Friends

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Good thing Yale never engulfed Vassar because then I’d have to dislike (understatement) Vassar through association.

This past weekend, my two friends from Vassar kicked off their Spring Break with a Harvard visit! It was my first time hosting people sophomore year, but my itinerary hardly changed. As a freshman, I hosted a ton of prefrosh (prospective/accepted students) from random kids the Admissions Office introduced me to, all the way to close friends from science camp. In great efforts to sway them in the direction of Harvard, I showed them around campus, forced tourist pictures in front of the John Harvard Statue, and even broke out of the Harvard Bubble with a mini tour of Boston.

Busy, busy! Just let me be ubiquitous please!

Showing people around my favorite places in Cambridge is easy (Science Center, Annenberg, Berryline, etc.) but trying to appear as the master of Boston proved to be more difficult and included interviewing friends from the area as well as a ton of Googling! One of my favorite Harvard characteristics is how campus life feels like a harmonious mesh of urban and suburban culture. It’s a shame that most students’ hectic schedules prevent us from taking advantage of Boston, but I definitely use every hosting opportunity to exploit the city’s pleasures!

First stop: the waterfront. When I think of Boston, I never think of water. Yet, I’m surrounded by the beautiful harbor and Charles River constantly. The harbor is ~500 feet from the T (subway stop) and always calm and peaceful. My friends and I lucked out because the sky was gorgeous although it was still SO cold (California girl speaking here).

Boston Harbor at sunset

From the harbor, it’s just a short walking distance from Faneuil Hall – a great place to people-watch, shop, eat and even see local street performers!

Faneuil Hall

I like to end the tour with a big bang: Mike’s Pastries. This place is legen…wait for it…dary, LEGENDARY. They have the best cannolis I’ve ever eaten and their usual out-the-door line says enough. Even though I hype this place up so much in my head, it never disappoints!! The crispy and flaky texture of the shell which envelops a creamy, yet light ricotta cheese is unparalleled in this and any other dimension. Seriously.

Mike's Pastries in the North End of Boston

For centuries, people have been repeating one word three times: location, location, location! I’ve finally figured out the reasons behind their redundancy – the need for tremendous emphasis! Harvard and its unique and generous opportunities are beyond both phenomenal and amazing; I could type about this forever, but since I still have a pset and a midterm hanging over my head, I’ll just illuminate that one of the more admirable characteristics of Harvard University is its location. Wedged in Cambridge among other top universities as well as successful companies, Harvard fosters a delightfully diverse environment students can thrive on.

My current environment is all the Housing Day hype! Tomorrow is Housing Day!! Basically,

Pfoho's Polar Bear studiously taking notes

freshmen are getting sorted into various upperclassmen houses and as upperclassmen, it’s our duty to make it known that our respective house is the best. We strive to conquer this endeavor by wearing our house mascots everywhere – and yes, this includes lecture – as well as releasing housing day videos!

 

Check out Mather’s official video for Housing Day 2012, a spin off of the hit sensation taking over Harvard campus by storm:

 

May all current and future freshmen win the Housing Day lottery with acceptance into Mather!

 

 

 

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Last week, I had a depressing blog about my experiences with the (unavoidable?) demon popularly termed Sophomore Slump. BUT! I’m back a week later to uplift your spirits, happily reporting that this week has taken a turn back to happy norms – or as happy as possible in the gloomy presence of midterms and deadlines. Although the workload conditions haven’t altered much, the difference is that I’m not hating existence and my professors are once again able to heighten my intrigue with binary numbers and Aspartic catalysts, can I get a WOOT WOOT?

I pinpointed the root of my slumpish nature as my anxiety revolving around my summer plans and the big possibility of not being immersed in the love of the people I spent my first 18 years of life with; the alternative would be a cultural and/or scientific immersion. So the moral of the story is: I’m a brat. Clearly, I don’t have much to say on this topic because it happens so rarely ….… but having rough weeks is actually a great experience because I wouldn’t appreciate the good as much if it were good all the time.

There were two prominent things that helped me cope with my disaster week – one of them being my upperclassman house, Mather! (You can’t say it without an exclamation mark!) As I’ve said in previous posts, I’ve been feeling pretty stagnant with regards to my Spanish learning curve which has catalyzed my desire to study abroad. But since I’m a 20 year old brat who still gets homesick, I’d never be able to stick it out as a foreigner for a semester, so I’d ideally like to go somewhere this summer where I can think, speak, live, breathe and blink Spanish. My resident tutor (freshmen here call it proctor, but it’s more widely known as RA: Resident Adviser, basically someone older/wiser who lives in the dorm and repels chaos) and current Spanish 50 class TF (Teaching Fellow) holds a “Spanish Table” every Wednesday during dinner time and last Wednesday was my first (but definitely not last) partake. Spanish Table gives students a chance to have a meal over Spanish conversation. All levels are welcomed and encouraged. The atmosphere is really chill and not intimidating at all! Thinking and speaking Spanish outside of the classroom, in a casual setting, really refueled my excitement about the possibilities of going abroad! Southern California, I’ll thank you endlessly for literally being one of the most influential factors for shaping who I am – from the way I dress, think and speak – but I’ll be okay if we don’t see much of each other this summer.

Studying at a college so far away from home and with seemingly endless possibilities has really made me feel like a globalized person – or maybe just a country-ized person? I’ll earn the term “globalized” if I do indeed go abroad this summer (I’m typing with my fingers crossed here). Harvard offers a plethora of opportunities I never thought existed and recently, its international opportunities have really caught my eye. Everything from Harvard offered programs to non-Harvard programs (campus organizations like OCS: Office of Career Services will work with you to apply and even transfer credit!) to professors who offer to connect you with organizations such as WHO: World Health Organization (my Bioethics professor, Dr. Daniel Wikler, offered to do so!) is just so extraordinarily unbelievable that I can’t wrap half my mind around it. Living and thriving in an environment with massive opportunity, filled with driven people is truly a humbling experience, which brings me back to the second thing that helped me during my disaster week: talking with my best friend from home.

It’s strange how, for me at least, the beginning of college came concomitant with living in a split dimension: your high school life vs. your college life. It’s easy to get caught up in your busy college life, but during sophomore slump weeks, you just want to escape and I accomplished that by catching up with my besties from middle/high school.

I’m pretty confident when I claim that the Sophomore Slump has been a nationwide epidemic because a handful of both friends from home and Harvard have had rough weeks recently. (I partially blame pre-Spring Break Fever) So my best friend from high school, Emily, and I were retrospectively examining our lives (some pretty profound stuff if I dare say so myself) and she mentioned how college is an incredibly humbling experience in the realm of grades which help you realize how smart you are not. I wholeheartedly agreed as I thought about all my premed classes and how students legitimately earn A’s without the curve – snaps AND kudos to everyone because one form of encouragement wouldn’t be enough. This makes it really easy for the majority of students to feel stupid and unworthy, but I’d like to point out that these two things are mutually exclusive. I’m not sure if that makes things better, BUT at least it’s true! I’d like to remedy this situation by telling myself (and you!) that college isn’t all about the grades – it’s about the experiences too. When I look back at college, I won’t remember the 100% I got on my organic chemistry final (not based on a true story), but what will indeed stand out is that time my roommates and I watched scary movie trailers all night for no reason.

My take-home message would be to relax! I feel like 149% of the prospective students I come into contact with (their parents representing the extra 49%) expect that Harvard students are the definition of perfection and that our records/transcripts/etc. should have their own exhibition in the Smithsonian, BUT this is so wrong! Your imperfections shape you just as much as your more admirable qualities and admissions officers realize that you, buddy, are a package deal. Harvard students have their fair share of imperfections and rough weeks – and that’s perfectly fine.

 

Preemptively striking, Housing Day – the epic day that freshmen find out which upperclassmen house they’ll be residing in for their remaining years as an undergraduate – is in just one week! See for yourself why Mather! can’t be said, but only exclaimed!

*props to Scott for helping me share Mather! Love

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Hi everyone!  I haven’t written in a few weeks because I’ve been hard at work for something for you guys, and I can’t wait to show you.  So stay tuned!  In the meantime, now that we’re several weeks into the semester, here are some of the cool things that happened when I got back to campus.

While my second term at Harvard officially started in early February, I’ve been on campus since middle of January. The tennis team has been in full practice swing since January 15th in order to get ready for our spring season.  Since classes didn’t start until January 23rd, the Friends of Harvard Tennis Committee had been kind enough to set-up a lot of events after our practices.

First, the freshmen tennis class had the privilege of having lunch with the Dean of Freshmen, Tom Dingman. We ate at Grafton Street Restaurant and had a great time. Also, there were several alumni events later in the week. At these alumni events, former members of the Harvard Tennis Teams came and talked about their life experiences after graduating from college. It was extremely interesting to hear the kind of jobs they have now and how their experiences as student athletes at Harvard helped shape their journey in the real world. While all of the events were really helpful, the most memorable event was the Harvard Tennis Spring Kick-off Banquet, which was held at the Harvard Club in Boston.  Here, Alex Seaver and Debbie Goldfine (both Co-Chairs of Friends of Harvard Tennis), hosted a remarkable event which included guest speakers, captains’ presentations, and a spectacular dinner.

 

Freshmen Men's Tennis Class of 2015 having lunch with Dean Dingman

 

 

Harvard Men's Tennis Team at the Harvard Club of Boston

 

The last week of January, classes officially began. This semester, I’m taking Statistics 104, Science of the Physical Universe, Economics 10, and Sociology 43. Compared to last semester, these classes are structured a little differently, as I tried to branch out and pick topics that I haven’t had to chance to explore yet.  Of all my classes this semester, I’m really interested in Sociology 43, as the class has real life applications and the readings are extremely riveting. In addition to classes starting, I had my nineteenth birthday last week.  A group of friends and I went out to a local restaurant, Border Cafe, to celebrate.

 

Celebrating my 19th birthday at Border Cafe

 

 

 

Sterling, Kerry, and I are having a high school reunion dinner in Harvard Square.

 

In late January, the Men’s Tennis team hosted their first dual matches of the season. We hosted Drake, DePaul, and Denver University. In each one of the matches, the team plays three doubles matches and six singles matches. That Friday, we played Denver, and then we played a double header on Saturday against Drake and DePaul. Our team played extremely well throughout out the weekend, and we were able to win all three dual matches, respectively, 4-0, 4-1, 4-0.

 

Coach Fish conducting a team meeting before our match

 

That’s it for this post, thanks for reading. Next, I’ll be posting something special, so be sure to keep an eye out for my next blog!

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This weekend I had a birthday, and even though the week is already halfway over, I’m still feeling happy.  My friends threw a sorta-surprise birthday party at midnight, which included this groovy cake with psychedelic colors:

When I first came to Harvard as a fresh freshman, I had no idea if I would find real friends and relationships in college.  I was hoping for the best, but that first year of college is pretty socially demanding and hard to navigate, as any college-kid you know can probably confirm, and we were all more concerned with making friends than with keeping them.  During those first months of school, everyone had a ton of “friends.”  But while we were bouncing between room parties and study groups and sports practices and formals, the substance and mettle of those relationships hadn’t been tested yet.

The last three and a half years have been full of fluctuations for me.  I studied abroad in Paris last fall, and I felt like a freshman all over again when I came back to campus in the spring.  Then there are the natural ebbs and flows of friend-groups; for example, in field hockey off-seasons, I don’t see my teammates nearly as often.  Even though most of us long for relational consistency, I think that friend fluxes are a natural (and sometimes inevitable) part of life.  But on Saturday night, as I looked around at my closest friends, I felt so blessed and full to the brim.  To the casual onlooker, I was just shoveling rainbow cake into my mouth, but on the inside, I was thinking: the people in this room are all people I love.

I’m so grateful I can write that sentence before I graduate, and mean it.

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One of my favorite things about Harvard is the vast array of extracurricular to get involved in—you have a passion, there’s probably a place for it. If you haven’t noticed, food is one of mine. Not just the taste but also the ability of food to bring together community, create dialogue, and allow us to aid the world through a meal. And, indeed, at Harvard there’s a place for that passion—a group called the Food Literacy Project (FLP).

 

Created and funded by Harvard University Dining Services, this unique group hires student representatives from each undergraduate house—as well as a few additional representatives—to increase food literacy on campus.  We host study breaks in the evenings, lectures on the weekends, and community dinners whenever. Whether the subject is the question of the ethics of Genetically Modified Foods, or helping soon-to-be-leaving seniors learn how to shop & cook for themselves, students around campus help facilitation discussions on the important issues.

I’ve been so lucky to be part of this group of individuals truly excited about what they’re doing. And the energy was once again flowing this past weekend at our semester’s first FLP retreat, where we generate great ideas and made and devoured fresh vegetarian sushi (see pictures below).

 

As the Lowell House Representative, I’m currently putting together plans for a community dinner series featuring some of my favorite professors. One I’m hoping to host an event with in Professor Ted Bestor, an expert on the Japanese Tsukiji Fish Market and the Political and Economic effects of the global fish trade. Perhaps another vegetarian sushi night will be in order.

 

Speaking of passions, the beginning of the semester has been a torrent of applications and meetings and interviews, all maybe, possibly, hopefully. The Culinary Society (of which I’m the Vice President) is currently underway planning our big event for the semester—a guacamole making contest and festival (Guac’ Off), a previous smash the last few years. The whole planning experiencing has been overwhelming and emotionally rewarding at the same time as we it has become time for those of us who are seniors in the club to hand off the baton to the next officers.

 

And then there’s that pesky thesis.  When times get rough, the best thing is knowing you have a friend’s shoulder to lean on. My friend Anita has been invaluable in our mutual venting, crying, and oh-my-gosh-we-can-do-this experiences through our own push to write a thesis. Her block-mate Angelia has been great in realizing I’m not alone when it comes to uncertainty in our writing. I realize now that the greatest value of writing a thesis is in the process itself, of following through, of learning to create something full, and of how to deal.

 

Perhaps that’s one of the greatest values too of Harvard as well—I sure have learned a lot on that front. Academics aside for the moment, it’s now officially Friday evening and time for a movie with friends at our local independent theater, The Brattle Theatre. Hope you enjoy you’re weekend too!

Ps. Here’s a picture of my house cat that I just couldn’t leave out—adorable or what?

 

~Natalie

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Sorry I’m not going to provide mathematical evidence supporting String Theory; instead, I’m going to scandalously skim the social scene at Harvard College.

There’s an enormous misconception that Harvard is awkwardly social, if not antisocial. Personally, I strongly disagree, unless my own idiosyncrasies have blurred my perception of what is socially acceptable. I shamelessly admit, however, that before arriving at Harvard, I worried that students wouldn’t be able to distinguish the fun concomitant to studying/learning with the fun concomitant to all things non-academic. I feared that all my conversations would revolve around academia and that my needs for discussing the Kardashians would never be satisfied. But let it be known that my experiences at Harvard have not only exceeded my expectations academically, but also have satiated my celebrity gossiping desires. (Most of the time) we’re just normal people who love to dive into books as much as social events – and this even applies to those who live(d) in Massachusetts Hall where only a handful of hand-picked freshmen live, rumored to be the best of the best and the creamiest of the cream of the crop!

I’ll defend the claim that some of the best things are simply stumbled upon – that’s how I found Theta (Kappa Alpha Theta), the first Greek-letter fraternity for women (and at Harvard!). Some of my pre-college friends were surprised that I was rushing Greek life freshman spring semester, but it made perfect sense to me! During the later years of my high school career, I became actively involved with the scholarship program Distinguished Young Women of America (formerly known as America’s Junior Miss) and I quickly became obsessed with this community of beautiful, driven girls. A paralleling community was definitely lacking my first semester of college, especially after coxswaining for the men’s heavyweight crew team. I was definitely in need of a community where I could more closely relate (and boy bash) with, which drove me into rushing the Greek scene.

 

Finding Theta, Thinking Theta & Loving Theta

 

There are three sororities as Harvard (although Harvard doesn’t technically acknowledge single gender groups): Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta), Delta Gamma (DG), and Kappa Kappa Gamma (Kappa). After a hectic and crazy fun week of rush, I pledged loyalty to Theta and have never looked back!! I’m obsessed with these girls because I can rely on them for everything from wisdom and support to humor and dance choreography! Granted sisterhood is a part of every sorority, I chose Theta because I specifically felt that Thetas weren’t only involved all around campus and the Boston community, but they were leaders in the activities they were involved in – leading Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) volunteer programs, Women’s Leadership Conferences, and so SO much more!! Joining Theta has made me feel more connected to both a new community of strong, young women and the Harvard community itself because by staying up to date with their lives, I’m more informed of Harvard’s plethora of opportunities. Theta is what catalyzed my interests in my secondary of Global Health and Health Policy as well as pushed me to race in my first (and definitely not last) half marathon!! My sorority sisters definitely have an extremely influential role in my major life decisions and I hope that it stays this way because with their guidance, I’m more comfortable with taking risks and challenging myself. Don’t take this post as an enormous shameless plug for Greek life at Harvard or any other university because it may not be your personal cup of tea – I guess what I’m trying to say is that your interests and activities in high school may translate into unexpected ones in college so don’t be too weary of giving a chance to things you were once opposed to.

Some girls who have Thought Theta

This week is Rush Week for the sororities so it’s my first time on the “other” side of rush. I’m having an absolute BLAST getting to know my sisters better and I’m so excited for our new members to become a part of this family as well!

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If you’ve never personally experienced a group of teenage girls sobbing after an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I’m going to write these next few lines under the assumption that you have a pretty good idea of what this hot mess looks like.

On August 17, 2010, seven hours before the take-off of my first flight from San Diego to Boston, I was standing in a garage, in a circle with my very best girlfriends. As we all strived to stay as classy as possible, we couldn’t hold back the streamlining tears that came concomitant with our hyperventilation. There was no denying that our lives would change drastically, our friendships would be challenged, and that we were drowning not only in our tears, but also in our profound fear of the unknown. Within this moment, we were sure that our worlds would ruthlessly collapse because we wouldn’t be sharing sandwiches or seeking shelter from the seagulls or comparing our carrot sticks at lunch anymore. Yes, these were indeed defining characteristics of our bestfriendship.

That’s why this time of the year is so exponentially imperative: two of my friends from home share a birthday on November 10. You can find me scrambling around Harvard Square attaching symbolism to each item purchased while reciting the nine steps of neuronal development (it’s midterms, round 2 season). With my birthday presents, however, I prefer to emphasize the importance of the birthday letter. So after I finished collaborating on a physics problem set (endearingly termed pset), I spent a few hours pouring my heart and cheesy humor into the lines of college-ruled loose leaf paper, until I realized I had a physics lecture in 4 hours and haven’t slept yet…whoops!

Sometimes on campus, it can seem like an ongoing challenge to get less sleep than all of your friends. This isn’t because Harvard students are obnoxiously competitive in all things related to life (did you notice I collaborated with other students to complete my physics homework??); it’s because we’re all trying to create marvelous memories of our college years. None of the stressful Math 55 psets will be distinguishable in the end and none of our organic chemistry exams will seem so pinnacle. What will be ingrained in our memories are the times when our friends in the Quad wanted to Skype about a pset because they live so far or the times you snorted because that nerdy joke just hit the spot. You’ll remember your friendships because it’s the friendships – not the psets or papers – that endure. So to all you current college applicants out there, don’t worry about losing touch with your friends because both, your memories and relationships, will last!

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You know when small periods of your life seem to have a theme?  Like your life is just one giant theme party that no one told you about, and you’re looking around thinking, “Can this really be happening?”  That was my weekend.

I mean, it was Halloweekend, so I was already all tee’ed up to see crazy people running around in cool costumes.  That much I expected.  What I didn’t expect was who those crazy people would be.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My sophomore year of high school I decided to take a break from my lifestyle in Sewickley, PA and go on a semester abroad in Zermatt, Switzerland with a program called Swiss Semester.  On this program thirty other high school sophomores and I hiked, biked, mountain climbed, and skied our way around the Alps all the while having a break taking view of the Matterhorn.  Literally all of my pictures from that trip look like they should be in a travel magazine, and I can assure you that it’s not due to my photography skills.  This is where I made some really life-changing friendships.  These other kids became my family, but because we all live in different parts of the United States, I have only been able to see them here and there, and often by chance.

So, back to this weekend.

On Thursday night, I said, “See ya!” to my roommates and headed down on the shuttle in the pouring rain/snow to Harvard Square.  I was super stoked because I was picking up my friend Jenny from Swiss Semester who I hadn’t seen in four years, and who was in town for the weekend.  Seeing her walk down the ramp from the T and into my arms was the most amazing experience in the world!  Back in my room, we laughed and talked and shared stories about our lives, but what was the most amazing part was that even though we hadn’t done a particularly good job of keeping in touch and even though we hadn’t seen each other in forever, we were able to dive right back into where we had left off in the JFK airport four years ago.

Friday morning I woke up bright and early (9:30 a.m.) to have breakfast with Jenny (Side note:  I know that breakfast is the most valuable meal of the day… but you know, they also say that sleep is valuable, and sometimes breakfast just doesn’t happen for me.  Ok, let’s be honest, breakfast NEVER happens for me, so getting up early on my first day of the weekend to eat with Jenny was a big deal.  What can I say?  I love my friends).  Joining us was our other friend from Swiss Semester Renée who now goes to Harvard.  So the whole thing was a giant Swiss-fest (or Swiss-fast, you know cause it was breakfast… ha… ha… no? I need to stop it with these terrible puns).

After again being struck by how easily we fell back into our friendship and talking and laughing some more, I bid them both adieus.  I had to go get dressed so that my Swiss Semester friend- themed day could continue.  After dropping off a paper that was due at noon for my Literature and Sexuality class, I took the T to MIT, and got on a bus to Wellesley College.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but my best friend in the world Heather goes to Wellesley.  What I might not have mentioned is that I also met her at Swiss Semester.  Because she and I both go to school in the Boston area, we get to see each other a lot more than we did in post-Swiss Semester high school where she lived in Minneapolis and I lived in Pittsburgh.  After we spent the beautiful New England day hanging out by the lake, she returned with me to Harvard for a Harvard Model Congress Halloween Party!

Heather and me dressed up for Halloween in the year 2007 (Zermatt, Switzerland)

Heather and me dressed up for Halloween in the year 2011 (Cambridge, MA)

Saturday I woke up super early (7:45 am) to go to an all day Harvard University Women in Business conference at the Westin Hotel downtown for most of the day.  I will have to devote an entirely different blog post to Women in Business sometime because it is SO COOL!  But I’m getting distracted.  After the conference (during which it had started to freezing rain), I came back to Harvard to layer up – I was going to the Harvard vs. Dartmouth football game, where my friend Todd (who is ALSO from Swiss Semester) was coming down with his frat TDX to mix with my sorority Theta!

Suffice to say, this weekend was all about seeing old friends.  While my old friends in this case may have all coincidentally been from a super awesome program I did in high school, I have found by and large that while making new friends is part of what college is all about, staying close with your old friends isn’t so hard either.  Yes, you may not keep in contact as regularly, as long as your friendships are long-lasting they will be… well, long in their lasting, and will last through all sorts of separation.  So don’t worry too much about going off to school and losing touch.  If you want the friendship to still be there when you return home, it will be.

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Hey everybody!  As summer is coming to an end, and a new school year is on the verge of beginning, I thought I would take this time to reflect on my freshman year and the new sophomore year to come.

So to start, freshman year… wow.  That’s really the word that sums it up the best: wow.  Going into the year, I honestly had no idea what to expect.  I mean, sure, I thought maybe I would get some cool roommates, make some new friends, take some fun courses, learn some stuff, but I never could have foreseen the nine months ahead.

During my first year at Harvard, I met some of the most talented, hard-working, charismatic, brilliant, and interesting people I have ever encountered.  There were kids who already had patents under their names, kids who had made speeches in front of thousands of people, kids who had organized huge charity events that raised thousands of dollars, kids (*cough, cough* my roommate) who could wake up at three in the morning with only six hours before a paper was due and speed write twelve pages that still earned them A’s.

I know you’re probably thinking, well, what do you expect?  It IS Harvard, after all.  And I suppose you’d be right.  But the thing that struck me was how down to earth everyone was.  I arrived on campus knowing that I would meet extraordinary students with extraordinary talents and achievements, and feeling pretty inadequate.  I mean, the thing I was most proud of was being the Editor-in-Chief of my high school yearbook.  But the cool thing about going to a school with a less than 6% acceptance rate is that there is a level of respect, especially among freshmen, for even getting in.  Everyone’s reasoning is that if you got into Harvard, then there must be something truly special about you.  And it was really awesome to spend long nights my freshman year in Annenberg dining hall listening to people’s stories and learning about what makes them who they are.

Me loving my freshman year at Harvard!

Beyond that, I never expected to make some of the best friends of my life, join a sorority, head a volunteer organization, write a blog on my life that people actually want to read, and all of the other things I’ve gotten myself into.  Freshman year blew my expectations out of the water, and I hope sophomore year will do the same.   To answer a commenter’s question from a few months ago – how have I best utilized the amazing school I go to and made sure to not take for granted the amazing opportunities I’ve been given – I’d have to say that I have tried to get to know a new person everyday, to learn something new about the people I already know, and to find a new way to care about those who surround me.  This world is made up of the people in it.  Each person has a story.  Each person is the way he/she is because of a sequence of events that have been linked together to form the chain of his/ her life.  And I think it is important to listen to and care about the people we meet, whether they are on or off of Harvard’s campus.  It is through listening to other people that I learn the most about the world and life in it.  Everyone deserves to be heard.  And that is what I hope to continue to do as I start my sophomore year!

Thoughts on my sophomore year:

  • What will my concentration be???? AHHHHH!
  • Will I enjoy living all the way in the quad?
  • I need to find a job…
  • Where do I buy a bike?
  • I’m so, so, so excited to be back and to see everyone!
  • Oops!  I’d better unpack!

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Last night, my roommates and I were all in our suite at the same time—we weren’t at medical or graduate school interviews, The Crimson, our labs, a UC meeting, an evening section, or an IOP event…we were all home, and we were excited to spend a few minutes catching up before finals begin.

When anyone thinks about going to college, they think about what it will be like to have roommates. I remember how nervous I was the day of my freshman move-in—picking out my outfit (a striped pink-and-orange polo with jeans, as my current and freshman roommate Cara ’11 still remembers—in retrospect, her striped shorts and grey t-shirt was a much better idea as it was a ridiculously hot day), wondering who I would be sharing a room in my suite with, and what my roommates would be like.

All freshmen at the College live in one of the dorms in or around Harvard Yard—I lived in Weld, one of the dorms next to the University Hall and the John Harvard statue. After filling out my housing application, I found out over the summer before freshman year that I would spend the year in a six-person suite with two doubles and two singles. Our first day, my roommates and I picked our rooms out of our recycling bin (the only container not packed into a box of duffel bag) and I shared a long but somewhat narrow double with Cara ’11 the entire year (and it worked out! We have been roommates ever since 🙂 ).

During the second semester of freshman year, we got to form a blocking group, which is a group of up to eight students who will be placed together in one of the twelve upperclass Houses. Cara and I got placed in Mather House, along with a surprisingly large number of other Weld residents! Mather is an awesome house, and all of the undergrads living there get singles in suites all three years. Sophomore and junior year we lived in the lowrise, which has five floors and consists of duplexes, with a common room on one floor and bedrooms either on the floor above or below. This year, we are living in the tower on the seventh floor. I got pretty lucky and have an amazing room overlooking the Charles River. Here’s the view from my window!

We also have three other roommates—Ashley ’11, Camille ’11, and Emma ’11. One of the best parts about all the students at Harvard is the diversity of interests and activities everyone is involved in. Cara is a Psychology major who is an Exec on The Crimson’s Design Board, Emma ’11 is a History of Science concentrator who is one of The Crimson’s Design Chairs, Ashley ’11 is a Government concentrator who worked for First Lady Michelle Obama two summers ago, and Camille ’11 is a Physics and Astrophysics concentrator who has gone all over the world to take measurements and collect data on awesome telescopes—pretty cool!

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