How Can Help You To Get A Date?

If you are looking for your dream partner, the excellent option available to you is to get the help of a matchmaking website. Among many such portals available over the web, has gained utmost popularity as many weddings were successfully completed with the help of the matches made through this portal. Now, you might be interested in understanding how this website will help you get your date and here are the step-by-step details on how this site works and helps their members in finding the right partner for themselves.

Start your profile:

You can register your profile using promo code from The matchmaking process in starts with telling the website about yourself and also by informing them about the person you are looking for. The site will use the information that you provide to help you with finding the great match. Besides providing you the opportunity in finding the right partner, the website also provides an opportunity to other people looking for a person like you to be the part of their life. So, all you have to do is to initially create a profile about yourself in this website and of course, you can post your photos as well.

Start searching:

With the help of the most useful search tool provided by, you will be in a position to find people based on different factors. Yes, you can use any of the factors like location, age, background, interest and even many other filters for searching the right individual for you. You can freely search for the largest collection of profile and the most diverse community of singles through this online dating portal.

Start getting matches:

When you are in the process of searching for the appropriate person for you, each day the website will send you profiles of personalized matches through mail. With the experience of this website in matchmaking for more than a decade, they are able to identify the most suitable profiles and will send 5 of them each day for you to compare and to arrive at your decision.

Start connecting:

With all these features, if you have arrived at an individual, whose profile finds to be matching your preferences, you can start your conversation with the individual. Once you are ready to start the conversation, you can just send a wink or an email or chat message to invite the person. The chat conversation will give you a better idea of the individual, and there are also chances that it will help you in making a better judgment as to whether the person will be suitable for you.

The above-mentioned process is followed by for helping singles to find their right life partner to take their life to the next level. Previously it was stated the marriages are made in heaven, but now marriages are decided through Just provide the opportunity to the website to find a suitable partner for you, by registering yourself with the portal.

Top 3 Dating Advice For Women From Men

You might have come across the popular saying that reads that ‘no enemy is worse than bad advice.’ Yes, when you have decided your first date with a male partner, you might surely be interested in gathering some useful tips on what men expect and how to take your relationship eternal. Rather than getting some useful tips from a lady, the best thing you can do is to get some advice from a man as men alone knows what other men think as compared to women. So, here are some useful dating tips from a man for all those ladies planning for their dating:

1. Be yourself:
Women alone think that they should be the universe for their men. But, men generally hate this type of approach from women. So, do not let a man become the focal point of your universe. When you do this, rather than increasing his desire and interest towards you, he will lose interest as he will feel smothered. Men generally expect their lady to be dynamic with their own interests and passions in life and want them to make a part of their lady’s life. Men generally are attracted towards women, who are confident, and they love interdependence approach as against their lady wholly relying on them. So, never miss out your own appointments and stick to them, he will actually love it.

2. Some men are hesitant about commitment:
You might have decided just within a couple of meetings that he is going to be your man. But, you cannot expect him to arrive at such quick decisions. Some men are really afraid of commitments, but once they are committed, they wish to stick to it as much as possible. He might question whether you really want to be in a relationship with him or with some other person. So, besides giving him some time to decide, you should also take the time to decide whether he is the right person for you to take up the relationship to eternity.

3. Do not call him all the time, let him call you:
You might be thinking he might love getting calls and texts from you. But, in reality, men generally do not want their lady to keep calling and texting, and they want the communication to be balanced. If you both are interested in each other, there will be a natural balance in the level of communication. Rather than calling him again and again, give him a chance to call to show his interest towards you. If you feel guilty that you are frequently calling him, just give a break; see if the call comes back. If yes, it is really wonderful, if it does not move on mate! You will get someone, who loves to keep in touch with you always.

Besides these things, you should not assume that you are exclusive as men simply hate this type of attitude. So, let your relationship blossom!

It Takes More Than Biceps of a God

Now, to many a folk at Harvard University, it may seem like being a virgin at Harvard makes perfect sense being that there are enough socially awkward and romantically inept people to even make Pewee Herman look like a ladies man. However, I honestly hope that I am neither socially awkward (although occasionally awkward certainly applies) or romantically inept (I do get the occasionally hook-up in here and there). And yes, YES, I swear that I am pretty normal. I am not unattractive to the point of making anyone’s eyes bleed. I am a varsity athlete as well as a member of one of the many social clubs here on campus and really have no trouble approaching people, making friends, or getting low on the dance floor in the basement of a certain finals club.

Now it may be hard to believe at this point that I am in fact not saving myself for marriage or true love’s first kiss or any of the noble causes for which many wear the belt of purity or chastity. I am one of those girls who reaches that point of “Yo, should I put on a condom?”, and it just doesn’t feel right. Yes, I am one of those girls—the girl that confidently asks him to dance, may or may not blow his mind with my skills, and then seduces him a little bit…but once it comes down to it, I guess I’m just not willing to give up something I have saved for so long to some random guy even if he has the biceps of a god or hotter buns than a fresh cinnamon roll.

I want to be pursued. I want to be taken out somewhere other than the Kong. I want to be texted at an hour that doesn’t suggest that I am a booty call. I want someone to spoon with me on my uncomfortable piece of shit futon and watch random TV movies on a Saturday night. I want to give my virginity to a kick ass guy.

The closer and closer I get to just asking some hunk of a man to have his way with me, the more I realize that I really want to give myself to someone in the right way for the right reasons. Yeah, I’d like to be exclusive. I’ve really only got one virginity. Only one guy can have the pretty sweet knowledge that he deflowered the hell of out me. It would suck balls if I got preggo or chalk full of STDs cus I gave my virginity to an asshole.

With the knowledge that college will eventually end, and guys in college aren’t necessarily looking to wait for a virgin to be ready, I am becoming more content with the idea that hey, it’s okay if I stay a virgin in college. As awful as it seems to some or how heinously against the nature of college as it may be, I have waited this long—what’s a little while longer?

What Was the Hipster: An Interview

How are you recording this?” This was the first question asked in my recent interview with writer, professor, and editor/co-creator of n+1, Mark Grief.  I had been anxiously awaiting the interview, double-checking everything, and doing hours of research and here my interviewee was helping me through the basics. It may have just been the professor side of Grief, but it seemed like he was giving me a lesson on how to interview in a very open and lighthearted way rather than an interview on his newest book.

Grief has an impressive rap sheet. He graduated summa cum laude from our very own Harvard, got a PhD from Yale (we can forgive him this), studied literature at Oxford, co-created the literary magazine n+1, and is currently a professor at the New School University in New York City.  To add to this, he has recently published a book entitled What Was the Hipster: A Sociological Investigation. We called him and learned about his opinions on the book, the hipster, our generation, and the Hist and Lit concentration at Harvard.

Why did you choose the hipster for the subject of the panel and then the book?

The word hipster is pretty light; it’s still kind of a funny topic. Even when we were working on it, it felt light. What is serious about it is that it provides you a way into the topics that people talk about in often a very dry way: like gentrification, stratification, or inequality. These are the words that sociologists would use to try and describe how the culture justifies people having very unequal wealth and very unequal opportunities in America. What interests me about hipsters is that they do provide a kind of light way in, but also a way in that lets you immediately use the skills that you know so well. These skills are from daily interaction about how your friends act or how strangers act. They evolve into some of the most fundamental ideas about the class system in America. About how people who are super privileged, even if it is just by going to Harvard, deal with that privilege. Whether that be by justifying it or trying to use it to make the country a little better for everybody. That’s what’s nice about it; it’s a subject that allows people to use what they already know to think about these deep volcanic forces of culture and economy.

What does the word hipster usually imply?

The word hipster was used in a pejorative way to differentiate people that strived for cool but in a way that was false, inauthentic, or in bad taste. The reason I say “was” the hipster here and in the book was twofold. Partly I wanted to annoy people. I wanted to provoke them, so that people would think historically. We were trying to think of a history, to see what had gone before it, to give it some definitions rather than playing the game of a lot of novels of how to be a hipster. They are joke books that try to please you by pointing out the different trends that mark the group at any particular moment. By putting the book in the past tense I wanted people to look at it as they would look at any historical subculture.

But now, people who are quite young are starting to call themselves hipsters, or use the term in a neutral or positive way. That is really different from the way the word has functioned for a long time. It has always functioned as a way of ruling people out.

So what exactly is or was the hipster?

There were these identifiable groups that we now call hipsters who wore a characteristic set of markers of clothing: the trucker hat, the giant buckle belt, the strange mustache. Those markers have changed. So we begin to ask what is the hipster? What are the signs of hipster-dom? How and why can we identify them? Is it a way of identity? Is it a subculture? Is it a movement?

Indeed this seems to be the topic that makes everyone I know angry, even people whom you would think would be completely indifferent to it. Everyone feels uncomfortable or implicated and so it seemed like the hot button topic. And I was very curious to figure out why everyone got so upset.

And why does everyone get upset?

It started to become clear that it association with hip and with the taste that knows ahead of time what is cool. It’s the ability to tell what is cool, not because you’ve learned it but because of some inner superiority of knowledge or taste. That’s something that I think a variety of people, and probably everyone you and I know, use as a way of positioning themselves in the social world.  It turns that the basic phenomena of hip taste or hipster taste is the way that they allow themselves to feel good about who they are often in relation to things they can’t have, deficits they can’t get rid of. Once you start questioning it, it’s as if you’re calling everyone’s bluff, including our own. A key part of the project, for me and the other writers of the book, was to make sure we weren’t exempting ourselves or making accusations that we weren’t prepared also to level at ourselves.

In the book, one of the panelists talks about hipsters in terms of a global culture. Is hipster a global term?

That the word and the style have gone global can be found in Mexico City and Moscow. It also turns out that in America it has become something you can buy in the shopping mall, something you can pick up at Hot Topic. Once you get that type of mainstreaming it’s certainly going to challenge the people who were drawn to the culture, or its exclusivity, to do something else. What’s funny about the hipster phenomenon is that it seems to be a phenomenon that can’t be co-opted because it is already committed to a commercial culture, to just buying stuff. It’s the first “pre-co-opted” culture.

So the hipster was more a consumer group than a political movement?

It had a lot of the markers of a rebellious anti-authority youth culture, but really its values were ultimately in line with authority and with buying. This looked like youth culture: a bunch of young people sitting around looking angry. I’d see the bars and cafes, but all the things that are central to a counter culture were missing. You wouldn’t see the vegan cookie baking classes or even artists. Instead there seems to be a lot of people selling products.  They were very artismal products, but they would be selling Nike sneakers that somebody had drawn on. Then Nike would cobrand them. That led to a lot of anger. Because they are picking up the markers that anywhere else would spell out that you don’t like Nike because of the labor problems. But here you are simply trying to make them seem cool.

Do you think this idea of trying to be an individual is always going to be seen as just being a poser now or will it ever be cool again?

I think that the sense of the hipster is truly pejorative and this is where the word is just synonym of poser, faker, or hanger on. This, I do think, is permanent that people in so far as we continue to live in a world of cool. A world  where people try to identify themselves as special in this democratic culture, and in this mass market culture by getting ahead a little bit.

Subculture seems to be a way to identify yourself in this massmarket culture. Is this our subculture and what does that mean for our future? 

I ask myself what subcultures seem to matter now. It seems the really meaningful and unexplained subculture phenomenon of our time is the hipster. A big part of the book was trying to do the kind of history that we just inherit or read as homework, but about the moment we actually live in. Where we can confirm our thoughts or disprove them by actually following through with what we think and listening to our intuition about what’s true or false.

I also think that there are still continuous genuinely antiauthority and genuinely rebel subcultures which exist of your moment. There is a kind of rebel anarchist bicycle culture that continues to amaze me. And the world of freegans, these vegans who only want to dumpster dive for food, continues to amaze me and I admire it. But clearly there is a whole world of antiauthority, environmental, feminist, vegan, anti-capitalist, bicycle riding, organic farming and I don’t even know what else is your generation’s subculture.

What would you like readers to take away from the book?

I’d like readers to take away from the book a principle that we tried to incarnate in n+1, though it isn’t always obvious: The tools of analysis you learn in school aren’t just for school, they’re for helping you to understand the things that befuddle and trouble you on the street, in a bar, with your family, watching TV, etc.  Maybe Harvard students already know this without having to hear it.  But I’d rather people not feel that we discovered an answer to the enigma of “the hipster” in this book (nor is there just one, anyway), but that we made people’s lives more interesting and graspable by trying to show how a few different people tried hard to think it through.

This book is a classic Hist and Lit project. It takes a present day problem, something that lots of people talk about, and adds a historical background. This is very much in the tradition of the things I was taught in history and literature. I can imagine previewing this in front of my Hist and Lit tutors fifteen years ago… and I’d like to think that they would be pleased with it.

Intrigue and Ivy: An Interview with Lauren Kunze

Meet Lauren Kunze, author of The Ivy, a young adult novel that follows Callie Andrews, (a California brain with beauty), through her freshman year at Harvard. Think First Chance Dance, Fifteen Minutes comp, Hasty Pudding punch, and of course, a dreamy upperclassman.

Can we start off by talking a bit about your time at Harvard?
Sure! I was in Wigglesworth as a freshman, majored in English and did a neurobiology minor. I came intending to row crew, but I had a back injury. I started the first year of college in physical therapy and realized that I wasn’t going to play sports again. At that point I started running a lot, writing, and working on school.

When you were in school, did you want to be a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer, but I also always wanted to be an actress. They are kind of similar dream jobs that I didn’t really think I could do. Part of this book was an experiment to see if I could support myself writing…see if I could do it.

Where did the idea for The Ivy come from?
This girl in my class wrote a book called How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life. It’s about a girl who wants to go to Harvard, but at her interview she’s asked, “What do you do for fun?” and she can’t answer the question. So, the rest of the book is about her learning how to have fun and get kissed and get popular. So that was her book, and it was a big deal, and the movie rights had been sold. It début on the New York Times Bestseller list, however, a few weeks later it came out that it was largely plagiarized. Anyways, long story short, my roommate Rina and I were sitting around in our room junior year, and Rina was like, “Oh, I wonder how hard it would be to write a book, maybe you could do that.” And I was like, “Yeah! Maybe I could do this…we could do this together and it would be fun.”

We started talking about stories that had happened to us and people we knew. Senior year we were really intent on “We can’t leave school without having done something great…we need to start a company, or something”…you know what I mean? A lot of people don’t wait to leave school to do something great.

There was an editor from Little Brown who came to give a talk to English majors. One girl raised her hand and asked if he ever accepted manuscripts. He said no, but also “If anyone gets my personal email address and sends me a very interesting letter, I’ll read it.” I went to him after the talk and said, “I’m going to need your personal email address because I’m going to send you an interesting letter.”

Rina and I sent him this pitch (we hadn’t written any of the book yet). He wrote back and was very interested. He had forwarded it to someone else who asked for the first three chapters, and Rina and I were like, “Crap, we have to write the first three chapters.”

I was writing a thesis at the time, so my life was consumed, but I put it aside for a week and wrote the first three chapters. And then she didn’t answer. A few months later I got a letter from her assistant saying, “It was a little too “YA” for us.” (Writer note – YA means “Young Adult”)

I thought, that’s it, I can’t write. Then, another letter came along from someone from the young adult division wrote to us, and we sent her the first three chapters. Again, no response. At this point we were about to graduate. I finally cracked and email her and said, “Well, I’m assuming you’re not interested, but if you have any feedback, I’d really like to hear it.” She actually wrote me back with some really good feedback, and based on that, I was like, OK, I’ll see what I did wrong and that was my first time, and I’ll take some time this summer and really write it.

At this point Rina was in Turkey pursing a finance job. I had been admitted to grad school at Oxford and Cambridge, and told them both I was coming (which was bad), but by the end of the summer I was like, “Uh, It’s really expensive, and I’m not sure I want another year of school…I’m going to finish this and see what happens.”

So, I did finished it, and because of the previous experience, I wanted to get an agent. I got an agent in December, and she sold it in March, and that was it. And there’s three more coming.

What was the writing dynamic like between you and Rina?

We came up with the fundamental concept, characters, and storyline together. Then, I do the writing, and she’s like my point person. I send her stuff and she adds details and comments about things like, “What does this character’s voice sound like?” I think the bulk of the collaboration happened while we were both still at school, since we really spent the whole year about funny stuff that had happened.

What were some great classes you took at Harvard?

Justice was really a memorable class. I took it my sophomore year…it’s an amazing experience, not just a class. We would always sit in the back, and there was always a lot of intrigue going on that had little to do with the class….

In the book, Callie has many different experiences with the Harvard social scene, specifically the Hasty Pudding Social Club punch. Could you talk a little bit about your personal experience with the final clubs scene at Harvard?

So, Rina was in the Pudding and the Bee, and I was in neither. I did punch everything. For me, it wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to do. Also, the Pudding is its own special world. The Pudding of the book is kind of different form the Pudding of reality, same thing with the FM of the book. I was talking with a former editor of The Crimson, and he was like, “Was this your experience with FM in reality?” No. It’s very far from reality. I said, “I don’t mean this in a disparaging way, but the FM of the book is this extremely widely read, very powerful magazine, that a lot of people want to be a part of…that’s not necessarily my experience of FM in reality. Same thing with the Pudding. In the book it’s this thing that’s really cool. I’m not sure if that’s what most Harvard people consider in reality. I’m very on the fence with how I feel about having a set group of friends. I think there can be both good and bad things about it…It’s not that long ago, but when I was a sophomore there was only the Isis and the Bee…when those were the only two, they were looking for a very narrow set of people.

I feel like I would love to be in a male finals club because I would just want a social space that’s not a gross, smelly, house party, and have a space to hang out with people that I wouldn’t necessarily hang out with through other things.

In the book you talk about some infamous Harvard parties (Calpso, Mad Hatter, etc.)…do you have any memories of parties that really stood out?
Well, Calpso was actually the first party that Rina and I went to freshman year. Rina knew an upperclassman, so we were somehow invited…we stole this inflatable pink flamingo. We were on our way home, then we heard music coming from The Spee. We didn’t know what it was, but we were like, “Oh, there’s another party.” There was a senior at the door who was like, “Are you on the list?” We said, “No, but our friend Trevor the flamingo is!” He said, “Oh, come on in.”

Also, Great Gatsby at The Fly…we crashed it freshman year. It was really awkward actually, because it’s a really strict date event. So, everyone was like, “Where are your dates?” and we were like, “My date’s in the bathrooooom…..” Obviously though, the parties in the book are exaggerated for fiction.

The best party I went to in all of college was at MIT actually. Those MIT know how to plan and execute. They applied their engineering knowledge to engineer this party to perfection.

As a Harvard grad, what are your thoughts on the “Harvard allure” evident in our popular culture (*cough, Social Network, cough*)?

I mean, I think it’s something that people are interested in hearing about…It’s definitely true that the fact that the book takes place at Harvard is very important, but honestly, I just wrote about what I knew and my experience. There’s a lot of fodder for fiction material.

Have you gotten any flack for writing in this genre that some may consider “fluffy” and you are a Harvard grad, or have people been pretty supportive?

So, nobody’s actually criticized me to my face or been like, “Why didn’t you do something more high brow?” A Publishers’ Weekly review said something like, “Just because a book is about Harvard doesn’t mean it has to be smart.” The thing is I read obsessively what people are saying, and I thought I would care a lot more about it, but it’s all so different that it’s kind of hard to let any one thing get you down….It’s not meant to be great literature, it’s meant to be fun, and I will have succeeded if the reader felt entertained and engaged.

The book is about the class of 2014; the real class of 2014 just arrived, do you have any advice for them?

I think it’s good to embrace discomfort. Try things you shouldn’t normally do. Hang out with people you wouldn’t normally meet. Take a class that seems way out of your element. Don’t wait for the most comfortable thing you can do.

Last question…how many of the three things you’re supposed to do before you graduate did you do?
One…The best one.

Note: Keep your eye out for the next book in The Ivy series, Secrets.

Costumes to Die For

Halloween is soon. You’ve been swamped with midterms. Books, parties, and late-night trips to Felipe’s have left you sorely without the dough. How do you prepare for the raging parties coming up later this month? Here at the Voice, like always, we have you covered. Check out these ideas to save yourself from the embarrassment of dressing up as the worst costume at Harvard – a good, ol’ fashioned, pocket-protector nerd.

We know you were thinking about it.

1. Where’s Waldo? Hiding in your closet. For this one all you need is a red and white striped shirt, glasses, blue jeans and a red and white striped hat (this can be easily made using a white hat with either markers or fabric—be creative!).

2. Lazy? Be a pro- athlete! Everyone has a jersey hanging around- put it on with some warrior-esque face paint and viola you’re ready to party.

3. Why not drink some blood and walk the nights as a vampire? White make-up and glitter can make you a Cullen. Or go for the traditional look: capes and fangs are easy enough to track down and try a thrift store for a scary looking cape (typical stock at this time of year).

4. Throw on some wings and a white dress and presto! You’re an angel fallen from heaven. Too sweet for you? Put on a sexy little black dress or some classy lingerie and you’re a Victoria’s Secret angel.

5. Mario and Luigi All you need is a green or red shirt a pair of overalls… smack an M or L on your belly and you’re a Super Smash Brother!
*BONUS* Need a group costume?

Represent the good ol’ days as a box of Crayola Crayons! Take a solid color dress or shirt—make an oval and write crayon in black. Wear a matching colored party hat and you and your friends will be ready to color the world.

There you have it! A bunch of cheap, easy ideas for your Halloween-costume-lacking pleasure. Enjoy!

Letter From the Editor

While I am never one to criticize Sesame Street, I have to respectfully disagree with Kermit the Frog’s famous adage: here at The Voice, we think it is quite easy to be green. This year we are doing things a bit differently, and in the spirit of sustainability The Voice is now completely online. Though I am sure you miss seeing our pretty little faces handing out issues, you can still read the pithy witticisms, helpful advice, and provocative stories that we provide – and all from the comfort of your own Lamont cubicle!

Even as we try to reduce the impact of our carbon footprint, we are hoping to increase the impact of your voice on campus. This year, we set out to do more – to write more, to sponsor more, to involve readers more – in the hopes of giving more to the community here at Harvard. The year is long, the stories are bountiful, and the possibilities are endless, so be prepared for times of change!

This is where we start: an issue for coming back to school, for October happenings, and for things that you forgot about Harvard while you were away from the People’s Republic of Cambridge. It is the first of many, and I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as we did making it. In the meantime, relax, sit back, and peruse: welcome to the online-only Voice!

Harvard Magic: The Sparkle We Take for Granted

e go to Harvard.

The day we accepted our invitations to this college, our lives changed. We were ecstatic—on top of the world, in fact—but does this reverence fade over time? Through the February slush and April monsoons we complain: we say that we’re miserable in Cambridge. When faced with these sentiments, all it takes is one look around to remind yourself that you are at the second most magical school in the world, after Hogwarts. Whatever any complaining blockmate may have to say, no one can deny that Harvard is an elite institution with the greatest professors and the most interesting peers on this planet. It’s like the Disneyland of American universities. This year, it was advertised to newly housed freshmen that Kirkland House is “where dreams come true,” but I can just as easily believe that this phrase describes all of Harvard. No other university in the world is like ours.

So why did we choose Harvard?

There’s something to be said for the fact that our professors are pioneers in their field; they wrote the books that your friends at other schools read for their courses. Not to mention they’re the ones we see time and time again as honored guests on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report (I’m looking at you, Steven Pinker).

We also come here for the student body. Harvard students are not only driven and ambitious, but also intriguing and accomplished beyond their years. They have taken incredible journeys with unexpected stops in order to get to this school.

As freshman Ariel Mitnick said, “The best thing about being at Harvard is that this place attracts the most brilliant minds of our generation. To be surrounded with people that are accelerating to the top of their fields while also managing to have fun and enjoy life is incredible and impressive.”

Late-night conversations often bring to the table gems of life stories that you would never have heard otherwise. That one freshman year entryway-mate who circumnavigated the globe with only a backpack and a toothbrush; that down-to-earth Phi Beta Kappa Junior; that roommate who went through Hell and high-water (and probably more than one job application process) to be able to afford this place; these are the people that make me think we’re much more remarkable than some of our professors could ever hope to be.

Or maybe we come for the magic that is Harvard. The freshman dining hall that is reminiscent of the Great Hall of the kid with the lightning bolt scar, or a library system that is the envy of all other universities (and almost the United States Congress) due to its sheer size and possession of an original Gutenberg bible. Or what about the fact that upperclassmen live in “houses” rather than traditional dorms? Based on word choice alone, it is apparent that Harvard students go home at night, to a family and a community, while most college students simply return to the impersonal living quarters of a dormitory—sometimes miles away from the center of any action. We even eat as communities rather than in large, hectic dining halls someplace across campus. Think about the Peabody Museum, which houses one of America’s oldest and most expansive collections of archaeological materials in the Western Hemisphere. I won’t claim here that I’ve even scratched the surface of why Harvard attracts such interest on a worldwide scale. As the oldest college in America, it has been advancing society and forming its history and the futures of its alum for nearly 400 years.

As current students, we should take a step back and appreciate where we are. Think about the number of bricks that were placed by hand to construct the buildings in the yard. Choose a random stack in Widener, pick up an equally random book, and I dare you not to get goosebumps as you notice a check-out stamp from 1886. Look at the John Harvard statue—but really this time. As Harvard students, we love to complain about the number of tourists that snap pictures with the lucky foot at all hours of the day—but at how many other universities across the world do tourists spend at least an entire day simply walking the grounds? All clichés aside, Harvard contains a certain undeniable charisma that—like it or not—we will all miss one day. So take it in while you’re still around, ‘cause it’s not going anywhere.

From Hanoi to Harvard

Hi, my name is Michelle, and I’m from Hanoi, Vietnam. But I’m not a Communist, so don’t worry” is the shtick I use to introduce myself at Harvard. It makes people laugh, and serves my narcissistic purpose of distinguishing myself from the hundreds of short Asian girls that dominate this campus.

Behind the introduction is a long and bumpy road that led me to Harvard. In fact, I almost didn’t come. Harvard wasn’t my first choice for matriculation, but my parents thought it had better international recognition and my mother semi-blackmailed me into choosing it. Besides, they could not pronounce “Yale” despite my best efforts. It was quite difficult for my mother to brag to her gossipy neighbors about me going to “a certain famous school in the US.”

In retrospect, though, I couldn’t have made a better decision.

I have one of the most unusual and unorthodox Vietnamese families you will ever find. My father is the fifth child of a dirt-poor family with ten children in central Vietnam. He grew up in the 50s and bore witness to two major wars and political and economic turmoil in the country. With a preternatural amount of self-motivation and efforts, he went to college in Hanoi on a government scholarship, and finally earned a PhD in mechanical engineering from Germany. It is the classic rags-to-riches story that characterized my childhood and instills in me today an unquenchable sense of pride and affection for my father—to the extent that I am (perhaps too) ready to gloss over his humanly flaws and his unhealthy affinity for alcohol.

My mother is twelve years my father’s junior, and a city girl through and through. She was beautiful and carefree, had a day job as a photo model, and moonlighted as a drama actress. Yet somehow she found herself married to an older man that, at the time, had neither looks nor money on his side. If I could put a caption below my parent’s wedding pictures, it would be Beauty and the Beast,” reminiscent of the classic Disney tale. Standing next to my impeccably made-up mother, my father looked like a gorilla that had undergone a yearlong hunger strike, his horrific, shoulder-length mop of black hair overwhelming his stick thin figure even more. (Funnily enough, he now has a belly and hardly any hair at all.) For all their incompatibilities and idiosyncrasies, they actually make a good pair, like Thelma and Louise, Batman and Robin, and yes, Beauty and the Beast. But most important of all, they were and still are great parents. For one thing, they allow me to verbalize all my less-than-flattering descriptions of them and their habitual antics and actually proceed to laugh with me.

In between Hanoi and Harvard, there was Singapore. There, I spent four years in a public high school under the generous ASEAN scholarship. The opportunity came like a whirlwind. I was invited to try out on Friday night, reluctantly came to the examination on Monday after a weekend away on holiday, knew that I got in via a phone call on Tuesday night, and the papers were signed on Wednesday. Just like that, I was whizzed off to a land I hardly knew existed. I was fourteen years old, stood at 4 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed a grand total of 90 pounds. As we waited to check in at the airport, my tearful mother was still quite convinced that it was all a scam to trick young children and then sell them off to China or Africa. She reminded me over and again that should anything happen in the next day or two, just call and she would board the next flight to Singapore and escort me home. My father was stoic, as always. He believed that it was never too early to see the world and realize how minuscule I really am. As for me, I was just excited about flying for the very first time.

In the next six months or so, Singapore sprung me around and hit me hard. I came to fully realize the perils of starting a life in a foreign country all by myself without adequate preparations. I could barely speak English. The pace of life was nauseatingly fast, and I was lost. It did not help that in this country, chewing gum was banned, a legal drinking age actually existed, and a hefty fine accompanied eating and drinking on public transportation. It remained unclear to me how I managed to climb out of that muddled mess of pubescent drama, but I did. I made friends, did well in school, and graduated with a shining portfolio. Still, sometimes I found myself frightened by lonesomeness and suffocated by the rat race, and I wondered if being 1,400 miles away from home was worth it.

People often asked how I managed to adjust so fast to life in America (I suspect some had a vision of me as a Marx-spewing, flag-waving, loony Commie), and my answer always involved Singapore. I think of Singapore as a microcosm of America, a model of what America would be like if it were the size of Massachusetts and had a Chinese majority. It taught me to appreciate racial and cultural diversity, to believe in myself, and to survive by myself. Most important of all, it trained me to master the art of bullshitting my way through an essay on a topic that I knew nothing about.

Four years later, I left the Lion City one last time. I was an inch taller, fifteen pounds heavier, and a whole lot more cynical. I traded innocence for maturity and (some) wisdom. But sometimes you just want to be carefree and happy and not having to worry about everything.

As I stood inside Hanoi’s International Airport last August, waiting to board the flight to Boston, it was with familiar sights but wildly different sentiments. It would be a blatant lie to say that I was not intimidated. After all, no matter how many episodes of Sex and the City and Gossip Girl I watched, the real America still held that potential to shake me out of my core and break me into pieces.

My first year at Harvard have been marked by exhilarating highs, like seeing myself anonymously featured for the first time on HarvardFML, and embarrassing lows, like stupidly auditioning for Eleganza and spending the next hour having the last bits of self esteem sucked out of me by the parade of thin, tall, and beautiful Harvard ladies. But I did have a lot of fun. Too much fun, perhaps. I have good friends to commiserate with over looming deadlines and a much-too-crowded iCal, to party with every weekend, and to share profound thoughts and dreams over scallion pancakes at 2 a.m. in the Kong. It still amazes me sometimes that I am here, walking the historic path crisscrossing Harvard Yard, and living among the people that will some day be titans of industry and leaders of the world. I don’t know yet if I deserve my place here, or if something valuable will come out of my stint as “a Harvard kid,” but at least I know I will enjoy myself trying to find out.