Editors' Choice

David Hemenway Portrait

Locked and Loaded Against COVID-19

“I think a lot of this has to do with a fear of the indeterminacy and the effect this pandemic will have on civil society,” says  Caroline Light, a Harvard senior lecturer on studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality whose research focuses largely on Americans’ relationship to lethal self-defense. Spikes in civil gun purchases often accompany moments of uncertainty or instability, such as periods of economic distress or widespread layoffs, Light explains. “As we see the social capacities of the government eroding, we see more and more people asking this question of, ‘How am I going to survive?’”

Harvard Yard

A Springtime Storm

Until this year, the spring of 1970 appears to be the only semester in Harvard’s history during which the College offered a schoolwide pass-fail option. Now, the spring 2020 semester has become the second. The circumstances surrounding each decision, however, are more different than they are similar.

CultureHouse Visitors
Around Town

A Waiting Space

This is a CultureHouse “third space,” a place “between home and work to hang out, meet people, create, share skills, and learn,” its website states. Started in 2017, CultureHouse aims to “increase livability and joy in cities,” by designing free-to-use, public infrastructure projects that leverage vacant urban spaces, founder Aaron B. Greiner explains. The Harvard Square location is one of two temporary CultureHouse pop-ups in Cambridge; the other is in Kendall Square.

Norah Endpaper Design

You Don't Have to Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here

The parties that happened in those last five days were like corrupted versions of normal college parties. They were necessarily more debaucherous than usual, but more than that, the regular components of a party now felt discordant. The people, locations, and drinks were all the same. But as partying mutated into a four-day-long hangover, there was no distinction between a party and daily life. People spoke bluntly in a mimicry of normal, tipsy party behavior, but now they did so because nothing seemed to matter. If a conversation turned awkward or if flirtation was poorly received, there was no need to blame it on the alcohol or the atmosphere — no one would see each other for months, or maybe ever again.

Maliya Covid Portrait

Shopping for Scrubs and Other Traces of Normalcy

I’ve always been vaguely aware that my mom is an infectious disease doctor. There were little clues — medical jargon over dinner, horror stories about patients used to scare me into healthy eating, a skin rash-themed wall calendar — but on the whole, I simply thought of her as my mom, and beyond that, just perpetually busy. Now, though, her profession is not just unignorable — it’s inseparable from her identity as my mom, from her very existence.

Michelle and Sister

Where's Home?

I was running along the Charles when I first wrote the essay you are reading in my head. At first, I thought I’d touch on how having grown up as a military child influences the way I perceive the world. I imagined sharing anecdotes of driving away from a city I loved and watching it disappear in the rearview mirror, or how I learned to use the cardboard boxes as sleds in a neighborhood-wide game. But that piece was written before COVID-19 began to wreak havoc across the globe. It was the piece I had in mind before we were notified of the University’s decision to send us home, for our safety and the safety of others.

Joshua Y. Chiang
Around Town

15 Seconds of Fame

Chiang’s content highlights some of the more comical ways Harvard chooses to spend its endowment: Specifically, Chiang has garnered followers by creating videos about the vast selection of off-brand cereal in the dining halls and the mold that was growing in his dorm room in Eliot House.

sophia endpaper illustration

(Insert Name Here)

I hear hastily stifled giggles and feel my cheeks flush with shame as the class turns towards me. I am suddenly aware that I have labeled myself as different from the Sarahs and the Charlottes and the Emilys — that I have labeled myself wrongly.

Fermentophone Rosenstock
Around Town

Art's Not Dead — Just Fermenting

"Oh my Gourd! It's the... GOURD LORD."

The Wave open mic

Waves of Asian America

It is a trope in popular and academic writing alike to say that the absence of a precise definition of “Asian America” is what binds the identity together — that Asian Americans lack not only a literal common language, but also a common “language” in terms of a unifying ideology through which we can better understand each other.

Ian Spear Illustration

The Generic Glory of Gay Instagram

Glory, it seems, is pretty generic nowadays. But Ian Spear and Rex Woodbury, an Instafamous gay couple, are particularly good at glory.

Modern love

Contemporary Romance: Standoffish

It didn’t take me long after that to realize something had changed. Platonic touch had been something out of my grasp before, something that I welcomed at the moment it happened; now, it was something that I actively avoided.

Waffle house

Contemporary Romance: Scattered, Smothered, and Covered

I wish I could pinpoint what exactly it is that keeps me coming back. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that Waffle House will welcome six bleary-eyed high school seniors who can’t help but order the entire menu on a Saturday night, just as it will welcome families the next day in their Sunday best and truckers who’ve driven across countless state lines the night after that.

My sister sea

Contemporary Romance: My Sister by the Sea

No matter the age, or how many times she choked on the sea, she was always babbling, giggling, and shrieking; despite purple, chattering lips, she never admitted to being cold.

Give a girl a sword - group
Around Town

Give a Girl a Sword and She’ll Ask for a Battalion

When Twombly first looked up “sword fighting” on a whim and joined the Boston Armizare, she was the only woman in the club. She was determined to bring her hobby to a wider audience, however, and set out to show other women that they, too, can enjoy martial arts.