Manuel A. Yepes
Housing Day is a venerated tradition — and one that entails a really fun morning. That won’t be the case for two of us this year, as we’ll be in class, taking midterm exams at 10:30 a.m. At Harvard, with its near-constant slog, why must we sit for exams on one of the singularly most fun days of the year?
This is where I see the link between HLS and Divercity, the Colombian theme park. When I put out a fake fire, there wasn’t any real value in what I was doing. Similarly, it seems to me that the academic intensity of HLS, both through classes and organizations like the Harvard Law Review, has minimal value in and of itself. Instead, its value comes partly from the fact that corporate law firms have implicitly endorsed the rules of the game.
I am Hispanic, but before that, I am an individual, who, like many, has a story that cannot be generalized into one overarching identity. As Hispanic Heritage Month begins, I urge you to listen to the stories — in the Crimson’s pages and beyond — that define each of us. Reading them, you’ll see the differences that, paradoxically, are what make us all Hispanic.
This isn’t an optimistic op-ed about how if we all sober up, we can band together to solve the climate crisis. This isn’t even a deceivingly cynical op-ed meant to be proven wrong by do-gooders. This is, instead, a simple exposition of my personal opinion: that Harvard’s inability to recognize the gravity of the situation at hand only confirms Camus’ view of humanity’s disbelief in death.
Covid-19 shook us awake from that four year long trance that had many of us shuffling through Harvard, stepping where we were told to step. It changed the status quo, allowing us to ask questions of what we used to think was a fixed system. Traditions were lost, but new ones were made. Change is hard, and many times painful. But, many times, though, change is good.
Sometimes, the questions philosophy tackles may seem like emotion or art, too ethereal and grand to truly understand and only perverted by their formalization into a classroom. However, the formal discussion of these questions in an academic setting, far from stripping them of value, instead reveals new insights, allowing one to build upon years of human thought. To sit in a philosophy class at Harvard is no less than sitting in a dining hall discussing these same questions with hundreds of generations of humanity.
The real value of Harvard is being surrounded by people who push you to your limits, who help you realize how much you don’t know, and who inspire you to see how much potential there is in the world for you. It sounds cheesy, but you realize how important Harvard’s environment is once you find yourself exploring the law libraries, starting podcasts, and writing books, all because of the motivation given to you by your peers.