Harvard University: A Connection to Knowledge | My Family Travels

This is the view of the Harvard Church from the Harvard Yard. Absolutely stunning!
This is the image of John Harvard. You can see that his left boot still shines!
Just one of the many Harvard banners located around the campus.

As I entered this grand institution, her gates drew me into the secrets of knowledge she held within…

The university, perhaps the greatest institution to ever exist—a standing testament to human knowledge, technology, and innovation—stood right before my eyes. As I entered the university, the emblem “VERITAS” prominently displayed itself, flanking the gates. Being a Roman mythology fanatic, I knew its meaning. Veritas was the Roman goddess of knowledge and truthfulness. Just like the goddess herself, truth remains an elusive substance, coveted by the world’s greatest thinkers. The search for veritas, for truth, endured within these gates. For centuries, the greatest minds in the state, the nation, the world, came through these gates, to seek the truth, to gain knowledge, to comprehend existence.

As I roamed Harvard University with my younger brother, I noticed the rich history that enveloped this college. The trees planted along the walkways reminded me of the hundreds–nay, thousands–of people who sought knowledge that transcended their mortal minds. Their legacy lives on in this remarkable institution of thinkers, intellectuals, and scholars.

Soon after roaming the grounds, I visited the statue of John Harvard, the “founder” of the university. His inquisitive stare overlooking the university yard fascinated me. Most of the two-centuries-old statue was tarnished and worn down, yet his left boot still glimmered in the sun. My curiosity peaking, I inquired a student passing by. Upon a quick glance at the shoe, he explained a Harvard myth, which stipulated that if one rubs his left shoe, he shall gain wisdom from John Harvard himself. Over the years, his shoes had been polished clean by the thousands of tourists coming through. Personally, I thought the theory was insane (you’d think in a prestigious university, no one would believe this); however the sentimentality was (somewhat) understandable. Intrigued, I explored more.

As I continued to stroll through the courtyard, I stumbled upon the Widener Library, its large pillars towering over the grounds. The steps leading up to the library spanned at least a hundred feet, its smooth limestone still shockingly cool on this sweltering summer day. I decided to scale the steps to get a better view of the yard, yet sunk into the exquisite visage that presented itself in front of me, its beauty captivating my eyes. Opposite of the library, the Harvard Memorial Church ascended proudly, its white spire towering over the grounds. Upon maroon flags mounted on buildings near the church, the Harvard ensign and the “VERITAS” motto once again displayed themselves. At this moment, I could not help but sense a connection to past intellectuals, intellectuals akin to the great minds of Theodore Roosevelt, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and John F. Kennedy.

As I descended the staircases and continued to walk along the Harvard paths, my brother and I agreed that hunger had overcome us. We headed towards Harvard Square (west of Harvard Yard), where many restaurants were situated. As we continued, the sky became progressively darker; rolling thunderclouds descending upon Cambridge. Within a matter of minutes, the sky unleashed a fury of rain and thunder, and my brother and I fled to the safety of my mother’s car parked on Massachusetts Ave.
However, as we ran out of the Johnston gates, my eye caught a glimpse of the “VERITAS” motto on the gate.

For a moment, in the pouring rain, I stopped…

Pondering…

In that moment, I hoped to one day to enter these gates not as a tourist, but as a student—a student seeking knowledge, a student seeking veritas…

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