homecoming: collegiate version

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Season Three of the Tell Me More podcast explores how Coming Home differs amongst Harvard undergraduates.

By MARISSA GARCIA

 

Hostility toward camera flash is a defense mechanism quickly developed by Harvard students. In order to hasten to class in time, we must maneuver around the congregations of tourists photographing Widener Library. During a typical on-my-way-to-Latin rerouting-rush through Tercentenary Theatre, a question arose in the recesses of my mind… when had I ever taken a moment to ask for my own picture in front of Widener? Pausing for a moment on campus to take a photo that was not purposely unartistic — perhaps for  Snapchat — was taboo, destined to cause a flush of red to the cheeks if a familiar face happened to cross paths with you at the same time of the photographing… after all, why would we take pictures of our daily sights?

I did not realize how deliberate the act of Coming Home would feel, but having five weeks off with no coursework was an opportunity. With limited time in a place where my stay once felt limitless, what would I choose to do? After four months away from home, what would be most important to me to revisit now that I was back? Certainly I was different, but the place was the same, and reflection would be the only guarantee of reconciliation.

Home to me is Anaheim, California, the hub of Disneyland. It is a tradition that I venture to Downtown Disney with my parents every holiday season, and this year I extended this tradition to my friends as well. We found ourselves in front of a Christmas tree that has surely been up every year but that I have never felt compelled to immortalize by snapping a photo of it — and yet, here we were, asking a passerby to photograph us standing in front of it.

I thought of Widener.

I realized then that the most important thing that I do when I go home is the Reversal of Roles. After being the young adult in the dorm I once again become the child of the house. From Memorial Church bell listener I become the Disneyland fireworks spectator. From distant graduate of Ralston Intermediate I become one walking through its hallways once again, whilst having the opportunity to speak with students about college. And from photo-avoider I became a photo-participant, perhaps the most surprising departure from my on-campus persona.

Coming Home is amorphous and nebulous and ever-changing, and certainly something of variance amongst each Harvard student. In my first season as Podcast Editor, I am hungry for stories about Home, so, Season Three’s question is: What is the most important thing to you to do when you go home?

And though we often stride past the landmarks of Harvard, failing to capture this place  in our own photos, Tell Me More’s mission is  not just to stride past the faces of Harvard, but to pause, to capture, and to record the stories of our students.

Our first episode features Cengiz Cemaloglu ‘18, who has pursued a joint concentration in Anthropology and Government. His home may now be Currier House, but Istanbul, Turkey was the home to which he returned this past winter break — other locales of his life include the Soviet Union and Hong Kong. His interview proves that Home does not need to be a singular entity but can be a conglomerate of cultures and even items. He says, “I look into memorabilia of the past, like some letters that were written to me, or some childhood toys, or a book that I read a couple years ago, or some book that I saw my mom reading when I was twelve…[I]  connect with those objects and then remember the past through them.”

If you know someone here on campus who has a story of Home that is either intricately detailed or sweetly simple — please do nominate them to be featured on the podcast by contacting [email protected]

 

Our podcast Tell Me More is available on your podcast app, SoundCloud, and at harvardindependent.com/podcast.

 

Marissa Garcia ([email protected]) sometimes gets the feeling that Coming Home can be as simple as striding into Lamont Library.