Snow on wreaths.

Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Looking forward to a break, and what’s ahead

4 min read

Departing Harvard students take a moment to reflect on achievements, holidays, dreams

The semester has been winding down, and the holiday break beckons. With that in mind, the Gazette asked Harvard College students to reflect on the year they’re finishing, the break to come, and how they view their goals for 2020.

Jordan Mubako ’22

People let their guard down around the holidays, said Mubako, an international student from Harare, Zimbabwe. That’s why it’s one of his favorite times of the year.

“People drop all of their pretenses,” Mubako said, “and they are just really happy.”

Especially, when exams and papers are all done, he added. “You get to just worry about what’s really important, and that tends to be just going back to see your family.”

Jordan Mubako.

Rebecca Thau ’20

The best thing about Thau’s 2019 has been finally getting to work on her senior thesis.

“To see it come into actual writing has been an interesting and very rewarding process,” said Thau.

Her thesis is on Hélène Cixous, a French feminist critic and theorist. For Thau, a joint concentrator in French history and literature who’s working toward a secondary in Jewish studies, subjects don’t get much cooler.

So far, “It’s been very special,” Thau said.

Rebecca Thau.

Toluwalope Moses ’22

For Moses, the holidays bring a much-needed break from the books.

The applied math concentrator is looking forward to leaving them on this side of the Charles River when she crosses over to her home in Boston in a few days. The semester was fun and challenging, “but I definitely need the break,” Moses said.

While home, she’ll celebrate the holidays with her family and clear her head. Since she’s chosen her concentration, she said, “I think this semester gave me an idea of how all the other semesters will go.”

Toluwalope Moses.

Victor Yang ’20

When Yang thinks about the new year, he’s reflecting on his biggest goal for 2020: get into medical school.

“I’m excited to see what life after graduation is like,” Yang said.

Victor Yang.

Kristin Kiley ’23

Call her Kiley Claus, because for Kiley, the holidays are about giving.

This year, she will be home for Christmas in Madison, Wis., where she’ll present her family with books she has enjoyed reading this year, and let them choose which ones they would like to read.

“I’ll put out a bunch of pieces of paper with a couple words about each book, and they’ll all pick one that they think is interesting,” Kiley said.

Kristin Kiley.

Noah Cominsky ’20

Holidays for Cominsky are about catching up with loved ones.

“What’s nice about going home is seeing your family and sharing your experiences with them,” he said.

Another favorite thing? The food. Cominsky, a member of the Ojibwe tribe from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, will be heading home to Cleveland, where he’ll be surrounded by family who serve traditional native dishes like wild rice and venison at Christmas and New Year’s dinner.

Noah Cominsky.

Rahsaan King ’19

For King, who’s in his final semester at the College, the end of this year is about reflection.

“I try to be introspective and think about the blessings I have and privileges I have and the obstacles I’ve overcome,” King said.

He also thinks about what the new year may bring and what he sees for himself in it. “It’s looking backwards on where I’ve come from and continuously looking forward to where I’m going,” he said.

One way the Houston native channels that is a through a tradition he has with family and friends in which they exchange handwritten notes at the holidays.

“You just write things to people you love,” King said. “You try to be thoughtful and less cookie-cutter about it and craft individualized messages.” King has already sent out a few and has received some. Next week, he’ll be writing more.

Rahsaan King.