our books.

Tip 4: Law of Attraction

Maybe, if we just focus on the idea of not getting sick, we won’t get sick. Dream it, believe it. Problem solved.

If only I had listened to my own advice, maybe I wouldn’t be writing this under a pile of tissues in bed. Spread the word (not in person, of course, because germs!) and end this plague once and for all.

Harvard Square Treats for the Winter

As the weather takes a turn for the worse, there’s only one strategy for survival: beginning our reading period hibernation by stuffing our faces with Harvard Square treats. So to make winter’s approach just a little bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite guilty pleasures. After all, it’s basically the holiday season now…right?

L.A. Burdick

This hidden gem is an absolute must. The Signature Hot Chocolate comes in both milk and dark, and tastes like pure chocolate warmth. We’re seriously not kidding. The beverage is the smoothest, sweetest, and most delightfully rich drink ever. There’s even a Spicy Hot Chocolate on the menu if you want to switch it up for some extra punch. It’s not the cheapest hot chocolate you’ll ever have, but it’s divine enough to be worth it.

J.P. Licks

If you’re like us and crave hot chocolate late at night, J.P. Licks has cute hot chocolate kits sold to-go for you to make in the comfort of your dorm — super helpful for those days when the trek across Mass Ave’s (toxic) slush just doesn’t seem bearable. With options beyond just ice cream, this convenient spot doesn’t have to be forgotten in the winter. They also serve yummy hot breakfasts, including savory croissants and oatmeal.

Tatte Bakery

Trust us, Tatte’s not just for law school kids or that Manhattanite friend who eats there every day. For $9.50 at Tatte you can order a pastry basket, fully stocked with two butter croissants, a chocolate croissant, a crisp apple muffin, a piece of sweet bread, and one fruity jam. Perfect to share (or to keep all to yourself, let’s be real), this special is a pastry lover’s dream.

Mike’s Pastry

We know it’s getting cold (and wet), but when did that ever stop anyone from scarfing down a cannoli? Correct answer: never. Just across the street from the Smith Center, Mike’s is perfect for those late-night study sessions in the Collaborative Commons. They’ve even gotten into the festive spirit, with creative menu items like a pumpkin spice cannoli. Pro tip: the M&M pretzel sticks are a great source of quick energy when you’re on the go.

Insomnia Cookies

Even though winter may be coming, you’re still a college student, and that means a trip to Insomnia every now and again is practically required. Close to the river Houses (and unfortunately for our diets, the Crimson building), this slice of cookie-filled paradise is — as we all know — open until 3 a.m. and perfect for any late-night cravings. Often hot from the oven, these cookies always taste better late at night. We’ve also heard it said that if you stop by near closing time, they toss in leftovers with your purchase...why not confirm this magical possibility for yourself?

Crema Cafe

Tucked away next to Felipe’s, Crema has everything you could want for when the weather dips into the twenties: gooey ginger molasses cookies, oh-so-fall pumpkin apple chai muffins, and a cozy interior that will let you instantly forget the nor’easter outside (or your midterm). The zucchini cardamom muffin (hear us out on this one!) has the perfect little kick necessary to help you finish your last pset.

Zinneken’s

Wanted to go to Europe this J-term but flights were just too expensive? Pretend you’re in Belgium by heading down Mass Ave to this cute waffle shop. Specializing in create-your-own waffles and fresh-brewed coffee, Zinneken’s is guaranteed to warm you up if the thought of an upcoming month-long break can’t. If you’ve got an especially big sweet tooth, run next-door to BerryLine while you’re at it.

BerryLine

Because who really cares how cold it gets anyways? BerryLine is BerryLine, meaning it’s timeless. You can literally never go wrong here.

Phone-y Personalities

Are you a lecture texter? A techy Becky? A...letter writer?! Find out which of these phone-y personalities suits you:

iPhone:

We’ve all met you, and, most likely, are you. We can’t pin you down, mostly because you’re pretty boring. You’re image-conscious and hygienic (love to discuss skin care), but you’re also a follower, and you’ve been okay with that ever since you lost the sixth grade class presidency to a guy who now owns an Android. You’ve been known to wake up sweating after nightmares where your texts show up green on another person’s iPhone and you love to tell your one fun fact about Steve Jobs that you garnered from that horrible Ashton Kutcher movie.

Android:

Ahhh, the Android user — the dirtier cousin of the iPhone user who’s been seen in the same Zuckerberg-esque hoodie for three consecutive Thanksgivings. You love ~tech~ and live for the look of shock on people’s faces when you reach into your back pocket and pull out your phone. “They were expecting an iPhone…Aha! Not from a man like me.” Cue evil laugh. You did your research before buying a phone which we agree is commendable — but that does not give you a right to lecture everyone about your “superior bandwidth.” (A euphemism? We hope not.)

Samsung Galaxy:

We’re not sure why this singular phone model has such a vibe unto itself, but it certainly does. Galaxy users are very “off the beaten path,” which is a nice way of saying that they’re not very bright. Somehow, the ads for this phone got lodged in their heads and convinced them that they wanted this phone. No one truly wants this phone.

Blackberry:

You love to work and hate to give off the impression that you have enough free time to be in touch with what’s on trend. You’re very sensitive to light, sound, and general fun. You wore suits in middle school and nowadays you eat "lean" proteins and work out compulsively. People have told you that Blackberries aren’t very "in" anymore, but you were too caught up in another email to hear them.

Anything with a Broken Screen:

You wrote poetry in high school and have sung at more than one open mic. The disheveled nature of your phone reflects the disheveled quality of your soul — and you like it like that.

Writes letters:

You hate capitalism and see the purchase of a smartphone as a capitulation to a ceaseless cycle of increasing inequality. You love it when people ask for your number and you ask for their “address” back. You spend your nights staring out the window. You’re the worst, but we appreciate your dedication.

Cultural Comparison: Canada vs. USA

Tim Hortons
RIP Tim Hortons, Dunkin' simply wont suffice for this Canadian writer.

To many, Canada is seen as a cultural extension of the United States. Canada has one tenth the population of the United State so it’s basically the 51st state, right? Well…we’re about to see. As a Canadian and an honorary American (can I say that after three months here?), I took it upon myself to conduct a very scientific cultural comparison between the two allied nations, with all my free time over this non-Canadian Thanksgiving break.

Fahrenheit, who?!

At some point in time, the United States was plagued with what is now called the Imperial System. Why is 32 degrees freezing? Why is a foot 12 inches when the average foot is only 10? Where’s the logic? Where’s the reason?! Canada (and virtually the rest of the world) is able to function with the logical metric system, where freezing point is 0 and boiling point is 100; a kilometer is a neat 1,000 meters; and everything makes sense in the world! Living in the U.S., I have turned into a walking, talking calculator – I am quickly converting Fahrenheit into Celsius when someone tells me about the weather, and kilometers to miles when people ask how far my run was. My Ec10 problem sets have enough math already without all these additional conversions! Only three countries in the world do not use the metric system: Liberia, Myanmar, and the USA. This is getting out of hand, America, something needs to change!

Tim Hortons vs. Dunkin’ Donuts

Tim Hortons coffee shops are as commonplace in Canada as tourists are at Harvard. I knew that leaving my Tim Hortons behind would not be easy, but I had heard that Dunkin’ Donuts can stand as a somewhat tolerable substitute. Little did I know, I was in for a shock. Given my desire for inexpensive coffee, I decided to undergo my very first Dunkin’ purchase. After the first sip, I understood what a grave mistake I had made. The iced coffee that I had purchased had not been sweetened, so I asked if it could be. Anyone proficient in the art of iced coffee is aware that you need simple syrup for iced coffee since granular sugar won’t dissolve in cold liquid. Tim Hortons is well aware of this information, but Dunkin’ Donuts clearly hasn’t gotten the memo. I watched in horror, mouth agape, as three heaping tablespoons of granulated sugar were promptly poured into my beverage. I gulped down the gritty liquid with discontent and with a hole in my heart where Tim Hortons used to be.

Lastly...

Our Prime Minister is Justin Trudeau, “JT,” who wears flashy socks, is a former high school teacher, won a charity boxing event, starred in a Canadian miniseries, and has his birthday on Christmas Day! He is an icon to rival even the tastiest of snacks at Tim Horton’s.

On the other hand, you guys have… well…you know.

To be fair, Cambridge has treated me pretty well. While I may be missing my Tim Hortons and struggling with everyday calculations, I’ve been able to learn a thing or two, meet some amazing people, and try some pretty tasty Mexican food along the way! Canada doesn't have Border Cafe, so touché, USA.

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