blockmates

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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┬áHouse 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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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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