That’s it. I took my last final exam for my last college class today. And of course it had to be, erm, Ec1010b (ugh), and of course the exam was almost inconceivably long and hard. I mean it was literally almost inconceivable - during the exam I wondered a couple of times if I had somehow become drugged or affected by heatstroke (it was about as hot as Singapore today – high 80s) because everytime I looked up it seemed 35 minutes had passed and I had only completed three points worth of questions despite working as quickly as possible. This was a problem because there were 180 points on the three-hour exam, i.e. you had to work at a rate of one point per minute to finish in time. In the end I completed the first 30 points in 90 minutes and the last 100 points in 40 minutes. Awful.
But it doesn’t matter anymore.
I’ve been reflecting a lot about my Harvard experience, unsurprisingly, to fill out the many various surveys and end-of-course evaluations that accompany graduating college here, and also in preparation for Experiences, for the admissions office tours and other related projects. I’ve already said all the harsh, critical things I’ve wanted to express about my academic, social, extracurricular, advising and residential experience (lots of appreciation to the people who listened to my rants), so I shall not repeat them. But it must be remembered that in the end I am overwhelmingly happy, and grateful, and very, very sad to leave.
I remember Jeff telling me last year about how he cried before we left on Tour, and now I think I will cry too. Even just typing that makes me a little tearful.
Ryan and I have been indulging in so much nostalgia recently. Every day is the last day now, every time is the last time now. The last time we’ll work HUCEP, the last time we’ll turn in blue books, the last time we’ll use Board Plus. It’s a little heart-wrenching to think about, which may be partly why we don’t think about it much and usually don’t remember. But then we do, and it’s a little blow.
The last chance to say goodbye to the underclassmen, the last opportunity to take pictures, the last access to that favorite professor’s office hours…
Right now I’m finishing up my last two CUE-guide course evaluations, and I’m writing the most glowing praise I can come up with for this particular class.
For the question “Would you recommend this class to other students, and why?” I indicated the most positive possible response: “recommend with enthusiasm”, and then wrote in the reason:
Professor L. is one of the best professors at Harvard, no question. She is brilliant and willing to share her wealth of scholarship and incredibly rich first-hand knowledge, yet also wonderfully down-to-earth, irrepressibly curious and eager to hear about new ideas and technology. Professor L. is warm and interested in students and genuinely concerned with gently but firmly pushing them towards excellence in this class and all other areas of their lives. Anyone who has the privilege of taking any class with her is blessed, and will likely remember the class as one of the most motivating, intellectually invigorating, relevant one they’ve taken. This is what all Harvard courses should be like, so perhaps you shouldn’t take this if you don’t want most of your other classes to pale in comparison.
And then to the prompt “Please comment on this person’s teaching”, I write:
Superb. Almost beyond superlatives; the quality of Professor L.’s teaching is matched by only a very small, precious group of professors at Harvard or anywhere, I imagine. What more can I say to laud her ability to put students at ease and make them feel engaged and valued despite her intimidating intellect plus her daunting scholarly AND noble (humanitarian) accomplishments? I have never encountered such a thoughtfully and successfully designed seminar – one proof was that we never wanted to end discussions on time, and I wouldn’t be able to decide which sessions were most highly anticipated, useful or generally enjoyed, those where Professor L. lectured, those where invited guests spoke or those where fellow students presented. Professor L.’s leadership of the class must be credited for this exceptional learning experience with quite literally never a dull moment. I will stop only because I imagine my praise will start to be undermined by seeming to be embarrassingly effusive and hyperbolic. But I stand by what I’ve written as my accurate and well-considered opinion.
I *heart* my professors. Can you tell?