No one wanted to wear it. We threw it around the circle like we were playing a game of hot potato, chucking it from one person to the next, shrieking “You wear it!” “No, you wear it!” Everyone wanted to wear Olivia’s other sweatshirts, which were faded and looked vintage, or her fisherman sweaters. To wear the Harvard sweatshirt would mean being the odd one out.
My name is Derek Schaedig. I am a goalie for the men’s hockey team at Harvard; I am a sophomore studying Psychology; I am a writer for The Crimson; and in April 2019, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, more commonly referred to as depression. I am not immune to mental illness, and neither are many student-athletes.
I want to root for the kind of person whose prose is occasionally sloppy, whose opinions aren’t just rigid but also rigorous and sometimes even risky, the type of person who doesn’t need to fall back on Yeats to understand the present day, or who fails to read “Ulysses” because they were doing something other than what was assigned for tomorrow’s class.
It’s the summer before my freshman year of college, and my mom is trying to teach me as many recipes as she can before I leave for school. One day, she approaches me — she wants me to make dumplings from scratch, all on my own. While I’m usually enthusiastic about cooking together, that day I balk.
But spending the money is worth it, because a successful Visitas is imperative for NAHC. We’re a small group, and if we don’t convince enough prefrosh to join as freshmen, our numbers will dwindle. We feel like we have to convince Native prefrosh to commit to Harvard — and once that happens, we have to convince them that we are a community worth investing time in.
In the 21st century, maybe it’s increasingly impossible for anyone to have a straightforward explanation for where they come from. We toggle between identities, pulling from a jumble of birthplaces and nationalities. When I pretended to be my American roommate Hannah, maybe it wasn’t a lie, so much as one facet of who I am.
I have encountered this feeling in somewhat unconventional spaces: directing a porn film in an artist loft in Oakland, Calif., cheering from the audience as a woman reclaimed her sexuality in orgasm on a New York City stage, and participating in a “sex magic ritual” in a kinky mansion in the heart of New Orleans.