First Meditation Session

I have had a productive week so far! All my classes are going great but the Chemistry is getting a little bit more exciting and challenging. I have taken out time to think more about what I may concentrate in and I am glad that I am moving towards a definite position. As of now, I am considering seriously History of Science and this is what I may end up declaring for a concetration.

I have also decided to start meditating daily in order to improve my acuity and awareness of self. This has been inspired by a TED video  that I just watched!

I am also starting to prepare for my up coming midterms, I have the hope and the sense that I will do very well! God help me as I prepare.

Also, today I was lucky to see a film screening for a documentary about Robert Mugabe, the current president of Zimbabwe and it was very eye opening. It is interesting to think about how the media can distort the public perception of virtually any individual the way it pleases. I am beginning to lose trust in the media, and I am also gaining an appreciation of how complex issues of politics and governance can be.

Till next week!

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Sophomore year : Almost half way through fall semester

As I write this, I am lying on my bed as I watch some random TED talks so as to push the Friday night on. I just opened ted.com and this is the  video  that I am currently listening to. I am now almost half way through the semester, and things have been going well. A lot has been going on, and I have been thinking a lot. I do always love to share my thoughts, but sometimes I just do not have the time to write down my thoughts.

This semester started at the beginning of September, and I remember clearly the day this past summer when I said good bye to my mum and headed back to the US- here – for my new year. My mother is a special kind of person, and well I understand that such a statement can generally be said of all mothers, but mine is  quite special. Whenever I got off to school, even in high school ( I went to a “private” boarding school 300km away from my home), she would always tell me these words: “work hard my son, remember where you come from”. And to be sure, yes, she did reiterate these words and she does re-iterate them whenever I call her on the phone. These days I have been thinking, weighing and trying to see what she really means. Sometimes I get to think and wonder whether I am working hard enough. But I do know that I am. It’s thoughts like these that do motivate me always, and give me a new kind of determination every day.

This semester I am studying Maths, Organic Chemistry, French and a history of the evolutionary theory. My classes are very interesting and I enjoy all of them. I love the kind of enthusiasm that the professors exude. I have been able to make a great deal of progress with my french and I feel immensely proud of myself. As a matter of fact, I had a hour long french conversation over lunch with a friend today. Whereas I haven’t mastered anything yet,  I do feel appreciative of what I have learned so far. The Maths and Chem are a daily grind but are also great.

In the past month, I have been thinking more than ever about my future and what I am going to declare as a concentration come next month. I have thought of Chem, Earth and planetary sciences, Environmental science, Anthropology & Organismic and evolutionary biology. I have come to ask my self the question of whether I really want to be a Doctor, and up to now I think I haven’t found the right answer. I do hope that I will find answers sometime soon.

My housing experience has been great so far, and I do love my block mates. A true source of inspiration all the time. This is my first post on this blog for this semester, but I am hoping that I can post here more often. At least once every week.

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Spring is on, beautiful weather & reflections

It is almost the end of my Freshman year and I am seated in my room, Weld 16 on a rather beautiful Wednesday afternoon. I just came from my third class for the day – the future of globalization – which is taught by the former secretary of treasury for the US, Larry Summers. Today, we had an insightful lecture about foreign aid and whether or not it works. There are many questions that pertain the matter and I think there is much reason to believe that much still needs to be done.

The weather is beautiful and it is sunny outside. Today, when I woke and was walking to the dining hall for breakfast before my first class, I couldn’t help but marvel at the gentle warmth of the sun! I loved it, I love it and it is all inspiring. I am attaching a picture of the yard, which I took from right outside my dorm room.

As this semester comes to an end, I still have many questions lingering in my mind. Every single day I question myself about how I can best use my education to contribute most profitably and significantly to the world. Along the path, I have thought of so many things. Coming in as a Freshman, I had a firm conviction that I could contribute best if I worked to become a medical specialist, since my country lacks people like that. Along the way, my thoughts have wandered and wandered and continue to. I have thought about a career in public health, public service and many others. I however believe that at some point I will be able to discover my true calling; one that will give me daily satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment.

So much has happened so far during this semester, I have taken on really challenging classes that have kept me busy most of the time. I enjoy most of my classes but I have also come to realize that I have less interest in some other subjects. As I move forward, I will always make sure to carefully chose those classes that I can truly learn from and derive growth from. This semester, I am studying Math, Physics&Chemistry, the future of globalization and computer science. The latter is my least favorite one as I really find it hard to connect the subject matter. I pray that I am able to get a good grade from it.

I have also had other numerous opportunities over this semester including a week in India, a weekend in New Hampshire etc. I feel enormously grateful to God, my family and friends who have always extended their love and blessings to me! I feel that I am growing in great ways. One more month and a first year will be well finished!

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Winter break almost done, spring semester coming forth.

As I write this post, I am sitting inside Quincy Dining hall enjoying a wonderful view and of course the rare sun rays being reflected right to my face by the transparent glass that forms the walls of the upper part of the dining hall. I feel good, and as always- extraordinarily lucky and blessed. I have been thinking about my family in the past days and I make it a point these days to call home more often. I have also been a bit sick in the past days, having a cold: the first one I have had since coming here.Right now, I am glad that it is getting off and I am starting to feel much better. Thanks to God.

Yes, the winter break is slowly coming to an end, as many more of my peers will be returning back on campus starting this next week. After that, it will only be seven more days before the spring term begins. I really cant wait to start a new term, take on new classes and get to meet my friends again. I hope it will be  a great one.

But what have I been doing ever since the break started. Well, after my final LPSA exam- I went at my host family’s house and stayed there through Christmas and new years. It is always wonderful, cheerful and encouraging over there. Then, I was reading a book; the ascent of money by Prof. Ferguson as I was trying to test my inclinations towards finance and Economics. What did I find out. Well, I didn’t find out anything. The book is amazing, and is carefully written.

Starting January the second, I came back on campus and worked on my part time job at the undergrad admissions office. Trying to make some few bucks before the semester begins. I read Tipping point by Gladwell and I have been reading the Harry Potter series in the past weeks. In fact,I have just concluded the third book. I still can not believe J.K Rowling’s ingenuity.

In this past week, I have been able to create time for my self. To think about my life and get some things in good order. Oh..my room and bathroom have been quite messy in the past days. This morning, I took the pain to put everything in order. That always gives me peace of mind. I think that being orderly, both internally and externally is among the many things that make us human. I get quite disorganized sometimes and as I grow, I am striving to reach at a point when I am order’s own master.

As for next semester, I will be taking Math Mb, Physical sciences 11, Engineering Sciences 6 and French Aa. I want to explore my interests in Engineering and environmental studies. Also, I hope to strive to be a better me next term. A me who is confident, social enough and who effuses positive energy. I need to incorporate planning and goal setting into next term. I hope to grow spiritually.I hope for the very best.

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2012, just in a few words. And hello- 2013

A few days ago, I sat with my host family and had pizza as we awaited the end of 2012 and the start of a novel year- 2013. Looking back at the recently concluded 2012, I feel proud and grateful beyond measure. I am not trying to claim that the past year was perfect, because there were many moments when I felt helpless and empty. It is in those moments when I questioned my being and wondered  why the world was set up the way it is. In those moments, I looked at whatever was going on around me, thought about what happens in other parts of the world and everything always seemed way too complex to comprehend. Nevertheless, I am grateful and happy for whatever I do have. For my families and friends, for my own existence and also for my own successes.

 

Truly, 2012 has been a successful year in many ways. Early in January- precisely at this time, I was all worried and full of doubt after I had submitted my applications to American colleges. I remember very well what my dear friend Barbara Stevens wrote in an email congratulating me upon completing my college applications. ” You are probably the first young man from rural western Uganda to apply to what are the best American colleges”.Maybe I was. College application was not an easy task for me. Although I went to what is probably the best high school in Uganda, my family lives approximately 300 km away from the city- in a place without electricity or pumped water. School time was busy, and indeed busy. I had to do my college applications from the United States Embassy in the capital Kampala over the holidays, but I did not have any relatives in there. It was tough- but thank God, I got through it. I managed to send in my applications to 10 elite colleges in New England and after a long period of waiting , and prayer- I got into Harvard College and a couple of others. This was a very memorable moment in my life. This was a success. I may not write down the other many successes that I registered in the past year, including scoring top in my national A- level exams.

 

In August, I started my first semester at Harvard College and as I write this- I already successfully completed my first semester, with great learning and I am so looking forward for the next.

Looking at 2013, I   want to make a promise to myself. I want to aim much higher this year. I want this year to be one of optimism, positive thoughts, gratitude and self discipline. The other day I was reading an article in the wall street journal, about the life of a stock markets guru. He has lived for over a hundred years and he is still active and very productive  right now. When asked his secret to his long and successful carrier, he states that many people die young, or end up living unsuccessful lives because of a simple failure. The failure to control themselves. I mean being able to tell yourself what to do and not let your body, or the prevailing circumstances drive you into doing things. Today, when I want to read a book- my body tells me that it is not interesting and that I should probably watch a movie or something different. I want the thought that ” come on, I know what I want to do- do not tell me what I should do” be on the forefront. Self discipline!

Also, I want to make it a point to put into practice my dear friend’s ( Wayne Lobb) age old wisdom; “check your work”.

I hope for the very best!

 

I am writing this while seated on my desk in my college room. Look at me in the picture.Image

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First semester complete : Thoughts and reflections

Just a couple of months ago, to be precise- on June 10th 2012, I travelled for over 6000 miles from my country, Uganda, to the Americas to receive an education at what is arguably the most elite university in the world. Coming in, I had my own doubts. Doubts, doubts and I mean a lot of them. Being my first time to travel outside my  home country, it was clearly an overwhelming and seemingly impossible transition to make. For June and July, I stayed with my wonderful American family while taking classes at Harvard Summer school. In August, I matriculated as a freshman at Harvard College.

Coming in, I was – as I used to believe, completely decided on what I wanted to study. Given my British education in Uganda, I pretty much knew that I wanted to be a medical Doctor or a research scientist. This, and many other reasons had a huge influence on my choice of classes for the first semester. In the past months, I have studied Life and physical sciences, Mathematics, a seminar on diseases and the sometimes dreaded writing class- Expository writing 20.

Looking back, I do not regret at all having chosen to take either of these classes despite the fact that the scope of my interests has changed a lot. My freshman seminar about diseases-infectious diseases to be precise has been my favorite one. I cannot forget the interesting discussions with my professor Don! We talked about the many infectious diseases that span the history of mankind ; from the great plague in the western world to Malaria in Sub- Saharan Africa where I grew up from. What has been stunning in these discussions is the realization that boosting household incomes for families is crucial to improving health; especially when we talk about diseases like Cholera that emerge due to poor sanitation and many others which would easily be eliminated given proper standards of living. It is in the same class that I came to meet people, who would later become my very good friends or at least- people I look up to. Mason Barnard, Bren Smith, Jessica Turner, Michelle and Vibav Mouli- the one person who literally told me that he wanted to be friends with me after the very first class meeting, remain as inspiring figures from the class. Most notably however, I met the girl who would turn out to be my best friend. Kirin Gupta! The very first girl I have ever over-heard, without her noticing, confessing her own affection for me. I have since our very first meeting, continued to talk with her and our conversations are always the best. Sometimes we catch up for dinner, and sometimes she drops a sweet note or even a text. Deep down, I know that I truly  and sincerely cherish this friendship.

Among the moments that will also remain to be cherished are the many hours I spent, over the semester with my best friend Kenneth working on math and science problem sets. We work for hours, sometimes taking coffee breaks. We talk about everything, and sometimes we both realize that working together on a problem set may not be the smartest thing  to do, just because our conversations are just endless. We talk about Politics, Economics, Science, Friendships and  girls. We talk about institutions and their foundations, governments and the utopian ideas of equality and equal opportunity. Surely, conversations about the aforementioned topics excite me, so very much. Also Kenneth always teases me that if I continue being inclined towards such topics, and consequently, talking about mostly these topics,”even with girls”, it will turn out bad for me. He tells me that ” I always see you in Annenberg involved in “serious” conversations- even with girls.  I always ask about the wrong thing about this and he argues that sometimes I need to talk about  “edgy topics”, because that’s what girls want to hear. Well, I do not very much comprehend the accuracy of this argument. I actually talk about edgy topics  , too- though less as often! Despite all this, we always get our work done- and very well done indeed.

At this point, after all the thinking about what I want to do- to study in college and eventually do with my life, I still haven’t quite found an answer. One thing that is clear to me is that I will eventually come back to my country and work to create a positive impact. Whether this will be in Politics, Science, Economics or Healthcare- I do not quite know.

Lastly, I am so much grateful to God, or as some like to say, providence for a wonderful and blessed first semester in College. I think that I have attained great academic success, but more importantly, personal growth through my own numerous interactions with and observation of the world I live in. To my families and friends, I love you and will forever be grateful !

Looking forward to a brighter new semester, one in which I will excel more , form new friendships, strengthen the existing ones and most importantly grow to become a much better person.

Always striving to be the best I can possibly be.

 

 

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Reading for finals

Reading for finals

All these are the math problem sets I have to review before the set day!

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