Winter Break: Beyond J-Term Courses

For those of us not taking a J-Term course, winter break is a great opportunity to get caught up on the non-HGSE and non-internship elements of our lives. It’s a chance to catch up with family and old friends and also provides some time to take care of more mundane housekeeping tasks.

I went back to visit my parents for a few days for Christmas and came back to Cambridge only to bear witness to a series of days where the temperature never rose above freezing … I suggest solid shoes, lip balm, heavy outerwear, and hot cocoa as antidotes. But the temperature has warmed up nicely since then, and it’s energized me to do year-end bookkeeping for my business (and learn how to use QuickBooks), get some figures together for my taxes (unfortunately, the late congressional action on the fiscal cliff means that I can’t file yet), and keep up with my IRS certifications for their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.  I’ve also been applying for admission to the bars of a few different federal courts, and so far have been admitted to U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. And if everything goes according to plan, I’ll be visiting a close friend in New York City later this winter break; in addition to the plethora of bus companies shuttling people to and from NYC, Amtrak has multiple daily Northeast Regional trains and Acela Express trains to NYC and back.

Of course, there’s still plenty going on at HGSE during winter break, and you can participate as much or as little as you like. Aside from J-Term courses, a number of workshops on a variety of educational issues are offered and since they’re not offered for credit, there’s no need to fret about writing a massive final paper as part of the workshop. The Career Services Office also offers a number of virtual workshops online that can be accessed wherever you may be during winter break (as long as you have an Internet connection). Although we’re not allowed to live 24/7 in Gutman Library, Harvard libraries usually open back up on regular or near-regular schedules after New Year’s Day (including Gutman).

I hope application season is going well for all of you! I remember how waiting to hear back can produce some anxiety (e.g. repeatedly hitting F5 on admission decision status webpages), and wish all of you the best.