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Last week was on the whole relatively quiet, with mid-term season dragging many into dark depth of study and looming over my own head, not having any until this week. The action seemed to have saved itself for the weekend however, which turned out to be quite a cracker. It kicked off on Friday with the annual Sapphire Ball hosted by Kappa Kappa Gamma, one of Harvard’s four sororities (for those internationals reading, I direct you here). The night took place at the Seaport Hotel in Boston and was a lot of fun, with ladies and gents donning cocktail dresses and dinner jackets respectively, and was filled with good music, good food, and all round good people.

The Sapphire Ball was a fantastic excuse to get dressed up and was a lot of fun. 

Saturday saw a beautiful late winter’s day in Boston, with the 8 inches of snow which had rather unexpectedly fallen over the course of Thursday still laying in piles on the ground on a surprisingly mild, crystal clear, blue skied day. Saturdays are no rest from practice, and so as is customary we made our way to the boathouse, excited to be getting out on the river on such a beautiful morning. But that was not the only delight to await us. Lo and behold, after many months of hard training, we finally received our first pieces of Harvard kit! A much awaited day by all within the freshman squad, we all looked like 8 year old on Christmas day, trying on our crimson stash (a rowers term for kit) with smiles wider than the Charles slapped over our faces. I must explain that as our main regatta season starts at the beginning of April, we only receive kit now for when we represent Harvard in the spring, but the time and effort put into training over the course of the year made it a day to savour. We received a long sleeve lycra top, a fleece vest, and a waterproof ‘splash’ top emblazoned with the HUBC (Harvard University Boat Club) crest: the Harvard insignia superimposed over two oars. It really was a great day and got us all pumped for the start of the race season, our first race against Cornell only a tantalising four weeks away!

Our kit in all its glory.

With the weekend over, this week looks to be anything but quiet. With three mid terms over Wednesday and Thursday I’m in for a few late nights this week, but the thought of Spring Break being just around the corner is a big incentive to get my head down and do what we Harvard students seem to do pretty well. In addition, as Inesha and Jeanie have already mentioned, this coming Thursday represents a major milestone in the life of any Harvard Freshman: housing day. The Freshman at Harvard live during their first year right at the heart of campus within the walls of The Yard itself, but for Sophomore to Senior year we move into one of twelve upperclassman houses, dotted around campus at distanced varying from a 5  to 15 minutes walk away from campus. With blocking groups (a group of up to 7 other classmates you wish to room with) submitted weeks ago, we find out on Thursday morning the result of the random sorting process which will decide our home for the next three years. Much is made of the different houses, with Lowell being particularly beautiful, Adams closest to the yard, and the houses in the Quad, or Radcliffe Quadrangle, being stigmatised for their (not really) great distance from The Yard, but I’m pretty indifferent. As the lottery is completely random what will be will be, and all the houses have their pros and cons. The accommodation in all the houses is lovely, and everyone always ends up loving whichever house they’re put into, so I’m excited for the festivities of housing day to start on Thursday at 8:30 with the handing out of housing letters. Stay tuned for a full report Thursday evening!

 

For those of you who don’t know me my name’s Rob Ledniczky and I am a new face among your already well known bloggers! I’m really excited to start posting and letting you all know what I get up to during my time both on and off campus: this first post will mainly be an introduction, a bit of background about me, why I applied to Harvard, and how I’m finding it so far, and then from here I’ll delve into more recent updates as the term progresses.

So as my bio states I’m a freshman from the UK living in Wigglesworth. I applied to Harvard from the UK as I was drawn by the seemingly infinite opportunities offered by studying a program of Liberal Arts. In the UK, we are forced to specialise down to four subjects in our junior year, and then pick just one to continue with at university (what we call college). I found it hard enough to even pick four to continue with, wanting to carry on studying so many other subjects. In this way the American college system and Harvard in particular really seemed to fit me like a glove. Although I know that I want to concentrate in history, I’ll still been able to pursue my other passions in government, french, and statistics as I continue my studies, something I wouldn’t have been able to do in the UK.

Another big attraction to making the move over the pond was how much of an emphasis Harvard places on extra-curricular activities. It was the things I did outside of class in high school which I have the fondest memories of, and during the admissions phase Harvard seemed really interesting in hearing what I was passionate about, a feeling I did not receive from UK universities who appeared concerned only with academics. A big part of my life on campus is rowing on the Men’s Varsity Crew team, continuing a sport that I’ve been doing for 5 years now. Although not recruited the Harvard rowing program has been incredible, helping to turn me into I hope a half decent rower! One of my main highlights of last term was rowing in the Head of the Charles regatta at the end of October, an event which sees approximately 200,000 people flood the banks of Boston’s principle waterway over the course of the weekend.

Me rowing in the 2012 Head of the Charles

As well as this, before the start of this term we jetted out to Florida for some winter sun as the Charles was frozen over, and spent a fantastic 10 days training out in the clear blue skies of the sunshine state – a vast improvement over what was a characteristically grey Christmas in England. Since being back we’ve had a pretty gruelling month of indoor training on the rowing machines and in the tanks (if you aren’t a rower/haven’t seen The Social Network, think of a boat set in concrete with two ‘tanks’ of water either side, all in a big hut). But with the slightly warmer weather we’ve had, and the 2ft of snow from storm Nemo almost all cleared, the river was once again flowing last week and we got back out for the first time on Tuesday 26th, my birthday, which was an unexpected but very welcomed gift!

The sun setting over the river we trained on in Florida, what a truly beautiful place to row.

Another big highlight of my time at Harvard also came at the start of this term (this blog won’t be a detailed description of Harvard rowing, I promise!), with the 60th session of Harvard’s Model United Nations taking place. I myself attended the conference as a delegate two years ago in 2011, and had one of the best experiences of my high school career; I was eager then to sign up to help run the conference when I was admitted. It was such a surreal but equally stimulating and exciting experience to be on the other side of the dais, and my love for model UN has been well and truly reaffirmed.

HMUN from the other side!

Well I hope this has given you an insight into why I now find myself state-side and also some of the highs of my time so far. Look forward to stories about upcoming housing day, the excitement of race season (only 5 weeks to go!) and maybe a bit about classes. 

Maybe.

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