By Esther Grace Ehrenman
Going to Harvard feels like going to Hogwarts: every building looms majestically above the landscape. Thick tree trunks punctuate the brick-and-marble landscape, with their lacy leaves intertwining to hide the blue sky in Harvard Yard. Students from all over the world interact, their accents blending into an unforgettable soundscape. Harvard, I must conclude, is magical.
After seven weeks here, I should have earned 8 credits in two masters-level international relations courses. Although I’m taking graduate level credit, I’m a 19-year-old rising senior at a tiny school in Virginia — Patrick Henry College. The barrage of reading, writing, and group assignments should mean that I have no time to spare.
My hope, however, is to mix social and academic learning. My courses teach me about Russia, China, and East Asia. The mixture of people here, and the beautiful scenery, teaches me even more about the wonder of human nature and human imagination. Already, I have met students from Brazil, Russia, Britain, Malaysia, Dubai, and many more nations. One of my friends has two master’s degrees and is almost finished with his PhD. Another friend from Mexico studies biotechnology here, conducting experiments. I feel out of my depth, since everyone has accomplished much and speaks multiple languages. The academic intensity and the wonder of meeting new people expands my mind.
The magic of Harvard lies in its unifying power. Students cram a semester’s worth of learning into less than two months, bonding over common academic challenges. I cannot wait to see what the next six weeks hold as I solidify new friendships and plow through schoolwork. What better place to learn than Boston’s real-life Hogwarts?
About the columnist: Esther Grace, a rising senior, is studying government at Patrick Henry College. She has written for PHC’s international affairs journal for 3 years, been published in the “Harvard Gazette,” and plans to achieve her master’s degree at Harvard Extension School in International Relations. In her spare time, she runs, writes novels, and pretends to be a coffee connoisseur.