Monday, November 22, 2021

[CAMBRIDGE] Harvard Campus Tour


I guess there was a time in the life of every grade conscious high school student when he or she wanted to go to Harvard. At least from my generation. Whether you actually had the means or it’s just part of your dreams didn’t matter. It was the goal. Don’t blame us, though. While our parents’ generation defined success by being married in their 20’s, having a roof over their head, and sending their children to school, us the children were taught to measure it by going after curriculum vitae fodder that looks good on paper. Harvard would be nice but for all of us mere mortals, UP, Ateneo or La Salle would do.


To some extent I haven’t really shaken off that generational quirk, and as embarrassing as it is to admit, I still live by those standards. Bad habits are not easy to unlearn, children. But Harvard for me has long been the ship that already sailed, never to come back. If for the purposes of daydreaming I’d have to conjure an Ivy League for post-grad studies, I’ve realized that it’s either Brown or UPenn that actually offers the field of discipline I am interested in. And yet, even that remains but a dream for now. Dreams, like priorities, also do change.


But let’s talk about Harvard. Why here? Why now? Well, visiting Ivy League campuses had been a good way to beef up my US map via side trips from New York. Before the pandemic hit I was able to visit the campuses of Princeton, Yale, and Brown, effectively crossing out New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island on my map. For Massachusetts, Boston on its own should be interesting enough but why stop now, right? After all, Harvard is just what, five subway stations away from downtown via the Red Line?


Staying at Lower Roxbury, I could have also just opted for the 66 bus and avoided Boston downtown altogether, but I was in an exploring mood. I guess that’s one thing I am loving here, the variety of options for public transportation. Suffice it to say, Harvard is very accessible wherever you are in Boston. I took the subway going and the bus coming back. All good, no hassles. Going before lunch did not pose any problems as there are many restaurants in the vicinity. Harvard, I’m beginning to love your campus!


I guess Harvard wins the most accessible campus award in my book, although Princeton still remains to be my favorite campus among the four Ivy League universities I have visited to date. Harvard has the requisite old school buildings, some of which have been present since the 1600’s when the first college was established. You will never run out of red and orange brick façades here. As with most campuses here in the States, most of the buildings occupy a large area with some disappearing altogether within the city, in this case, Boston's urban sprawl.


That’s probably the reason why I never saw that photo ubiquitous on Google when you key in HARVARD. You know, that one with the white columns and the red dome? Or was it gold? I found out on my way back home while already on the bus that it was right across the sports stadium after crossing the river closer to the Boston side. Given the cold weather, I no longer decided to get off just to take a photo. I believe I’ve taken enough for the day anyway.


If you want to do it like I did, get off at the Red Line’s Harvard station en route to Alewife. Emerging from underground, you will find yourself sandwiched between Harvard Yard and Harvard Square, in front of Charles Sumner’s statue. From there, you can just enter the gate to the grassy center of the university campus and then get lost heading north where you will find the museum, the Law School, Sanders Theater, the Science Center, etc. If it's Harvard Business School and the stadium you are looking for, then cross the bridge and head south towards Lower Allston or get on the 66 bus if it’s too cold.


If you are not interested in the university campus at all, Cambridge itself is teeming with history and you will find info boards all over Cambridge Common as to how the place started out as a small town, its role in the American Revolution, etc.

[CAMBRIDGE] Harvard Campus Tour

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