Wintersession 101: Fun in the Snow

So apologies to begin with for missing out last week on posting: it was a busy week trying to get packed up from California and move back to campus in Boston. But I’m back now and will be making a particularly detailed post to make-up for it because it’s been a particularly busy (but fun!) week.

 

This week we saw our first two snow falls since Halloween, luckily nothing too heavy but gives a nice winter-feel to the barren trees. Trudging through the windy days, Harvard campus finally saw the return of many students to campus for the week long Wintersession.

 

Wintersession is a great, recently invented opportunity for students to come back to campus a week early to participate in a number of activities, some free or quite discounted. Everything from a one-day ski trip to a TV script writing class (taught by Carlton Cuse, Harvard Alum and scriptwriter of Lost, aka. Greatest drama show ever). I was lucky enough to participate in some great events that I know will be extremely useful as I move forward towards graduating and living on my own.

The first was a weeklong(-ish) afternoon Personal Finance Program set-up by the Harvard University Employees Credit Union. The subjects covered each of the four weekdays were Financial Budgeting and Planning, Personal Credit, Personal Insurance and Taxes, and Investing.

 

After a continental breakfast (much needed coffee and bagels at 9:30am), we received lectures from experts on personal finance as well as practice making our own budgets, choosing insurance plans, and credit cards among others. The information on personal credit was of particular interest as I’m currently looking into starting to build my credit now, as was the investing day for potential use in the future.

 

One more of the career oriented side, I participated in three different events put on by the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) and the Office of Career Services (OCS) oriented towards understanding jobs in food and wine. These events were led by Harvard alum Cathy Huyghe, wine-writer and contributor to WGBH—part of NPR and the Public Broadcasting for Boston.

The first event was an evening on wine writing where we learned to understand all the sensory aspects to wine (including sight, texture, taste, small) and history to allow us to write about wine more creatively. After my experience on the wine tasting tour in Santa Barbara, this was a great way to integrate the skills I learned in sensory description of wine into creative writing. Of all the wines tasted that night I found my favorite to be this Argentinean Malbec that elicited a strongly smoky smell and brought forth an interesting history of how foodways changes with cultural adaptation (Malbec being originally a French grape).

 

The next day was an amazing experience. For the first time I took the commuter rail from Harvard Square to Concord, MA where we were led on a tour of recently opened restaurant by HBS alum (Ian Calhoun) and his partner, 80 Thoreau. Carolyn Johnson (former Chef-de-Cuisine at Rialto) is the head chef for this quaint upscale restaurant on the second story of the station, overlooking small shops and quite streets. Calhoun and his partner Vincent Vela were incredible informative and friendly in telling all of us about how to open a restaurant and what its like running a business. My own future endeavors I hope one day will lead me towards opening a restaurant/bar and the information I learned was enlightening.

 

After that we proceed back to Harvard Office of Career Services for the Harvard Food and Wine Internship and Job fair. There were a number of interesting opportunities I look forward to applying to in the next few weeks both during school and after. I’ll keep you updated as the career moves proceed. For now, I’ll enjoy the first days of snow with the last free weekend before classes start.

 

~Natalie

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1 comment

  1. Inesa Karalnik’s avatar

    Wow i did not know you guys have so much snow. When i went to University (not Harvard) they did not teach us about personal finances and i ended up making financial mistakes which could have been avoided if i had been given the knowledge. I do wonder if Harvard has always been offering financial education or just in the past couple of years? In any case thumbs up for that. The value of this information is priceless and will spare you many mistakes. Making connections is also a great way to learn. I enjoyed reading about your wine testing experience as well. It reminded me my own trip to France where i had a similar opportunity.
    Take it from someone who is no longer a student. Life is so wonderful when you are in school. I seriously begin to believe my University years were one of the best years of my life. The connections you make may last you a lifetime.

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