Ah, second semester senior year. What a special and delicate and despised time.
I've managed to get most of my requirements out of the way, and so my schedule this semester only contains two required "classes"--my SCOPE project and my Olin Self Study, in which I'm learning nonlinear partial differential equations--and one "just for fun" class--Human Factors in Interface Design. (12 credits--or three classes--is the minimum number to take and still be considered a full-time student.)
Nevertheless, this still means that I have to do work, which is kind of a problem, since all I really want to do is not do work. (Looking for a job is more than enough to keep me occupied for the rest of the semester, anyway.) I have recently found much more excitement, however, in helping my friend Lyndsey with her Olin Self-Study, which is in photography. We dedicated last Friday to photography, in fact, which was an excellent decision: for her, because she's on track to complete her OSS and therefore graduate, and me, because, well, I love photography.
We drove into Cambridge in the morning, parking at a famously cheap parking garage in Central Square ($1/hour--wonderful!). We braved the cold and the wind, and walked down Mass Ave, across the Harvard Bridge, and started heading up the Esplanade.
We made it perhaps a third of the way down the Esplanade by the Charles River before neither of us could take the freezing wind any longer, and we took a detour up to Newbury Street to get some tea (and a croissant--I can't resist a good croissant). Our original plan had been to trek the entire length of the Esplanade, then head up to the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common, and finally take the Freedom Trail to Quincy Market, stop by Haymarket briefly to take pictures of the produce, and then get lunch in the North End. We decided over tea that skipping straight to the lunch bit wasn't going to hurt anything.
After wandering up and down Hanover Street, we finally picked Ristorante Saraceno for our meal, and ordered two pasta dishes and a bottle of wine. I spoke Italian to the owner, and we chatted for a bit (in English, mostly; my Italian skills have declined significantly since last year), and then he gave us free limoncello. We were rather giggly.
After a stop at Mike's Pastry (I needed a fix: cannoli, amaretto cookies, and sfogliatelle), we headed to Haymarket. We photographed the produce, but it wasn't long before the cold (and one disgruntled salesman wanting money from us for photographing his goods) drove us back to the T, which we took all the way back to Central Square.
After a brief stop in one of my preferred Indian groceries (I needed some paneer to make a curry dish), we were back in the car, heat and music blasting, headed back to Olin, happy and fulfilled after our much-needed break. Also, Lyndsey and I are both still on track to graduate, which is always a plus. :)
Getting off campus is good and healthy! Although it's a bit difficult to do if you don't have a car, there are shuttles that run regularly to Wellesley College (from which you can get a bus into Boston) and the Riverside T station (from which you can take the T into Boston). If you're thinking about attending Olin, make sure to ask some current students for the most up-to-date information on how to get off campus.