What do political leaders John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and author Ralph Waldo Emerson have in common? Answer: They are the few of the famous alumni of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
When I was still in my early years of schooling, each time I hear the word Harvard, I immediately associate it with great knowledge and brilliant people. My high school and college teachers never failed to describe the university in superlative words, like it was the most ideal and the only top-notch academic institution in the United States. For those who haven’t seen and been to Harvard, they could only give a rather convincing nod and an enchantment look that goes with full reverence.
My Harvard fascination started when I began to value education. That would date back to the time when medals and academic honors were bestowed in my name in every end of the school year. Imagine a guy who proudly tells everyone about his academic achievements and adds that he desires to be a lawyer, a doctor or a scientist in the future. In every dream I had before, Harvard has always been at the back of my mind.
But I came from an average-income family with parents that have to support three kids in college. The Harvard thought, thus, remained a thought that slowly vanished in thin air. And as everyone put it, “aiming for Harvard is one crazy idea” – it is hard to enter Harvard.
After spending a 2-year Masters degree in one of the universities in Europe, I promised myself to take my PhD in the USA. If I have the time, I would travel and see Harvard with my own two eyes.
Yesterday, I did.
The air was never hot. The sun never shone in full with few clouds hovering the buildings at midday. I entered the brick entrance gate and felt the pieces of a long vanished dream collecting as fast as my mind could bring them in. At the sight of the statue of John Harvard, the founder, just few meters away from me, I realized that the dream was never gone, rather only kept in some shrine of consciousness for easy mnemonic recollection.
I touched Harvard’s foot, as tourists think that doing so brings good luck. I looked at him – this guy sitting with a book on his lap. Frankly, his statue was never impressive yet say his name and it’ll ring a bell anywhere on earth. I took quite a lot of pictures – me standing on his right side, then me on the left, then me sitting at the foot of the statue, me with a couple of Filipinos I met, me with my friend and more.
There were many inquisitive minds around the campus. Like myself, they were awed by the stories they heard about Harvard. They were tourists who traveled to Boston and to see this oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.
As I walked along paths lined with trees that might be as old as the institution, I couldn’t help but smile inside of me for a reverie that seemed unthinkable. Am I here? Am I walking the same paths traversed by Ralph Waldo Emerson? I am.
What could I have become had I studied here? I pondered in each step I made, in each photo I took in almost every building, every corner. The experience will forever be etched in my memory. I am not sure when I could come back to see it again. Maybe when I’ll have a child, then I could send him to this prestigious university.
Here are few photos.
In 1884 Samuel J. Bridge presented the University with a bronze statue of John Harvard as conceived by Daniel Chester French. At the unveiling, President Eliot recalled Harvard’s bequest, saying, “He will teach that one disinterested deed of hope and faith may crown a brief and broken life with deathless fame.”
Behind the statue, University Hall (1815), designed by Charles Bulfinch, divides the Old Yard from the New. The Hall was originally constructed to provide dining, classroom, and chapel space. Currently the building holds the offices of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of Harvard College, and the Dean of Students in the College.
In 1936, to honor Harvard’s 300th-anniversary celebration, the New Yard was dubbed Tercentenary Theatre. Every June, graduating students, their families, friends, and other well-wishers pack Tercentenary Theatre for Commencement. The colorful tradition includes parades, costumes, speeches, music, and the conferring of degrees.
Where to stay in Boston.
Here are few cheap and affordable hotels you may want to check out.
Hotel Boston ($25 a night)
Situated in Cordoba, Hotel Boston is close to Tendillas Plaza, Plaza de la Corredera, and Cordoba Mosque. Also nearby are Marques de Viana Palace and Calahorra Tower. Wireless Internet access is complimentary in public areas. Additional amenities include tour/ticket assistance and an elevator (lift). Guest parking is available for a surcharge. The 39 guestrooms at Hotel Boston include air conditioning. Complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access is provided. All accommodations provide desks and safes. In addition, amenities available on request include hair dryers and irons/ironing boards.
Hotel Boston Plaza Kusatsu ($53 a night)
Hotel Boston Plaza Kusatsu is situated in Kusatsu and area attractions include Biwako Hall. Additional regional attractions include Kiyomizu Temple and Kyoto Imperial Palace. This Kusatsu hotel offers a restaurant, a coffee shop/café, and a bar/lounge. Complimentary wireless and wired high-speed Internet access is available in public areas. Business amenities at this 3.5-star property include a business center and meeting rooms. Additional amenities include complimentary newspapers in the lobby, dry cleaning/laundry services, and a safe deposit box at the front desk. Onsite parking is offered for a surcharge. The property has designated areas for smoking. The 216 air-conditioned guestrooms at Hotel Boston Plaza Kusatsu include coffee/tea makers and slippers. Complimentary wireless and wired high-speed Internet access is provided. Rooms are equipped with LCD TVs with digital channels and pay movies. Bathrooms offer shower/tub combinations with deep soaking bathtubs and hydromassage showerheads, and bidets. In-room refrigerators and complimentary bottled water are provided. In addition, amenities available on request include hair dryers and irons/ironing boards. Housekeeping is offered daily.
Americas Best Value Inn & Suites – South Boston ($58 a night)
Americas Best Value Inn & Suites – South Boston is situated in the heart of South Boston and area attractions include South Boston Speedway. The motel offers a restaurant. Guests are served a complimentary breakfast each morning. Wireless Internet access is complimentary in public areas. Additional amenities include a seasonal outdoor pool, tour/ticket assistance, and laundry facilities. Complimentary self parking is available onsite for guests. The 54 air-conditioned guestrooms at Americas Best Value Inn & Suites – South Boston include coffee/tea makers and hair dryers. Televisions are equipped with premium cable channels. All accommodations provide phones along with free local calls (restrictions may apply). In-room microwaves and refrigerators are provided. Housekeeping is offered daily.