Crimson opinion writer
Dear readers, in this last column piece, I leave you with a challenge: The next time you’re in a shared space, one filled with joy and hope, appreciate it in its entirety. The mental snapshot you take of that moment in time will decrease in clarity as time passes, but the value you found in that space — and similar shared spaces — need not.
We are left with memories and feelings of how a place made us feel, how a certain time in our lives made us ache or rejoice. The Houses at Harvard are so instilled within our memories of this place — this old, enduring institution — as they touch us so deeply and for a long time. It is in this way that you find the true Harvard experience: strangers becoming friends, experiences later becoming memories, memories becoming nostalgia.
Though Harvard Yard probably won’t be able to revert back to a cow pasture, the University can still be a more positive agent of change when it comes to protecting the environment by expanding access to nature, as well as follow through with its promise to divest from fossil fuels.
Connecting with others over meals informs not only much of the Harvard experience, but much of the human experience. Everyone deserves to have nutritious and easily accessible food available to them, enabling them to better integrate into the communities they are a part of.
Next time we happen upon a kitchen in the Quad, may we thank all of the Radcliffe women who were once limited by these spaces. Though there’s no way for us to cook them a meal ourselves and bid them thanks, we can still wish for future generations of women at Harvard to achieve their full potential — untethered by gendered limitations to their abilities to excel.
A shared space is special so long as it is actually shared, actually lived and existed in. Next time you feel the urge to study or want to lose yourself in a labyrinth, go to Widener and feel the presence of those next to you and those before you. May you find community as you get lost in the stacks.
As the season of spring cleaning soon approaches, and we’re left to grapple with the resulting objects, items, and mess from a year so defined by uncertainty, perhaps allowing ourselves a reprieve from the constant need to organize and compartmentalize every single aspect of our lives is actually a necessary form of self-care. May we embrace the mess intrinsic to living that we all experience as a side-effect of being human, and find the freedom to unpack a year of chaos on our own terms, at our own pace.