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The Citizen

Top Ten Must-Dos Before Graduation

By Chrissie Long, Staff Writer, MPP’14

With less than two months before commencement, time is running out to experience all of those things you wanted to do but never got around to due to problem sets or papers.

Pretty soon, you’ll be walking across the stage to receive your diploma. Late nights spent reading long texts or cramming sessions for exams will be a distant memory. The important moments will be those gained beyond the pages of a course packet.

Given the hourglass is slowly draining, you may want to pick up that mental list of ‘must dos’.

To provide some guidance in the final weeks, The Citizen has developed a ‘top ten’ of things to do before leaving HKS (and Cambridge).

  1. Run, walk or picnic along the Charles River: Winding 80 miles from the river’s head in Hopkinton


    (starting line of the Boston Marathon), the Charles River cuts through the Harvard campus and provides a much needed retreat for those who come to study here. If you haven’t taken the time to walk, run, bike or sit along the Charles, outline an entire afternoon to enjoy this urban treasure.

  2. Study in another Harvard library: There are over 70 libraries at Harvard. If your studies brought you only to the dungy Kennedy school basement hideout, it’s time to try a few others. We’ve heard good things about the Widener Library, the Harvard Law School Library and the Lamont Library.
  3. Eat and drink local: While you are in Boston, you might as well try some of the things Boston is known for. I highly recommend free brewery tours at Samuel Adams and Harpoon; you may try the country’s oldest and continuously operating restaurant (the Union Oyster House) or indulge in a Boston Cream Pie where it was invented (at the Omni Parker House). Did you know the chocolate chip cookie was invented in Massachusetts or that the state is home to the first Dunkin’ Donuts? Though the following ‘firsts’ aren’t edible, you should know that Massachusetts is home to the first subway and park (Boston Common) in the United States, the first computer and first basketball game.



  4. Take a faculty to lunch: The ‘Take a Faculty to Lunch’ program is an under-utilized resource that gives students personal access to the Kennedy School’s greatest asset: the faculty. The program enables students to grab a few friends, pick a professor and enjoy lunch – for free! Contact before April 12 for more information.
  5. Spend a weekend outside of Boston: New England (i.e. Boston’s backyard) is renowned for charming towns, magnificent countryside views and fun outdoor activities. If you haven’t rented a car to explore life outside the city, you are missing out. For quaint seaside towns, try Newport, Portsmouth or Gloucester. If you are into hiking, the White Mountains (especially the Presidential mountain range) are not to be missed – Mt. Washington, Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Moosilauke are personal favorites. And, now that the weather is improving, you may want to try some of the area’s best beaches, which include Gloucester’s Crane Beach, beaches on the Cape Cod National Seashore and Hampton Beach State Park in New Hampshire.
  6. Meet 10 new HKS people: As much as you want to solidify existing relationships in the last few months, don’t let that keep you from doing some last minute networking. This is what you came to the Kennedy School for, right? You never know, that last minute Facebook friend request could become the next head of state or nonprofit big shot.
  7. Buy some Harvard paraphernalia: Yep, you’re going to be a graduate in a few weeks and that entitles you


    to pretentiously sport Harvard sweatshirts, baseball caps and t-shirts. Rather than order these keepsakes online, pick them up while you’re still here.

  8. Cheer for a Boston sports team: Beyond historical sites, clam chowder and its annual marathon; Boston is renowned for its rowdy sports fans. If you haven’t been to a professional sports game here (this is the season for baseball and soccer), you haven’t experienced Boston.
  9. Pack an entire day full of study groups, speakers and forum events: Have you ever tried to make it to all the events on the HKS Today listserv? Even if you had an empty schedule, attending all the events is impossible, but it doesn’t mean you can’t try!
  10. Ask what you can do: Perhaps it’s just an overused Kennedy School motto. Either way, make sure you ask what you can do at least once while here: Spend a few minutes cleaning up the forum, volunteer with a student event, help a friend with homework or participate in Public Service week (April 15-April 19).