Legion. An amalgamated journal.

An uncharacteristically pessimistic post

Where there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1844 – 1921)

I reemerge from my long Legion hibernation with this quote.  For one, because I  think it is wonderful and wise, summing up a lot of my worldview.  But two, because it gets at the heart of a matter that’s been troubling me as of late: senior thesis culture.

What is this Harvard culture that tells us a senior thesis is the be-all-end-all, the trump card over any previous commitments and a most legitimate of excuses?  Our house library is a mess of books and trash, but we seniors implore the rest of the dorm to forgive our sins for the next few weeks.  Friends (acquaintances?) have insisted they haven’t time to head out for a run together, or to go to an interesting talk, or to meet and discuss details of an upcoming spring break excursion, but insist that this will change “post March 19.”

I’ll be the first to admit that I myself am guilty of this to some degree, in recent weeks reluctantly sacrificing some other parts of my life to work on “The Big T.”  But that we as seniors feel justified in using thesis as an excuse to skip everything else in life—meetings, meals with friends, casual strolls between classes, classes themselves—must mean we don’t hold these other elements of our lives in particular regard.  We still need to eat!  We can’t  work all the time!

I guess what I really fear is that thesis crunch time exposes a more fundamentally troubling fact about Harvard:  the superficial nature of many of our commitments and relationships in this ambitious, Type-A-filled place.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore (most of) Harvard.  But I’m troubled by the culture that has emerged as of late, both for what it indicates about my own priorities and what it demonstrates about the value we have learned in this institution.  Because truly, where there is love, there is time.  And surely we love more than just our latest academic endeavors.

Spring Greeney

March 8th, 2009 at 10:10 am

But perhaps you disagree

No responses so far

The room is, as yet, filled with smoke and apprehension.