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And so it begins, the very last week of term. This time next week I will be sitting at Logan Airport, an hour away from lifting off on a Boeing 747 which will fly me for approximately 6 hours and a total of 3300 miles back to my native England, and my first year will be officially completed. But that’s this time next week. Standing in the way of me and my flight is the small matter for three final exams over three days between Thursday and Saturday, all at 9am. I realised the last time I had been up at 9am for more than 2 days in a row had been when I was working last summer, nearly a year ago! My already dwindling motivation is not helped by the fact that I have friends finishing off their classes left, right, and centre. Indeed, while I sit on Friday night revising for my History exam at 9am the next morning, half of campus will already have departed back to their homes. I cannot wait.

In truth, I can’t really complain. My finals period was rather fabulous last term, I only had one final exam close to the start of finals period, so I managed to finish a full week before some others. Indeed it was this that allowed me to change my flight to 6 days earlier, a fact I left unknown to all but my sister, so I had the lovely experience of turning up back home unannounced and surprising all my family and friends. I guess the moral of the story is that you have to have the bad to have the good. I especially can’t complain as I would have had to have been here for rowing until next Monday anyway, so in fact having my finals so late should be a blessing, giving me more time to revise. Except, I tend to work best when I have a dirty great deadline breathing down my neck. Having a week between my final papers being due and the start of final exams has not proven to be good for my productivity. It would have been nicer if I’d had them a bit more spaced out, but now it just means I need to work a bit harder over these next few days. Anyway, finals rant over. As my roommate rather wisely said last night, ‘if you know one thing, it’s that they will be done,’ and that is very true.

A few surprised friends and I when I returned last winter!

What has provided a nice distraction from my attempts at studying has been the necessity of putting the items I don’t want to take home into storage. Every upperclassman house thankfully has a storage facility for all students who live more than 150 miles away, something which saves my wallet a great deal in baggage costs and my back in lifting duties. Storage is open for the last week of term, and so knowing how much I have on at the beginning of the week I have been productive in organising what I need to take home with me, and what I can keep over here. This is a slightly tricky job due to the capricious nature of the weather in England over the summer, but I have erred of the side of optimism and put my large winter coat and thermals into storage. Other standout items include my bulky winter boots, a big saving in weight and space, and my rather nice, fake English Christmas tree my mum sent me over Christmas. Although packing was a bit of a pain, I’m now left with the pleasing result that everything that is now left in my room I have to somehow squeeze into a suitcase and a medium sized duffle. Safe to say that having retrieved it from a 16 week hibernation under my bad, my suitcase has never looked smaller. It’s rather unfortunate though that by packing all my things away I’ve got into a rather nice end-of-term vibe, another factor not helping my final motivation.

My things (including Christmas tree) safely stored for the summer in Currier!

The culmination of the English Premier League (football) has come just at the right time, and has certainly been hotting up. My team, Arsenal, are going right down to the wire trying to qualify for the Champions League, the big European club competition, and are playing both tomorrow and Saturday. I will have to desperately try and avoid the distraction tomorrow, and it’s going to be unbearable being in my history final knowing that we’re playing, but fingers crossed I will have some good new when I come out!

But I suppose I must return to my studying. Next time I talk to you I will be free at last, and I can give you the lowdown on what happened at Eastern Sprints, as well as a few final thoughts on the end of my first year. Until then!


This past week has been very surreal, with the end of my first year of classes at Harvard. I honestly cannot tell you where the time has gone, especially the spring term, which seems to have evaporated into thin air. We are now into reading period, the week between the end of classes and the start of final exams, and its safe to say that campus has quietened down a bit compared to the rest of term. With many project and paper deadlines due around now, so as to be done before finals, the libraries have become increasingly busier. This is incidentally the reason why I’m slightly late in posting this week: I had a history paper and a stat project due today, so have been pretty pre-occupied getting those finished off.

I now have a week until my first of three exams, which may sound nice, but it’s a bit annoying to have everything clustered at the ends of the exam period. But I will at least get plenty of time to prepare for my finals, and I would have had to stay until the 19th (the last day of exams is the 18th) as we have Eastern Sprints Regatta, the eastern rowing championships on that Sunday. After that it’s then straight to Logan the next day to head back home to the UK, and although I’m really looking forward to getting home and seeing family and friends, it’s going to be hard not seeing the people I have become so close with over the past year for three whole months. It’s the inevitability of circumstances that no matter where you are, you will always end up missing one person or another.

A lot of my friends will be coming over to Europe for everything from study-abroad programs to backpacking adventures though, so I’m definitely going to try and meet up with a few of them to break the time up; I believe a quick trip to Brussels at the beginning of August is currently in order, which is particularly convenient for me, being only 1 hour 40minutes on a train away. I was hoping to be working in Paris over the summer, but unfortunately haven’t been able to get anything off of the ground and it’s not going to be happening. I can’t be too sad though as I may potentially be working in London, my hometown and favourite city of them all, so fingers-crossed things will work out!

The blocking group (minus Ji Seop)

Things haven’t been completely silent around campus however. The past week has also seen the series of end of year house formals, and having now been sorted for next year, many of us freshman ventured out to our respectful residences for next year. My own house, Currier, held theirs on Saturday night and my blocking group and I had a great time mixing with our future housemates, although I was slightly disappointed that out of our whole group I was the only one to step up to the plate and put a tuxedo on!

Quick photo at the formal

This weekend is likely to be packed with studying as everyone prepares for finals, but they’re a necessary evil and everyone is looking forward to having them out of the way and done. My group of friends and I are planning to venture out into Boston Saturday to see the new Gatsby film, something I’ve been waiting a long time to be released, so I’m getting pretty excited about that. I’m thinking of trying to head into Boston sometime during the day before I leave though, as at the moment the city is alive with the colour of blossom and the fresh greens of leaves on the trees, and really looks a picture. I was walking out of the library a few days ago and as I inhaled I got a beautiful whiff of pollen, which after a particularly harsh winter was a very welcomed smell indeed. Spring is doing her job well, and summer is only just around the corner!

I must lastly say a huge congratulations to all those of you who have accepted your place at Harvard for next year, you defied the unfortunate timing of last months events to record the highest yield, 88%, for over 40 years. You guys are amazing, and we cannot wait to meet and get to know you next term!

So last week we were blessed to have a number of celebrities on campus. It’s often the case that I’m unable to see many talk when they come, as the events are usually conveniently scheduled for mid-afternoon, right when I have practice. However the Leadership magazine thoughtfully scheduled their talk with ex tennis pro Andre Agassi until 8pm, so I was able to go and listen to what he had to say. I’d already attended an event hosted by the Humanist society earlier in the term, when they presented British comedian Eddie Izzard with their annual award, so I’d managed to see a few famous faces this term. Andre gave a great speech, and some really insightful answers to questions. He appeared incredibly humbled to be addressing a group of Harvard students, something which I in an odd paradox find very humbling in itself, and was honest about both his past careers failures and successes. He spoke at length about his motivation to play, his period of decline and subsequent rise back to number one, and also his relationship with his father, which was very interesting. It was great to hear about his latest social enterprise within education, and great to here about a sportsman using his prestige for good after his career. It definitely made me think about why I pursue rowing to such a high level, and reinvigorated my desire to keep improving and strive to reach the top.

Andre Agassi speaking last Tuesday (Photocredit: The Crimson)

I did, however, start this article with celebrities plural. That’s because not only was Andre Agassi in town last week, but also Felipe Calderon, the ex-president of Mexico, but also an old Harvard drop-out you might of heard of, Mr. Matthew Damon. Harvard had this week their ‘Arts First’ festival on campus, celebrating all the good that the arts have to offer, and Matt Damon was here to accept the Harvard medal for services to the arts. Unfortunately Harvard wasn’t so kind in their scheduling this time and I missed his talk, but I hear he too gave a fascinating insight into his career as an actor, and provided those there with some great advice for the future. It is one of the many positives that comes from Harvard’s prestige, that we are so lucky to get to listen to these otherwise unaccessible figures, and something that I truly love about Harvard.

Matt Damon speaking at Arts Fest on Thursday (Photocredit: Harvard Gazette)

Aside from these events, this past wek has contained some good news for myself. You may remember me talking a while back that I was comping the Crimson Key Society, and after (quite literally) months of working and waiting, I found out on Thursday that I had been successful and was joining fellow bloggers Scott, Caroline, and Kemie in Key! The comp has been something I’ve been looking forward to for the whole year, and I am so excited to now be a part of it. Key is filled with so many great people, and I cannot wait to get stuck into giving tours and the other events which Key are responsible for.

Life is now certainly picking up with finals fast approaching, and I’ve got a number of papers and projects due in the next week, so need to knuckle down and get through them. The weather is making this particularly difficult however, with spring having fully sprung and beautiful warm days now gracing us. I’m particularly happy about this, not only because it means that rowing on the Charles is gorgeous, but it means I can whack out the essential summer wear, shorts and flip flops. And although it may make being stuck inside working particularly annoying, it’s certainly more pleasant than the drizzling rain which usually constitutes a British spring. Long may it continue!

I had planned to talk about my experiences at my first YardFest at Harvard in this post, but after today’s tragic events I want to offer my view, as it’s been a day that has caused me to pause and think.

As many of you may know, today’s Boston marathon was subject to a bomb attack, an attack that has so far claimed the lived of three innocent people and caused injury to over 140 others. Two bombs were detonated in quick succession among the thousands of supporters who had gathered at the finish to congratulate those who had completed the grueling test of endurance. Many of these participants were running in the name of charity, raising money for those less fortunate than themselves.

I myself found out the news whilst in the library. The way in which news spreads in events like these is phenomenal, and I was immediately reminded of the bombings of the London subway system on the 7th July 2005. At the time I myself was unsure for a while if my father, who at the time worked in London, was safe or not, and so today I immediately empathised with those who were unsure about the status of loved ones. My other feelings however were mixed. While I was appalled that something like this could happen, and horrified at the causing of unnecessary pain and suffering, I must confess that I was not surprised. It’s a sobering thought that this is the world that I, and those of my generation, have both grown up in and become accustomed to. For me, it feels as though these events have become more of a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’, and this is something I have been struggling with since I heard the news.


(Photo credit:

We are certainly not the first to have experienced this, my own country was affected by attacks by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for a great number of years, but I guess what I’m feeling is that these events should be more shocking to me than today’s bombings were. We should not have to live in a world where such mindless violence has become not necessarily the norm, but so increasingly frequent.

It’s easy, because of the nature of attacks, to question our faith in humanity. But I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s at times like these, at times of such human cruelty, that if anything we should be reminded of how much greater human kindness and compassion can be. I have been so proud of the response of both the Harvard community and the community of Boston as a whole. Messages have come flooding in from everyone around campus from both students and faculty alike, expressing their condolences and support to anyone affected by the bombings, whether personally or not. I was amazing to hear one story of how some participants who, having already completed the 26.2 miles, carried on running to Massachusetts General Hospital to donate blood to help with those injured in the blasts. It is actions like these that I have taken great heart from today.

Former NFL offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi carrying a woman who had been injured in the bombing.  (Photo credit:

Although we seem to hear about events such as these occurring almost daily around the world, especially in areas of conflict, we only truly feel their affects when they hit us closer to home. Times like these are tough for everybody to comprehend, especially for those directly involved: my heart goes out to anyone who knew someone who was caught up in today’s tragedy, and I hope that you can draw strength from loved ones around you. Now is the time for all of us to remember what we have, hold it dear, and use it to grow closer together as a community. Now is the time to think about the tremendous acts of good that come from the many as a result of the terrible acts of the few, and focus solely on these. Despite the increased frequency of these types of attacks, it is from the consequent feats of altruism that we can draw both strength and faith in humankind.

May the light they bring outshine the darkness.


With admissions offers out and many people struggling to choose between different colleges, I thought I would throw my two cents in along with the others. I therefore warn you in advance that this post will be mainly focused at admitted students to the class of 2017, but I hope this will give anybody interested in Harvard a better insight into life here. I’ve been keeping an eye out on the 2017 Facebook group, so I’ll attempt to debug a few myths about Harvard which seem to keep cropping up.

One of the most interesting things I found was the notion that Harvard professors aren’t accessible to undergrads, and are solely focused on post-grads. This is a complete fallacy. Although it does vary between faculty members, I have found all of my professors so far to be really interested in getting to know their students, and in the vast majority of time it’s that the students don’t take the initiative to seek out them out. Every professor will hold what we call ‘office hours’ each week, which is where anyone in their class is able to go along to their office and sit and chat to them. Although these can be busy with the larger classes, I’ve never found it a problem to speak to a professor, and most of the time they will happily schedule appointments outside of their given office hours. Every class I have taken has started with the professor urging the class to come and see them, so they definitely want to get to know their students! Coming up in a couple of weeks we have what is known as a faculty dinner, which is where students can invite their professors to eat with them and discuss anything from class topics to current affairs, so that’s a really great thing the college do to encourage contact. Some professors will even hold their own lunches, such as my government lecturer last term professor Levitsky, who organised a whole lunch series throughout the course to get to know his students. And it even works both ways with the grad schools as well. One of the greatest things about the college is that there are courses offered at the grad schools which are open to undergrads, so you can even access the professors at Harvard’s phenomenal post-grad schools as well.

A snapshot from a faculty dinner (source:

Another worry I’ve had some people ask me is that Harvard is an incredibly stressful place. While I’m not going to lie and say that it isn’t, there are times when it can be stressful especially around deadlines, one thing I always emphasise to people is the one aspect about Harvard which surprised me most: their system of pastoral care. There is so much support at Harvard that no matter what problem you have, you will always be able to find someone who knows you to speak to. Whether it’s a problem in class, in which case teaching assistants can help, matters regarding course selection, an area your academic adviser who is assigned to you at the beginning of freshman year can help with, to worries about more general, social issues, Harvard has a plethora of different options. Every freshman is given a PAF, a peer advising fellow, who is an upperclassman who is there whenever you need someone to speak to who has gone through it before. As well as this there is confidential counselling available to every student run by students, and Memorial Church features 36 chaplians from 25 different religions and denominations who are always available to speak to you. I wasn’t aware that Harvard had such a fantastic system of support when I accepted my offer, but it really makes me feel as though whatever problems I may face in my time here, there is someone who I can go and talk to about it.

My friends and I going out for my friend Sam’s birthday tonight, the theme of shorts and blazerts reflecting the gloriously warm weather we’re having!

Lastly, a common questions I see is ‘do Harvard students have fun?’ This question is easy. Harvard is full of incredibly outgoing, sociable people who whilst are very smart, live to socialise. I’ve met some of the best people I know so far over my (almost) year here, and have had so many laughs along the way. I’ve been to sports games, concerts, meals out, formals, semi-formals, gigs, shows, dances, parties, I could go on, and never has the adage ‘work hard play harder’ been more relevant, as much of a cliche as it is. As great as the courses offered here are, class at the end of the day is class, and it’s always great at the weekends to get out, do something different, and relax. Off of campus Cambridge and Boston are both fantastic places to explore, and I couldn’t wish for a better place to live during my time at college.

If you are undecided about which college to choose between, I hope this has been helpful in giving you a bit more of an insight into life here at the big H. Whichever college you choose will be the right one for you, as it will be the factors which make you choose it which will end up being more important. But that place should be Harvard (sorry, I swear I’m not biased).


Firstly I’d like to say a massive congratulations to everyone who received an offer of admission last week! Really, it’s a fantastic achievement and you should be very proud; I remember getting my letter last year and seeing everybody being incredibly excited has brought back all the emotions I left when I found out I had got in. If you happen to be reading this and are unsure of whether to accept, you’re at the right place to find out what life on campus is really like, and I hope our blog helps.

On that topic, it’s amazing what a bit of sun can do to lift the general atmosphere: he weather has brightened up significantly over the past week, and everyone’s mood around campus with it. After the horrors of spring break it has been lovely to be able to walk around without 5 layers of clothing, and my shorts even made their first appearance of the year on Saturday! My friends James and I actually had a really nice afternoon on Saturday. Having rowed in the morning, we grabbed lunch then preceded to our respective dorms to settle down and study for the afternoon. This plan lasted for all of five minutes however, and both of us were itching to get outside and make the most of the beautiful afternoon which had blossomed. We therefore both grabbed our bikes and decided to head down the banks of the Charles and into Boston, heading for Quincy Market, a lovely little square which is always bustling with life. It turned out to be a great decision, as both of us said how glad we were that we got out and made the most of the warmth, and how less stressed we felt as a result. We came back up to campus pretty early, as we were both pretty tired after practice, and I had a two hour shift at Lamont, one of the libraries in the yard where I work. Being tired I decided to, in true student fashion, take a quick nap, and much have been far more exhausted than I thought as I slept through my alarm and the first hour of my shift. Thankfully my supervisor understood, but I was incredibly embarrassed, I must make sure I set multiple alarms next time!

A beautiful afternoon on the Charles

I’ve also had some surprising company of the homeland variety this weekend, coming in the shape of the Oxford Gargoyles. The Gargoyles are a co-ed a capella group from Britain’s famous university, who have come over on tour and performed with our very own Din and Tonics on Saturday night. As such they have been hosted by members of the Dins, and with my disgustingly talented roommate Vibav being a member, we’ve had Jacob sleeping on a mattress on the floor over the past few days: a life of luxury! He’s a really nice guy and is also a phenomenal singer, and it’s been really nice to have someone from home around. The Gargoyles are a fantastic group, I went to the concert on Saturday night and their rendition of Billy Joel’s ‘And So It Goes’ melted my heart, I’m so glad I got to see them perform. The Dins, as always, were on top form, although for my third concert in 6 months, I am getting pretty familiar with their set list (sorry guys). I definitely recommend youtubing both groups and watching some of their videos: Vibav performed the solo in the Din’s cover of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, and it still sends shivers whenever I watch it.

The Hustle and Bustle of Quincy Market

This week is a big one on the rowing front. As Cornell do not have a second freshman eight (2F), they only have a combined 3rd Varsity (3V) and 2F boat, we are currently putting our two boats together to form two combination eights to race them. This means that we are seat racing, finding out the fastest combination of the two crews, so we have some pretty intense practices lined up, as we have to taper for Saturday: tapering is where you reduce your training a few days before a race to make sure you’re fresh. This Thursday is also my first assessed Key tour, so I’ve been working hard to make sure that it’s as good as I can make it. The Key social on Friday was a lot of fun, it was great to be able to meet a lot of the members and everyone, both members and fellow compers, were so nice, and the tubs of J.P. Licks ice cream was also greatly appreciated! I’m now even more excited for the comp process, but at the same time more nervous due to the people I’m up against for the much desired places being so fantastic themselves! I found out last Thursday that I wasn’t successful in my application to be a FIP leader, which was really disappointing as I thought I could really contribute to the program, and I’m sad that I won’t be able to get to know next year’s international class as well as I would if I did FIP, but it wasn’t to be. I find out this Thursday if I’m successful in my summer job application, I thought my interview last Tuesday but I know it’s very competitive, so fingers crossed! If I don’t get the job it looks like a trip to Thailand/Cambodia/Vietnam with some of my best friends from home might be on the cards, which would be fantastic, but we shall see what the fates hold!

So spring break is over, and strangely, it’s actually quite nice. I would love to say the reason for this is because I adore my classes and cannot wait to get back to them, but I would be lying. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the classes I’m taking, but at the end of the day work is work. No, what’s nice is that everyone is back on campus. It got pretty lonely with practically just the rowing team here over the break, and although some people look disgustingly tanned from the beautiful tropical paradise they have just jetted back from, it’s nice to have the hustle and bustle of campus life again. The weather is also starting to brighten up, and is hinting, just hinting, that spring may be around the corner. We did end up with 7 inches of snow again last week, much of which is still dotted around, but I and the rest of us here in Cambridge are hoping that it will be winter’s final farewell.

A wintery Charles last Tueday…in mid March

In all I had a very relaxing spring break. We finished up the week with a good couple of days of hard training, then had the weekend off which was a really nice rest before getting back into college life again. After the excitement of busting everyone’s brackets last Thursday in March Madness, it was sad to see that we couldn’t defy the odds again and beat Arizona on Saturday, but everyone is proud of the basketball team for their momentous achievement. It was so strange to be seeing Twitter blowing up in disbelief while I’m watching friends of mine in the game. Still, we had our moment in the limelight, and showing the President that he was wrong to bet against his former university was sweet indeed!

This week should contain a couple of exciting announcements. I’ve applied to be a leader for Harvard’s Freshman International Programme (FIP), a pre-orientation program for internationals which takes place the weekend before term begins, and seeks to help internationals make the transition over to the US. I myself took part in the program last year as an incoming freshman, finding it to be a fantastic few days getting to know the international community, and really would love to be a part of helping the program run this year for the class of 2017. I had an interview just before spring break and find out at the end of this week if I was successful, so fingers crossed! As well as this, I’ve also applied for a summer job with the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, helping to spread the word about Harvard’s fantastic financial aid system. Nearly 60% of Harvard’s students receive some form of financial aid, and the average grant is $40,000, demonstrating Harvard’s commitment to breaking down economic boundaries which may stop some students from attending. My role over the summer would be a student coordinator helping to spread the word about the system to middle and high schoolers, and as someone who could only be here at Harvard thanks to this system, I think it would be an incredibly rewarding experience to help inform others of just how amazing it is. I had an interview this morning for the position, and should find out by next monday, so fingers double crossed I suppose! I’ll be sure to let you guys know next week if I’m successful or not.

A snapshot from last year’s FIP

Other than this, life has pretty much returned to normal. We have a social event for the Crimson Key, which I mentioned in my last post, on Friday to get to meet the current members and other compers, which should be a good laugh. Training has resumed in full with racing now so close I can almost touch it, lining up against Cornell on the 6th really cannot come quicker. So as I said, I will keep you guys updated with my ongoing application, and hope you all have a great week!

Okay, so that might be a tad bit of an exaggeration, but the Yard is pretty empty this week as Spring Break has finally arrived! However, as many of my friends have sought warmer climates from what is a colder than normal March in Cambridge, the temperature didn’t get above freezing until about 3pm this afternoon, I myself find myself typing this not from a beach in Mexico, but from my normal spot in my dorm room. We take advantage of having a week off school to get some solid training in before race season (we race Cornell in less than 3 weeks!), so I will be spending much of this week rowing. Or so I thought. The weather seems not to have got the message. Due to being so cold we didn’t make it out onto the water on Saturday morning and with a Noreaster, a type of winter storm specific to the ‘North-Eastern’ region of the USA, set to bring 7-9 inches of snow overnight, tomorrow looks set to be indoors as well; frustrating to say the least!

Will I wake up to this tomorrow morning?

It is however nice to have a break from school for a week, and it is a good time to both relax after a stressful mid-term period and also review and get ahead of the material for my courses. I must here apologise for my first post last week, in which I said that my courses have come to an end: they haven’t. As the name ‘mid-term’ suggest, we are merely half way through courses and the term. In the UK our school year was split into 6 terms with breaks in between, so the saying of old habits die hard is certainly true here, as it feels to me like we have reached the end of one term.

Being here over spring-break has presented us with one challenge however and that is the fact that all the dining halls are shut, so we are therefore forced to source our own sustenance. A good friend of mine on the crew team, a member of my blocking group for next year, and fellow brit James Green and I fancy ourselves as being pretty handy in the kitchen, so we raided the supermarket on Saturday afternoon, planning out our great cooking experiment. Harvard rowing has very graciously provided us with a stipend for food, so our costs are covered, and having a kitchen in every dorm means that we have the equipment available. So far this week we have cooked, to great success I might add: Spagetti Bolognese; sausages with baked potatoes and assorted vegetables; and chicken tikka massala, a firm UK favourite. I will be sure to update you with how the rest of the cooking goes as the week progresses.

The amazing curry we had for dinner tonight

Left over Spag Bol made a great lunch

Having some time off this week has also provided me with some time to sort out a few extra bits and bobs which seem so time consuming during term-time. I have been getting my tax forms ready for filing today, an experience which makes me feel extremely American. It’s also been a great chance to catch up with family and friends over skype, something I haven’t had much time for recently: I really do not know what I would do without Skype, as anyone else who has ever had family or friends go abroad will attest it really does help to break down the distance. As well as this, I have been preparing for the second part of the comp for the Crimson Key Society. There are two pieces of Harvard dialect I must translate for you here. The first is ‘comp’. For every society on campus, the process of joining is known as ‘comping’. Some comps are more intense than others, for the student paper The Crimson I believe the comp consists purely of submitting a number of pieces to be published over the term, and if this is completed you are invited to join. The second phrase is The Crimson Key Society, which is a student body on campus which primarily organises a historical tour of Harvard’s campus, but also runs events throughout the year such as the freshman ‘opening days’, a week of different events specifically for freshman when they arrive on campus in the fall. Having given tours of my old school, itself founded some 87 years before Harvard in 1549, and enjoyed it immensely, I really would love to be a party of  The Crimson Key, or ‘Key’ for short, as they seem like a great bunch of people. I’ve successfully made my way through the first part of the comp process, which involved and interview and the presentation of one tour stop, but the second part is considerably harder, having to put together and present a full tour of the campus. I have therefore been reading through various guide books, swatting up on my Harvard knowledge in preparation, and fingers crossed I will be successful. If you ever find yourself in Cambridge and need a tour though, after this week I should be able to help!


The house known as Currier (photo credit: lukethelibrarian, via Flickr)

Apologies for only posting this now when I did promise Thursday afternoon, but it turned out to be a very busy day! The excitement began at 8:30am when my blocking group assembled in my room to find out the result of the lottery. Slowly the noise in the yard began to rise as the upperclassmen entered in their masses, all chanting for their houses and waving banners. Mather came to our dorm, we all sat on tenderhooks, but then passed, and the nervous wait continued, until a green mob rested outside of our door: we were placed in Currier! Currier is on the of the Quad houses, and although not your stereotypical Harvard neo-Georgian style, it’s still a great house. It has huge common areas, is made up nearly entirely of singles, some of which are larger than my current double in the yard, and has a set of amazing senior suites, massive rooms which we will hopefully be lucky enough to get senior year.

I unfortunately had a mid-term on housing day, but with that and my afternoon practice over the revelry began. Some of my blockmates and I went up to the Quad to have dinner in our new house, and after we were greeted with a massive reception complete with food and presentation on the house. Tours followed, and we got a chance to chat to some of the upperclassman about what life in Currier is like. Although being in the Quad might be seen as a negative by some, I myself don’t see the problem: firstly it’s really not that far, and as I already have a bike for rowing it’s even closer to campus, and as well as that I have a lot of other good friends who were placed into other Quad houses (Cabot and Pfortzheimer), so Quad spirit is going to be massive next year. But whichever house anyone received on housing day, the best thing about it is that you know you’re going to be living with a group of your best friends, an experience almost exclusively reserved for college. So here’s to (almost) being an upperclassman!

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!


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