Wednesday Student Spotlight

Name: Vivi Lu '24

Job Title: Crimson Reporter and Research Assistant

Vivi LuWhat made you apply to your current job while being a student?

I was not required to apply to my current jobs as Crimson reporter and research assistant in the Classics department, but I was eager to start working because I wanted term-time work that I found interesting and would open up opportunities in fields I’m interested in for the future. I also wanted to begin saving up for opportunities over the summer or beyond while I’m not busy with on-campus responsibilities. 

Where did you find your job?

I heard about my on-campus job as a faculty aide and research assistant from the professor of a small class I’m taking in the Classics department. My off-campus job involves reporting and writing for the Crimson, an opportunity I heard about at the beginning of the year.

How have you been able to balance your schoolwork and work responsibilities? What are your personal keys to success and what challenges or hurdles have you encountered?

I’ve been able to balance the competing responsibilities of school and work by making my priorities clear and finding a rhythm that works for me every week. Though I prioritize school responsibilities over the jobs I do, I plan when to complete schoolwork around my work schedule – which can be more unpredictable – and have found it to be effective for ensuring I get everything done. I’ve also been taking an extra class this semester, and I’ve settled into a rhythm of school and work while keeping my priorities clear. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the work I plan for myself, but sticking to my schedule and knowing what is expected of me for jobs and school have made it more manageable.

What does your typical day look like at work? What do you love the most about your position?

My typical days working my “on-campus” job as a research assistant usually involve completing whatever my professor has assigned for me to do remotely, usually miscellaneous tasks that relate to her work as editor of major Classics publications. I essentially set the times I work, typically using my evenings on weekends for this job. The experience has given me much more insight into what I should expect in pursuing classical scholarship, not to mention how much more about classics in general I have learned from the job. For the Crimson, I help complete interviews and write about one story per week, and although the behind-the-scenes work is time-consuming, seeing the work in writing and reporting on breaking news or sensitive issues is always rewarding.

How does it relate to what you are learning at Harvard?

My job as a faculty aide in the Classics department has given me a preview of my own future goals in pursuing classical studies, and it aligns with my intended concentration of Classics with a focus in Classical languages and literature, including Latin and Ancient Greek. Though reporting for the Crimson does not exactly relate to my academic interests, it has taught me valuable skills relating to writing, interviewing, and collaborating with others as I work towards a deadline.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? What lessons have you learned that you’ll take with you after graduation?

Having the opportunity to report on breaking news for the Crimson – especially about admissions, financial aid, and the ongoing lawsuit involving Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions – has been incredibly enriching. Working as a faculty aide and research assistant for a professor in the Classics department has given me the chance to see my input and ideas taken into consideration in publications and presentations in addition to the valuable experience of helping with research. I’m grateful for the chances I have to do these jobs, and I’ll take the lessons I have learned about keeping up with varying and pressing responsibilities with me long after graduation.

 

 

Name: Juman Kekhia

Job Title: Education Fellow at Open Door Arts

Juman KekhiaWhat made you apply to your current job while being a student?

I am someone who really thrives when they are busy and when time is very strategically built out. Since I was not able to go to campus this year and have a traditional internship that was a part of the SLP program, I decided to focus my energy on an organization that aligned with my interests and also explored an area I don’t know a lot about. Having a job while being a student is essential to me in order to frame my learning and have a place to both draw from and connect back to what is happening in class.

Where did you find your job?

I found this through the HGSE internship fair at the beginning of the year. Open Door Arts was one of the handful of sessions that I attended but definitely stood out the most.

How have you been able to balance your schoolwork and work responsibilities? What are your personal keys to success and what challenges or hurdles have you encountered?

The hardest part has definitely been able to carve out time to work on projects and complete work for ODA. Since everything is remote and I didn’t have strict hours, I found myself doing most of my work on long term projects during off times or on the weekends because that’s when it fit into my schedule. I was also very purposeful with usually taking an hour before and/or after a meeting with my supervisor to finish quick tasks. Having twice weekly meetings with my supervisor helped shape my time a lot as well. It gave me clear deadlines that helped me know when to prioritize work for my internship vs. work for class. The biggest success point was just having a place to write everything out, so I knew what needed to get done on a daily and weekly basis. I’m big on a physical planner and would have been very lost without one this year!

What does your typical day look like at work? What do you love the most about your position?

What I like most about my position is all of the different responsibilities I have accumulated as the year has gone on. It’s been really eye-opening to see new sides of the organization as I have been involved with it more. I’ve seen two big projects come to fruition and be used throughout the organization. Seeing the results of them has been very rewarding. As for a typical day, I would say there aren’t really typical days. I certainly have weekly tasks that need to get done, but all of my tasks have centered around check-ins with my supervisor that serves as a check in and a great opportunity for collaboration. Being remote has made this a very different experience than if I were to be in an office for set hours throughout the week. Weekly tasks outside of check-ins have been maintaining attendance sheets, following up with school teachers and teaching artists, and tracking data.

How does it relate to what you are learning at Harvard?

Through the School Leadership program at HGSE, I have learnt that leadership can take on many different forms, both formally and informally. I have learned different ways of building partnerships and leveraging leaders in the informal space. Through work on a new feedback and assessment tool, I have connected concepts from my classes to my internship. The biggest connection has been tying principles of coaching into the feedback tool to stimulate conversation.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? What lessons have you learned that you’ll take with you after graduation?

The most rewarding part has been seeing the completion of big projects that have gone through many iterations. After presenting them to the whole team, getting outside feedback, then rolling them out and getting results, it really pays off to see something new working well. I think the biggest takeaway lesson is to not be afraid of the process. Sometimes it takes longer than expected to end up right where you started and realize that was the goal all along. In education especially I think we can get fixated on getting to a solution quickly but taking our time through the process can be the most beneficial part. This is something I want to keep myself grounded in as I graduate.