From Houston to Harvard

By Ellie H. Ashby

To Cook Or Not To Cook

I cannot cook.

My wonderful roommates that I lived off-campus with in the spring of 2021 can attest to this. Dinner time would roll around, and there I would be, patiently sitting at our rickety kitchen table, embarrassingly waiting for one of them to begin the daily meal preparation while I offered encouragement from the sidelines. Literally — I would stand to the right of my roommate Eleanor (a fellow Crimson Editorial editor) as she cooked at the stove, pestering her on the daily.

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'Twas The Day Before The Game

‘Twas the day before The Game, and I, as well as thousands of other Harvard students, sit in excitement, waiting to make the trek down to Yale for an event heralded as one of the “defining moments” of the classic Harvard experience. But, unlike the average student, my excitement for The Game does not stem from my hatred of Yale or some deep-seated school pride — no, it stems from my weird (and very newfound) belief that football exemplifies the dichotomy of social change.

I do not think the average American understands Texas’s love (or borderline problematic obsession) with football. In fact, I don’t even think Texans understand our own obsession with football until we venture outside our state. Just miles from my own home, a $70 million high school football stadium was built a couple of years ago, and eight out of the nine largest high school stadiums in the United States are in Texas — and not a single Texan will bat an eye in reading those statistics. Other states may enjoy professional football and encourage their children to play while growing up, but only in Texas does a single sport have such a chokehold on the local community.

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Southern Accents and Slowing Down

It has recently come to my attention that I have a bit of a Southern accent.

Allegedly evident in the slightly twangy way I say the word “when” (apparently I say it like “win,” but I am not fully convinced) and my drawn-out pronunciation of “y’all” (okay, this one I understand), it was something I was originally averse to, but have slowly grown to love.

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College Rankings — A Function of Wealth and Privilege

There is no greater financial mystery than Harvard’s endowment. However, conversations surrounding the endowments of elite institutions so far have been housed within the bounds of that institution — is it moral for a university to have that much money, what are they doing with that money? But this focus on the internal distorts the dialogue surrounding endowment, college rankings, and privilege, a much more complex conversation that involves deconstructing the supposed binary of the North having exceptional institutions of higher education and the South lacking them.

Harvard's endowment has increased from $41.9 billion to $53.2 billion in the span of a single year. Yale, MIT, Duke, and other wealthy universities announced similar to even greater returns on their own endowments. These values are so large that we grow desensitized to their financial scope; but, one look at the endowments of other universities, like historically Black colleges and universities (which are primarily concentrated in the South), brings to light the larger, cyclical theme of privilege and wealth disparities in higher education.

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The South Is Red, The North Is Blue — But Is That Really True?

Driving in Texas is a way of life more so than a means of transportation. Massive parking garages are attached to every high-rise building. Drivers avoid the rush-hour-infected roads of 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. like the plague. Cruising down the 26-lane stretch of Interstate 10 in Houston at midnight is a rite of passage.

Driving through Texas also comes with an interesting bonus: a front-row seat to America’s political spectrum.

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