Blog: On and Off Campus

On and Off Campus, BB&N's weekly blog, features contributions by members of the BB&N community, including a student writing panel, current and past faculty, and alumni/ae. We welcome community members to submit posts of 300-700 words for consideration. Longer submissions may be considered under exceptional circumstances. Please contact the editors for more details:

Rob Leith P'11, Upper School English & Art History at
Kim Ablon Whitney '91, Assistant Director of Alumni/ae Programs at | 617.800.2731

The risks and rewards of the Junior History Research Paper

Two months ago, as I walked into the main hallway of Harvard’s Department of the History of Science, I paused for a moment, my hand still on the door handle. What on Earth am I doing? I muttered to myself, looking out the window onto Oxford Street below. I checked my watch - it was 1:12pm, exactly three minutes prior to my scheduled meeting with Professor Lundbeck, a specialist in the history of brain science. I laughed under my breath: me, a high schooler, meeting with a Harvard professor? Boy, I thought, this history paper’s really taking me far.

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Visiting Thailand on the spring science trip and discovering a unity of worlds
Nicholas Kolbas ’20

Upon landing in Chiang Mai—Thailand's second largest city—after two long flights (twelve-hour and six-hour), I instantly detected the presence and influence of Buddhism in Thai culture. A sign in the customs area read something like "disrespecting Buddha is wrong by law." Later that day, we took a bike tour to numerous temples near our guest house. I recalled that sign at each temple, wondering how Thai people judged us tourists of diverse faiths and beliefs, attempting to fit in by removing our shoes and blindly praying in the temples.

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Memories that make baseball the best sport
Jayanth Uppalari ’20

Some say that baseball is a boring game in which nothing ever happens. Baseball is not timed, but it’s not what doesn’t happen that makes the game special. An outfielder can make a spectacular defensive play to rob a home run, a pitcher can strike out a batter to get out of a bases-loaded jam, and a slugger can smash a walk-off home run to end the game. Depending on which team you’re supporting, these events can be exhilarating or infuriating. A baseball season contains 162 different games of these moments, of hope and despair, of victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, and of unlikely players becoming heroes. Baseball is a metaphor for life.

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Tutoring as a Career
Brendan Mernin ‘83

I fell into tutoring by chance and then made a career of it. In 1989, not long after my graduation from Columbia, I taught seventh grade at a small Bronx Catholic school. I wasn’t making enough to cover my Lower East Side rent, much less my hipster manqué lifestyle. Desperate, I spotted a Village Voice want ad for SAT teachers, and survived the training at The Princeton Review. I found I had a knack for raising scores, so soon I was teaching classes in GMAT, LSAT, GRE, AP, SAT 2, ACT, and any other test with an all-caps name.

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