This summer I attended the Harvard University Summer Program. This program gives hard-working high school juniors and seniors a chance to experience college living while gaining valuable knowledge and meeting dozens of people from all around the country. Undergraduate credits are also earned. These credits can easily be transferred at the beginning of freshman year in college. I studied archaeology and photography. I found the instruction in both subjects was superb. Jack Leuders-Booth, my photography professor was especially helpful and insightful while instructing me on how to take better pictures and criticizing my work.
The library system is incomparable to anything I have ever encountered and seems paralleled only by the Library of Congress. There is a helpful computerized card catalog system containing recent books in the Harvard libraries. Widener Library is by far the most immense of the libraries. It is both comprehensive and picturesque. The card catalog room in Widener by itself is the size of the entire library at my school. The other specialized libraries are also comprehensive. In particular, Tozzer Library (the anthropology library) has one of the best selections of anthropology books, and the most helpful staff, of any of the libraries I used.
Both the athletic and classroom facilities at Harvard were superb. The audiovisual equipment was great and the computer centers were truly world class. Many of the computer centers were open 24 hours a day, great for late night term paper writers and game players alike. There are plenty of Macintosh and IBM computers, and even when the computer centers are full, one can usually access a computer within a short time.
Most of the students I met had something of interest to share. Since they came from all parts of the country, I learned something new every day. The professors were quite helpful and readily approachable. There were open office hours after each class when students could spend time reviewing their work with the professors, or just chat. By the middle of the summer, both my professors knew me by name, and a little about me. This was one of the most impressive aspects of the the summer program.
One of the most memorable moments during my summer study was the "moment of truth," right before my final examination in archaeology. This was the first time I had taken an actual college final. Other memorable times were spending the night playing games in the computer center, exploring Boston and Cambridge with my roommates and friends, and the "Last Supper" at the Union. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.