Daniel Um – Indy Senior Reflection


Daniel Um – Indy Senior Reflection

One Lap Complete, Many More to Go


Harvard College is an odd place where exceptional students arrive from all over the world to ‘sprint’ for four years just to stay average. As an international student from Manila, Philippines attending a college comprised of 90% domestic students and 33% legacy, it was easy to feel as if everyone had Harvard figured out much better than I had. Navigating Harvard’s exorbitant red-tape, the overwhelming number of opportunities and the seemingly uncaring administration made the whole experience simultaneously both exciting and frustrating. However, the key to my sanity was clinging onto the pockets of Harvard that were substantial, genuine, and cultivating.

Attending the activities fair, there were so many organizations that aligned with aspects of my personality and interests. However, amidst the entangled mess of club members, shouting over each other in the quad lawn and handing out flyers with dates and times for first comp meetings, I left feeling more confused than when I came. However, I attended a few of these comp meetings and quickly realized that some of these clubs were transactional while others were communities. The Indy struck me as a group of people who authentically wanted to hear what you had to say and encouraged writers to hone their voice, rather than fit a mold. Indy filled a journalistic niche that allowed for more in-depth and lively pieces, while delivering on the key news stories at the forefront of campus consciousness.

After completing the comp as a writer, I was encouraged to transition to the business board because the nature of the work interested me and there was a gap that needed filling. I quickly learned about the different aspects of the ‘business’ side of journalism such as publishing, fundraising, and bookkeeping. Furthermore, by taking on projects like the Indy Playbook and digitizing the Indy’s accounting, I felt proud to make my modest impact in an organization with such great historical significance and illustrious alumni. I am and always grateful to the Indy for being a cornerstone in my college experience.

While I am definitely going to miss my time here at Harvard, I liken my experience here to that of a relay race ran by many different parts of myself. While one is exhausted, having just completed a four year lap both thrilling and challenging, another is ready and has been waiting to start the next path anew. It is with great pleasure that I congratulate the class of 2019 here at the Indy and all over campus and look ahead to life beyond the houses of Harvard.

Daniel Um ’19 (danielum@college.harvard.edu) looks ahead to life as a Harvard and Indy alum.