July 11, 2011
The Scavenger Hunt
My first assignment at the Middle Eastern Studies program at Harvard University was a scavenger hunt.
They gave each one of us the task to find a large list of obscure documents, books, articles and images. The library system at Harvard is the second largest in the world after the Library of Congress.
Since Middle Eastern Studies is interdisciplinary, the cruel, malicious professors scattered the hunt to the farthest flung libraries, including the Harvard Medical School on the other side of the Charles River! I had to check the library hours of the School of Architecture and ask permission to check the Reserves at the Law School. Then, I had to xerox each document as a proof of having found it and gather them all in a dossier for this malicious professor!
At present, I am building a similar dossier, one document at a time. The list is shorter than my Harvard research training, but I have to go from one bureaucratic building to another, waiting in line, speaking to officials, gathering information, following guidelines. I am glad that my academic experience has served me well and I feel prepared for the challenge!