Quincy House

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First, congratulations to the Class of 2017! I’m so jealous you all found out so early. I had to wait until the spring when I applied my senior year of high school because there was no such thing as Early Action!

On December 5, Quincy House had our semester-ly formal event! This year’s winter formal was a Tri-House Formal along with Dunster (Caroline‘s House!) and Leverett, which are two other upperclass dorm buildings. The event was at the Seaport Hotel in Boston, and it was the last event of the year I planned as HoCo Co-Chair. HoCo (short for House Committee) is essentially the party-planning committee (Have you seen The Office?) for each upperclassmen dorm building. Every House has one, and in addition to formals, we plan community events like study breaks and act as liaisons between the administration and students. My term is officially ending at the end of this semester. But back to the formal, which was a lot of fun. The venue looked like a convention center and it was decked out in winter decorations, along with falling snow and projections on the walls. Pictures absolutely don’t do it justice, but I thought this might help with the visual:

Tri-House Formal: "A Night by the Harbor"

Tri-House Formal: “A Night by the Harbor”

During Reading Period (which is the week before Final Exam Period, where there are no classes and we get all of this unstructured time to study), I had the opportunity to watch the musical RENT, which a few of my good friends were acting, singing, and dancing in. It’s a poignant story about young artists who live in New York and whose lives are all affected to some extent by HIV/AIDS. Read more about it here. I’m always amazed by my peers’ talents, but this show took that to another level. I’ll admit that I’m not very knowledgeable regarding musicals, but I very much enjoyed this one. It was definitely the best show that I’ve seen on campus. I don’t think there are any videos up right now, but I’ll make sure I post one as soon as they go up on YouTube.

Here's me and two of my friends, Mel and Yasmeen, who stole the show in RENT!

Here’s me and two of my friends, Mel and Yasmeen, who stole the show in RENT!

The semester is coming to an end, and I wish it wasn’t because this means I’m that much closer to senior spring. I’ve actually been feeling pretty sick the past few days. I had a 20-page final paper to write with a 102.4 fever. That sounds absurd, right? I don’t know where it came from. It happened so suddenly and I just felt deathly ill. Luckily, the teaching staff of this course that I’m taking was incredibly understanding and gave me an extension on the deadline. This way, I was able to sleep instead of trying to get creative juices flowing. Looking back on the earlier portion of the week, it’s actually kind of hilarious because I can’t describe what I felt like in any other way than feeling like a vegetable. My head was heavy and thinking was so incredibly difficult. I’m not at 100% yet, but definitely a huge improvement from what I was feeling on Monday/Tuesday. And the paper’s in!

I’m far from done, as I have an exam and another paper due by the 21st (aka the last day of Exam Period). Unfortunate! I haven’t stayed on campus this late since freshman year. Everyone leaves here at different times for a variety of reasons–some people leave as soon as their last commitment on campus is over, whereas some people choose to stay a few extra days to hang out. Reading Period and Finals are interesting because the level of difficulty and rigor can vary from semester to semester, from concentration to concentration. I’ve had a semester where I had to take 3 exams, and others where I have only had papers and projects. I’ve also had two exams on consecutive days, or like this semester, have one paper due and then literally over a week until my next assignment or exam. I’m not sure which I like better. It’s always a tradeoff though. For some, getting everything over with is the ideal, even if it means a super high-stress couple of days. For others, dragging everything out over the full two week period and staying until the last day is desired. This is the first year in a while that I’m the last person in my room to leave. My roommate, Paul, left today, which is a full 8 days before I head home. One roommate down, 6 to go. The rest of the guys will be leaving between now and Wednesday, which then leaves me here for three days on my own…

I’m sure those three days will leave me bored and wanting to procrastinate, so I’ll make sure I post once more before the end of the semester!

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Yikes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on life. This semester has flown by. And I feel like I say that in every other post I type. It’s true, though!

The past few months have been stressful and emotional. Senior year is weird. I think it’s starting to hit me that I only have one semester left. It’s bizarre thinking I won’t be seeing my 7 roommates everyday or that I won’t be able to head down to dinner with them in the dining hall next year. Aside from friends, there are also so many classes I want to take before graduating. There’s just not enough time!

Looking towards the future, searching for a job is quite possibly the most daunting task I’ve ever had. As a senior, the culture here can be quite stressful and cause you to doubt yourself, especially when you feel like you’re the only person who has no idea what you’re doing next year. I’ve heard it all: unbelievable job offers that my peers have landed, to medical school folks either with a research position or those who are going straight to becoming a physician, to people who are just planning on taking a year to travel the world. However, there are so many people without plans who just aren’t as visible, which is what I keep trying to tell myself. I’m currently in the midst of applying for different opportunities, all of which I’m incredibly excited about. I know I’ll find something I love, but it does, indeed, get difficult hearing about people who have already figured out the next several years of their lives, so to speak. I miss being an underclassman. I think these feelings come with being a senior and would exist regardless of where I went to school. The thought of being somewhere other than the place that I love so much and have come to call home for the past three and a half years is incredibly scary. I don’t want to leave Harvard.

Me and one of my roommates Paul!

Me and one of my roommates Paul, Harvard-Yale 2012

Before we get any more nostalgic, seeing as I still have 5 months left as an undergraduate, let’s talk about the present, something more uplifting! This past weekend was Harvard-Yale, as Jeanie mentioned in her last post. We have this huge rivalry with Yale (surprise!) that dates back since the beginning of time. Each year, students and alumni from both schools gather at Harvard or Yale (the location alternates schools every year) and reunite all to watch the Harvard-Yale football game in what is probably the most memorable weekend of the fall semester. This year, The Game (yes, it’s a proper noun) was at home at Harvard Stadium and I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend from Yale! Funny story–she and I met at Harvard’s Pre-Frosh Weekend (now called Visitas) back in 2009. She ultimately chose Yale, but we’ve kept in touch since and had our first meal together in my dorm building, Quincy House, since we first met as seniors in high school. It was so nice catching up with her and we had a great conversation about our experiences at our schools. There were too many good memories to pack into such a short meal!

Me and Catherine, the other Co-Chair of Quincy's House Committee

Me and Catherine, the other Co-Chair of Quincy’s House Committee, Harvard-Yale 2012

As far as The Game goes, we won 34-24! My class, 2013, has been really lucky because we haven’t lost once since we’ve been Harvard students. I think Yale needs to step up their football game ūüėČ In her post, Jeanie mentioned the Rhodes Scholar interviews that occur every year on the weekend of Harvard-Yale. There were indeed not one, not two, but SIX winners from Harvard this year! Of those six, four live in Quincy and three are friends of mine! We’ve been laughing saying that there must be something in the Quincy water. All four winners literally live within 20 feet of each other in the same hallway. I can poke my head out my door and see their rooms. I’m so happy for all six of them. What an achievement–definitely worth missing The Game for!

I’ve been home, just about 40 minutes north of campus on the border of New Hampshire, for a few days now on Thanksgiving break. I also went shopping at midnight yesterday (or early this morning, rather) for Black Friday, which is a day of the year when many retailers open their stores at ridiculously early hours with huge sales to get rid of much of their inventory. It’s one of the biggest days in the United States for the retail business, as well as a day when many people get their holiday shopping done. It sounds crazy that I went at midnight, and even crazier that I drove back to campus to pick up some of my roommates and blockmates (up to 8 people you choose to be placed into the same House as you after freshman year)! I guess that’s one of my favorite parts about being a local student. I can go home for breaks, bring people with me, or just drive back to campus if I want to hang out with my friends. We had too many people who wanted to go shopping, so my roommate/blockmate, Adam, rented a Zipcar for the entire morning. We took advantage of a lot of the deals and shopped until 7 am!

Shop 'til you drop?

Shop ’til you drop?

I’m trying to relax, spend time with family, and eat leftover Thanksgiving desserts (pie, anyone?) before heading back to campus on Monday morning for Reading Period and exams. I’ll be sure to update more regularly now that the crazy part of the semester is over!

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It’s such a strange feeling being a senior. The start to the semester has been incredibly busy, and I echo Caroline’s sentiments about senior year being a completely different experience than any of the others. I’ve also been putting myself out there in the job search, trying to get my foot in the door somewhere. I’ve been learning a lot about different industries and trying to see where I feel like my skills could have the most impact. It’s a pretty daunting idea–the thought of entering the working world scares me a lot. I love school and have found a home in Harvard that I don’t want to leave.

Before the job search, I was able to have fun with the Crimson Key Society (CKS), which is a service organization Caroline, Kemie, and myself are a part of. CKS is essentially Harvard’s welcoming committee, and we give campus tours and run Freshman Week (what we call first-year student orientation). Some highlights include the First Chance Dance, the Freshman Talent Show, as well as our annual showing of Love Story. We all dress up in 70’s gear and dance outside the Science Center to songs by music groups like The Jackson 5 and The Bee Gees before the showing of the movie, which is always a lot of fun!

My friend, Jill, and I before our showing of Love Story!

My friend, Jill, and I before our showing of Love Story!

Besides getting back into the swing of things, my dorm building, Quincy House, recently had our annual Field Day and Exorcism. There are 4 teams each year: sophomores, juniors, seniors, and staff, and every team has a different colored t-shirt. While Field Day sounds like a sporting event, you actually don’t need much athletic ability at all. And yes, the entire staff of our House show up to compete, from our Housemasters, Lee and Deb, to our House administrator, Larry, to our Resident Dean, Judith, and our entire staff of Tutors and even their children! We compete against each other in balloon toss, dizzy bat races, limbo, and tug of war (to name a few), and it’s just an overall great welcome back event that gets everyone involved in some friendly competition. I was the limbo champion last fall, only to experience a bit of an upset when I got eliminated in the second to last round this year. An even bigger upset, however, was when my class (2013–the defending champions from last year), came in second behind the staff.

...seconds before an epic fail of falling in the second to last round!

…seconds before an epic fail of falling

Senior year has been quite a ride already and it’s only been a few weeks! I’ve met some amazing new people and I’m super excited for what’s to come. I’ll keep you all updated–best of luck to those students in the States who also just recently started school! #YOLO #YOSYO!

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As the semester winds down, life is getting busier, the days are growing longer, and it’s starting to look like summer a little more each day. My motivation for doing schoolwork is decreasing and I can’t believe that it’s almost the end of my third year here. The end of the spring semester brings about a whole bunch of things, including summer plans and one of my favorites–Quincy Assassins. It’s a bit complicated to explain, but long story short, we sign up in teams of up to 6 people and are assigned targets that we have to shoot with Nerf guns. The rules are 13 pages long! Caroline wrote about the most epic battle yet in Quincy courtyard the other evening. My team is all just about terminated, but the few other teams that are left are extremely intense. They stake out our dining hall and hallways on a daily basis. The game makes you incredibly paranoid, but it’s probably the most involved and dramatic game of Assassins played on campus (many other Houses run their own versions).

Quincy Assassins

Me and a few members of my Quincy Assassins team being ridiculous!

As far as summer plans go, it looks like I’ll be doing two things–proctoring on campus for Harvard Summer School and traveling the world hosting a new documentary series. While I can’t mention too much, the television show is basically about how different cultures and backgrounds affect people’s learning styles. I’ll be lucky enough to travel to Korea, China, Israel, France, and India with two other Harvard students, as well as one of my Peer Advising Fellows (PAF) from my freshman year, who has since graduated. Peer Advising Fellows are basically upperclassman buddies who are assigned to an entryway of first year students to advise them on academic, social, and personal matters. I’m currently a PAF and I love it! For those of you who will be studying here in the fall as freshmen, you’ll all have a PAF, as well. But I digress. My PAF’s name is Lilli, and she is now working for Google. Jenny is another one of the students, whom I’ve actually been very close with since freshman year, as we met through playing volleyball (she played on the Varsity Women’s Volleyball team for two years). The other student is Bryan, whom I met a few months ago, but I’m excited to get to know him better. We were all filming this past weekend and had a lot of fun together!

This coming weekend is Visitas, or as Harvard called it when I was visiting as a high school senior back in 2009, “Pre-frosh Weekend.” I think Visitas has a better ring to it. Regardless, I hope those of you who are visiting will meet as many people as possible and take advantage of all the cool opportunities on campus. One of the people I met during my visiting weekend is now one of my closest friends and blockmates (blockmates are people you pick to live in the same House with after freshman year). It’s also extremely fun to meet people and keep in touch over the summer before you get to campus. There is an activities fair where you can get a whole bunch of free swag and sign up for mailing lists to show your interest in various extracurricular clubs even before you start studying here. Also, a great majority of the student groups put on performances and special events, so be sure to check those out as well. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m the House Committee (HoCo) Co-Chair for Quincy House (each of the undergraduate upperclassmen houses have a¬†House Committee that plans house events like formals, study breaks, and other events to foster community and make the house a fun place to live). Each HoCo has been working hard to plan your regional reception events, so be sure to check those out. Now that you got in, you may or may not be wondering one of the main questions I constantly thought about: Am I the Admissions Mistake? Absolutely not. And I hope you step on campus this weekend knowing that you deserve and have every right to be here.

 

 

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As Kate said, congratulations to the Class of 2016! I also remember the day I received my acceptance letter–it’s a day that I’ll never forget. My volleyball practices were always from 4 pm to 6:30 pm. And as most of you are aware, admissions decisions are emailed around 5 pm EST. It was hard to focus on volleyball when I knew there was a message waiting for me in my inbox. It didn’t make it any easier that we had an important match the next day, along with a team dinner immediately after practice. As both captain and an upperclassman on the team, I had the responsibility of making sure underclassmen had transportation to and from…well, basically everywhere. After practice, I had a car full of them, but told my teammates that I had to drive home for a minute. They waited in the car as I ran in to my house and closed the door to my room. And there it was. My mom was the only one home at the time. The waterworks began, followed by many phone calls on her end, but I had to run outside and get back to my teammates. There could be more detail to this story, including exactly who was crying and what not, but I’ll save myself the embarrassment. Regardless, congratulations to each and every one of you, and I hope that you’ll reach out to any one of us bloggers if you have any questions about life here on campus.

As far as my life goes, days have been incredibly busy, as they usually are at this time in the semester. With a whole new class of Penguins in Quincy House, we decided to host a public service trip to a local non-profit called Cradles to Crayons for the freshmen who will be living here next year. We thought it would be a nice thing to do to get to know each other while helping others at the same time. Cradles to Crayons is an organization that ¬†‚Äúendeavors to provide homeless and low-income children with the¬†essentials they require to thrive ‚Äď to feel safe, warm, ready to learn, and¬†valued.‚ÄĚ ¬†Volunteers work for two-hour shifts, sorting and inspecting incoming items, such as books, outfits, and toys. They also fill¬†orders that meet the needs of individual¬†boys and girls in their local communities.Representatives from the Philips-Brooks House Association, as well as members of the Quincy House administration and House Committee (HoCo) went and all had a great time.

Cradles to Crayons

Our sorted bags at Cradles to Crayons!

Speaking of HoCo (each of the undergraduate upperclassmen houses have a¬†House Committee that plans house events like formals, study breaks, and other events to foster community and make the house a fun place to live), our Housemasters, Lee and Deb, invited the 2011 and current members of HoCo, along with our advisor Kate, for dinner at their house this weekend. They ordered Thai food and served ice cream as dessert!¬†Quincy House has the best administration on campus. They truly go out of their way to support their students. Lee and Deb make sure our voices are heard, as well as hold events for all of their students, inviting us to their home for Master’s Open Houses with delicious desserts. Even though it’s a ways away from those of you who will be attending here next year, I hope you all get sorted into Quincy House come next Housing Day!

2011 and 2012 Quincy House Committees

2011 and 2012 Quincy House Committees

 

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Thursday, March 8 was Housing Day! It’s really similar to how students are sorted into the houses in the Harry Potter series. Here, there’s no Sorting Hat, but students can “block” with up to 8 people freshman year that they’ll be randomly placed with into an upperclassman house for the next three years (if you don’t like living there, you can switch houses after a year–but most people fall in love with wherever they end up). These people are referred to as “blockmates” or your “blocking group” and, for me, have been a huge part of my experience at Harvard. Once put into a house, freshmen won’t move in until the fall of their sophomore year, but they can fully enjoy their respective house’s offerings and advantages. For example, my house, Quincy, has community dinner in the dining hall on Thursday evenings that only Quincy residents can attend.

As the House Committee (HoCo) Co-Chair, I spent hours and hours planning Housing Day festivities with the 7 other HoCo members. I was literally on my feet from 7:00 am in the morning to 10:30 pm–no exaggeration. I was present at every single event listed below. Many things had to be taken care of for Housing Day, and while we all worked together, it took a significant contribution on everyone’s part.

Pre- and night before:

  • Pick a theme (“Q-Men: Freshman Class” — our play on “X-Men: First Class”)
  • Create a video (can you spot my cameo?)
  • Have the House vote on a t-shirt design (see photo below)
  • Think of a free gift for freshmen (see photo below)
  • Hold a sign-making event
  • Stuff the informational folders for the incoming class
  • Organize Big Penguin/Little Penguin groups (a Quincy House program to pair incoming students with upperclassmen buddies)

Day of:

  • Organize breakfast and face painting the morning of for upperclassmen (7:00 am – 8:00 am–about 150 came out to storm the Yard and dorms!)
  • Hand-deliver letters with other upperclassmen to each blocking group (8:15 am – 9:30 am)
  • Trek to freshmen dining hall, Annenberg, and set up table to check students in and give free t-shirts (10 am – 2:15 pm)
  • Meet and greet and speak at Community Dinner (5:00 pm – 7:15 pm)
  • Meet and Greet freshmen at the Master’s Open House (7:30 pm – 10:30 pm)

Quincy Housing free Housing Day t-shirts and drawstring bags!

There were delicious desserts at the Master’s Open House event, and we showed the Housing Day video again. It was incredibly well attended, but towards the end of the night, I was so tired that I almost couldn’t wait for it to be over. I ended up falling asleep on my House Master’s couch, and my friends apparently took photos of me (which I have yet to see). How embarrassing.

Me with Ginny, the HoCo secretary!

 

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Shannon’s post that mentions shelves of Free Time does a great job summarizing what I feel like must be any college student’s month of November. The semester is almost ending, and there’s too much to do in such a short amount of time. This week was crunchtime.

One of the coolest things that every upperclassman house has is a House Committee (HoCo). HoCo plans house events like formals, study breaks, and other events to foster community and make the house a fun place to live. Essentially, HoCo acts as the student voice for the entire house to staff and administration. I decided to run for next year’s HoCo for the position of co-Chair. However, as Shannon mentioned, November is the time when everyone goes to buy more Free Time, but the shelves are simply empty. Between a HoCo campaign, two problem sets, and a CS50 exam, I was feeling the pressure!

The CS50 exam was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, so Tuesday evening was particularly stressful. I spent the majority of my evening after dinner in the Qube (each upperclassman house has a libary and the Qube is Quincy’s). It wasn’t too bad, though, because I was surrounded by good company and we made sure to take a study break. We ended up making a new friend, pictured below.

Two of my friends, Cielo and Mary, in the Qube!

Two of my friends, Cielo and Mary, in the Qube!

Fast forward to late Thursday evening. The exam was over. I also ended up winning my HoCo election, which I’m so stoked about and can’t wait to help plan events for Quincy House. At midnight (Friday, November 18), a few friends blindfolded me and took me to a restaurant where more friends were waiting with a cheesecake for my 21st birthday. Why not a regular cake? Well, cheesecake because it is my favorite thing to eat in the entire world…which usually confuses most people because I don’t eat chocolate or drink soda, and I just don’t enjoy sweets in general. But that’s beside the point. Later that evening, my cousins came to campus and brought me out to dinner. My birthday was fantastic, and it just happened to fall on the same weekend as the annual Harvard-Yale football game (or, “The Game” for short).

Yale Bowl, Harvard-Yale 2011

The Yale Bowl was packed!

I had another visitor this weekend–Rachel, my best friend from home! One of the best parts about attending college just a little more than a half hour from home is that I have family and friends from high school close enough so that a visit is just a drive away. The Game’s venue alternates every year between the Yale Bowl and Harvard Stadium. This year, it was taking place at Yale, and since I didn’t go as a freshman, I was excited to experience it, especially with Rach. We won 45-7! It was a new adventure for the both of us, and we explored Yale’s campus, only to fall in love with the architecture of all the buildings. I might be biased, but I still think there’s no place like home. Quincy House!

Rachel and I in front of Yale's Silliman College

Rachel and I in front of Yale's Silliman College

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