After a week of classes, activities, seeing old friends, and making new ones, I can honestly say that I'm glad to be back at Harvard for the summer. Admittedly I was not initially very excited to be taking summer classes. I would be back at the place that had been the bed of so much stress, worry, and sleepless nights during the school year - the place from which I had been so eager to take a break.
But there is something distinctly different about being on campus during the summer. With beautiful weather bringing out the best in people, new summer school students from around the world, a smaller living area, and no extra-curricular obligations clogging the schedule, the campus has a different feel.
I also didn't realize just how often I would run into friends who would also be on campus. With more leisurely time, I find myself stopping and chatting for 20 minutes at a time with people I see around the square. I've seen most all of my besties, roomies, and blockmates (people I live with during the year). We all have studies, lab work, or research, but it's so nice to be able to hang out with folks, without the normal semester stresses. No pressure to be two places at once, or overwhelming homework constantly nagging in the back of your mind; you're allowed to just socialize, connect, and enjoy the company of others.
Some days are impossible to replicate during the semester. Last Wednesday, having successfully gotten my morning exercise, I put on a fun summer dress and headed to get my free birthday sundae from J.P. Licks ice cream, intending to spend the afternoon doing my assigned reading while lounging out in Harvard yard. I wound up catching up with friends in the yard, and in the midst of conversation was spotted by a pair of photographers doing an article on summer street style. I ended the evening at an impromptu movie viewing, and afterwards, as a few of us walked and talked our way back to the dorms on that warm summer night, I realized that after three years of toiling away in the library and bonding with classmates over college struggles, these were the joys I could only experience here and now.
I'm excited to see what the summer will bring. I'm excited to be getting off campus and bursting through the seemingly impermeable campus "bubble" that is ever-present during the school year. And I'm excited to be able to fully experience the city of Boston and fully enjoy the company of college friends. I do have to get back to that assigned reading though.