Head of the Charles

You are currently browsing articles tagged Head of the Charles.

Rough  /rəf/ the most common adjective used by Harvard students lately

Midterms have the snowball effect – once they start, they don’t stop and continue growing aggressively. We’re smack dab in the middle of the semester at this point which actually means the second wave of midterms have come/are here/are lurking closer than we want them to be. For classes with only two midterms, it’s a great thing because it’s your last midterm until the final exam! Yet for classes with three midterms, it’s just another wave you have to paddle out for and hope that you catch its drift.

The middle of the semester also means mid-semester evaluations. All classes and course instructors have evaluations forms either in class or online where students can anonymously and honestly describe their feelings towards the class. Anything from lecture pace, homework lengths, to course website formats are open for discussion/critique. After student input has been reviewed and considered, professors usually announce popular concerns and how the staff will go about tackling our concerns. It’s always a beautiful thing to both have a voice and be heard, especially when the listener has your best interest in mind.

I just got a new phone and number which means I have no contacts, but it’s the best way to receive creepy-awesome texts!

I feel like as an entire student body, we’ve been working really hard, really diligently, and really long hours trying to reach (and exceed?) our potential. Libraries have gotten more crowded and coffee consumption has sky rocketed.

All this talk about perpetual midterms and caffeine addictions can easily depict a gloomy backdrop here at Harvard BUT I’m beyond happy to not only tell you, but show you how beautiful it is here!

Our rough weeks are all broken up by amazing weekends.

When I think of “amazing weekends” there are a few obvious ones that come to mind: Harvard-Yale, Yardfest and Head of the Charles.

As Caroline mentioned in her blog, Head of the Charles is this huge 3 mile crew race (as opposed to its counterpart Foot of the Charles). A big portion of the race takes place on the part of the Charles River right next to a bunch of the upperclassman houses (dorms). Tons of people gather along the river to watch, cheer, and collect all the free goodies being passed out (I got a flash drive my freshman year!). It’s a really exciting event, especially when the weather is beautiful!!

That’s Harvard Business School in the background!

Rather than just spectating this year, I decided to volunteer at the Head of the Charles. Volunteers have to sign up months in advance! I also had to arrive at 7 am with my estimated leaving time at 6 pm. A lot of mental preparation for this event!

I was positioned on Weld (Harvard Women’s boathouse) balcony where I had the best view of boats passing the Business School! The team of volunteers I was with was responsible for gathering split times. We had this fancy camera connected to a computer and we would snap pictures of boats passing by and mark their split times on the computer and send this information to the central manager – some pretty official business I’d say!

Me, spotting with my fancy binoculars!

Spotters were also present to tell us when boats were coming so we could snap accurate pictures. The spotters would also describe the boats passing and there was a scribe who wrote down boat numbers with their respective descriptions (i.e. black boat, white hats). I think this served as back up information just in case of future disputes about split times, people can look back at both the picture and the description.

I was the Men’s Heavyweight Coxswain my freshman year so being in a boathouse and watching good old feathering was all around a great day.

It may look like I’m hardly working, but I came up with my midterm paper thesis right then!


Tags: , , , ,

The past week has been an incredibly busy one, filled with deadlines, interviews, and big fall events – definitely a hectic time of year! For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll focus on two major events from the past week: Dunster Senior Common Room dinner and Head of the Charles.

Each House has a “Senior Common Room,” which is both a physical space/room within the house itself and a group of people who are affiliated with the House, including the Masters, Resident Dean, tutors, visiting fellows, and honorary members. The Senior Common Room is meant to serve as a resource for the undergraduates in the House, and each House finds its own way to connect these adults with current students. Dunster does this by hosting “Senior Common Room Dinners” 3-4 times per year, when both the SCR and current undergrads are invited to eat together and get to know one another.

Dunster hosts its dinners in the Junior Common Room, which is literally just a room within the house, but because space is limited a couple dozen undergraduates are randomly invited to attend each dinner. Despite this being my third year as a Dunster resident, this was only my first time being invited to a Senior Common Room dinner, so unsurprisingly I was pretty excited to get the chance to join in on the fun. As it happened, this dinner in particular had a heavy representation of seniors from Dunster and residential tutors, which offered a really nice opportunity to get to talk to classmates and meet some of the new tutors I hadn’t yet been introduced to. The evening started with a reception in the Masters’ house (which is attached to the actual “House” where students live in dorms), which had awesome catering, and then we moved into the JCR for dinner. After about an hour of great conversation with some fellow seniors and a couple tutors,  our Housemaster Roger Porter stood up to give a few remarks and reflect a bit on the history of Dunster House. Overall, it was an awesome night!

Senior Common Room Dinner

A delicious dinner spread!

On an unrelated note, this weekend was Head of the Charles, which I would argue is the second biggest athletics event Harvard takes part in every year (behind Harvard-Yale, of course). Head of the Charles is a two day rowing regatta held – obviously – on the Charles River. For rowers, this is actually a really big competition, and for spectators, it’s a great chance to take in some beautiful fall weather, cheer on friends, and snack on the freebie food being passed out on the riverbank. This year the weather was unbelievable, which made the whole thing even more fun. Plus, I got a chance to cheer on one of my good friends who was rowing in the womens’ doubles!


A shot of Head of the Charles – rowers, beautiful fall weather, and lots of spectators by the river!

Cheering on friends!

In other news, I officially wrapped up the fall job recruiting season last week when I had my last interview (Teach for America on Friday). Definitely a relief to have that all over with! Slightly tempted to ceremonially burn my stiff interview suit in celebration but realize that would probably not be a great idea, given that I’ll definitely be needing that next year. Also looking forward to Dunster Faculty Dinner tonight – tune in for more details about that in my next post!

And to wrap up, just a couple of snapshots of campus – Harvard is really beautiful during the fall!

Not a bad walk home!

Dunster Courtyard

Tags: ,

(My day. In my life)



I figured it’d be fun to do a visual-themed post, so I did a comic strip aaaaand here are some photos that I’ve taken around campus and Cambridge! I hope you enjoy them, and get a better sense of what your Freshman fall could look like here at Harvard.


More photos:


Harvard First-Year Social Committee turned Annenberg (the dining hall) into a Halloween Catwalk and Dance




I know it's a little late, but the Head of the Charles was AWESOME!



Someone was riding her bike with an umbrella…she's amazing.


Post Scriptum:

It snowed this weekend, which was incredible and beautiful and freezing (I am from Vermont, so there’s nothing better/more common than snow on Halloweekend). On Monday [real Halloween], my French class had a film screening in which we watched our own student-made francophone horror films, which were surprisingly awesome! Overall, this past weekend was a blast, full of horror, dancing, and candy. Mmmm, chocolate.

Happy Thursday!


Tags: , , ,

Hi everyone!  Elise here,  it’s my favorite time of year in Cambridge, and after several weeks on the road, I’m really happy to get back to campus.   My colleagues and I have had some exciting travel adventures this fall and have talked with students all across the country and throughout the world.  Here are just a few of the places Harvard Admissions Officers have visited in the United States over the past few months:  Montgomery, Alabama; Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles, California; Tallahassee, Florida; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Providence, Rhode Island; McAllen, Texas; Washington D.C., Sioux Falls, South Dakota– and the list goes on!  Beyond the US, we’ve visited China, South and Central America, 4 African nations, 4 Canadian provinces, and the United Kingdom.   See photos below from the recruitment trip to Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania that our International Director of Admissions Robin Worth took last month:


Information Session at the US Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe


Presenting at Masibambane High School, outside Cape Town, South Africa


Back on campus, the academic year is in full swing, and Harvard Yard is buzzing with activity.  New England is stunning in the fall, and I’m constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be here.  When the leaves begin to change, Harvard Yard glows with brilliant yellows, reds, and oranges, enough to take your breath away.   Photos to come– I promise!  Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had lots to celebrate at Harvard.  Two weeks ago, students and alumni from all over gathered together to wish Harvard a Happy Birthday.  If you haven’t already, check out what Caroline and Kate had to say about Harvard’s 375th Anniversary!  This past weekend was Head of the Charles, the world’s largest Regatta, and thousands of students and families flocked to the banks of our beloved Charles River to compete, watch races, and partake in the festivities.

Here in the Admissions Office, we’re gearing up for the Early Action application deadline next Tuesday, November 1.  If you’re planning to apply to Harvard under the Early Action deadline, make sure you have your materials in by November 1.  We’ll look forward to reading your application!  And while we’re on the topic of applying, please humor another quick plug to check out our new Application Tips section of the Admissions website for some great helpful hints.

Lastly, as you may have noticed, we have some new faces on the blog.  Visit the updated “Meet your Bloggers” page for bios of our new writers.   Our students can’t wait to tell you about their experiences!  I’d like to offer a big  welcome to our new writers– Natalie, Shannon, Kemie, Scott, Jeanie, Shaun, and Reid.  And we’re delighted to have some familiar faces– Caroline, Jesse, and Kate– on board again this year.  Stay tuned for posts from each of these students throughout the next few months, and let us know in the comments section if there are topics you’d like for our writers to cover.  We’re here for you!

That’s all for now– good luck with your applications!

Tags: , , ,