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March 3, 2015
The first five weeks of this (supposedly) spring semester can be summed up in just one all-too-familiar sentence: “Harvard University is closely monitoring the severe winter weather.” Thus far, the University has indulged its students and faculty with an unprecedented three snow days. All in all, the snow days were an advantage – they gave everyone a second longer to relax before the heat of the semester set in. Some students congregated at Widener to sled down the steps on dining hall trays. Some built impressively structurally sound igloos in campus courtyards. Still others arranged house-wide snowball fights, ventured into the snow on cross-country skis or just cooped up inside with snacks, friends and a good movie.
At the same time, since these campus closings occurred so early in the semester, scheduling and class selection became a bit more complicated. Also, upon receiving notice of a snow day, we students became regrettably less productive. At 6:00 PM on Sunday, we were actively highlighting the PDF readings assigned for our Monday classes. However, upon receiving a 6:30 PM “Winter Storm Update” email from Executive Vice President Katie Lapp and learning that FAS operations were to be suspended the following day, everyone grew a bit more inclined to “save as…” their document, close Preview, open a new Chrome window and type Netflix, BuzzFeed or YouTube into the browser.
Now, since March 1st has come and passed, it feels like spring should be fast approaching. Unfortunately, current conditions suggest that warmth and sunshine are still a ways away, and Punxsutawney Phil agreed. Although the blizzards have slowed and it appears that we may have finally reached the tail end of this prolonged whiteout, Cambridge is still faced with ill-placed 10-foot high piles of snow, bitterly cold temperatures, icy sidewalks and slush on slush on slush.
The good news is that the irritating debris from the record-setting winter does not have much of an effect on University operations. At this point, everyone has finally recovered from the school-related effects of the snow. Cancelled lectures have been made up, students’ schedules have been finalized, and all classes are officially in full swing. This past weekend was actually junior parents’ weekend, confirming that we are, in fact, deep into the semester – a sufficient amount of time has passed since we left home for our parents to justify a visit. On Friday and Saturday, parents of the Class of 2016 were getting their own taste of the Harvard experience, taking campus tours, exploring the art museums, and attending lectures, faculty presentations and student group performances.
The next two weeks of classes are definitely going to be hectic and demanding, as most professors schedule a midterm or paper deadline in the days leading up to Spring Break. Fortunately, though, at the end of this unofficial exam period, everyone will be able to take ten days to relax, re-group and travel away from this dismal Boston winter. Considering that the lacrosse team’s recent Spring Breaks have included trips to Evanston, Illinois and Syracuse, New York, we are certainly eager to head for Florida this year. That said, I think any destination even slightly warmer than Cambridge seems appealing to most students. With the winter we’ve had, mere 40-degree temperatures would be heavenly.