Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

I graduated in 2013, but still blog here once in a while.

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    Three things I love about the GSD.

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Feb 24, '10 9:21 PM EST

    1. GSD Student Announce. It's an email list for the whole GSD student population (optional, but almost everyone seems to use it). It adds a substantial amount of bulk to our inboxes, but it's the voice of the school, and I just think of it as fiber: it just passes happily and healthily through. It's how you can get seventeen pieces of 1/16" basswood at 3 am, expertise on any possible question, and find your USB key when you misplace it for the fourth time. It's also used to promote lectures, student events, to share books instead of recalling them at the library, and to (whether accidentally or not, I'll never know) tell six hundred of your closest friends all the details of how you and your buddies going to play Ages of Empires over the school server on a weekday night.

    2. The TA system. The TA system formalizes and intensifies something which happens unofficially throughout the school, which is that more senior students help more junior students to survive and thrive. For some classes, they come into our studio the night before homework is due to make sure we do it and to help us through. Yes, we're getting babied, but we work really hard and sometimes it's nice to have help with the little things.

    3. The front row of Piper auditorium. Professors sit there, both for classes and lectures. I can come in and see at a glance who is there and silently make my predictions about how it's going to play out. I keep fish, and when you add a newcomer to an established community, you know generally how it's going to play out based on the species and sizes, but there's also always an unpredictable aspect based on the feistiness of the individuals and the specific pecking order they may or may not establish. Who is going to get chased? Become enamored? Gobble all the food? Sulk in the corner?



    • i like the last one the best.. the part about the fish.

      Feb 24, 10 10:58 pm  · 

      The TA system is an awesome one, and some TA's are better than others :)

      Feb 26, 10 12:12 pm  · 

      things we don't like about the GSD:
      1) students' complaints about student debt
      2) students' overemphasis of academia (vs professional experience)
      3) it's in the boston metro area. sorry, boston sucks, no matter how you cut it.

      they do have a baller lecture series and cool professors, however.

      Feb 26, 10 12:40 pm  · 
      Lian Chikako Chang

      @ Alda: Yes, our studio lucked out this semester!

      @ sectional healing: I'm actually enjoying Boston, even though I so rarely am able to get out "into the city."

      Feb 26, 10 4:31 pm  · 

      @sectionalhealing your point 2) is not really true.

      Feb 28, 10 9:00 am  · 

      sorry sum, i'm just extrapolating from the 7 GSD grads i work/drink with. their lives might not be not representative of a typical GSD experience.

      Mar 1, 10 2:47 pm  · 

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About this Blog

This blog was most active from 2009-2013. Writing about my experiences and life at Harvard GSD started out as a way for me to process my experiences as an M.Arch.I student, and evolved into a record of the intellectual and cultural life of the Cambridge architecture (and to a lesser extent, design/technology) community, through live-blogs. These days, I work as a data storyteller (and blogger at in San Francisco, and still post here once in a while.

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