About three weeks ago, I received a surprise email in my inbox alerting me that I had been accepted as a Peer Advising Fellow – in Harvard lingo, I’m a new PAF! While the name certainly sounds a bit intimidating, the idea is that each Harvard freshman gets assigned a PAF to serve as a peer mentor throughout their first year at school. PAFs generally have 6-10 “PAFees” to advise, and are expected to meet with their advisees a few times a semester to check in and answer basic questions. Last year, I found having a student perspective to be incredibly helpful in choosing classes and navigating all of the resources and events at Harvard.
Competition to become a PAF is fierce – the Advising Programs Office receives about 800 applications for approximately 75 spots – and I was ultimately placed on the wait list when I initially applied last spring. That’s why I was so shocked to receive a congratulatory email this spring! I thought they had entirely moved beyond last year’s waiting list, and, in fact, I had just submitted my new application for this spring’s cycle.
Admittedly, coming in as a new PAF halfway through the year has been a bit strange. I’m filling the spot of an outgoing senior, and therefore am picking up where she left off, with a batch of second semester freshmen who I’ve been busy introducing myself to over the past few weeks. One of the perks of being a PAF, however, is that I get to attend “study break” once a week: all of my PAFees are assigned to the same entryway, and each Wednesday the two other PAFs and I plan an hour-long snack break for the freshmen. This week we had a chocolate themed study break, although my personal favorite so far has been burgers and fries!
Over the next couple of months, I’ll be helping my advisees navigate sophomore housing applications and think about potential concentrations. I’m definitely looking forward to getting to know them a bit better!
And, on a completely unrelated note, I also went to see Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals show this week. Hasty Pudding is an all-male theater troupe that performs (largely) in drag every spring, and their shows are always HILARIOUS. It’s a long-standing Harvard tradition – this year was the 163rd show! I’m including a photo below, but if you want more info check out their website!