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There are so many cool events and activities on campus. The best time to get a taste of these awesome things is senior spring, right? Therefore, I’ve been trying a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve never done before!

Holi, a traditional Hindu ceremony that celebrates renewing relationships and the triumph of good over bad, was a few weeks ago. We have an annual event here on campus, much like ceremonies around the world, where people get together and throw colored powder at each other to celebrate. I think a fully authentic ceremony would also consist of a bonfire, but open flames aren’t allowed on campus, so unfortunately we aren’t able to replicate it exactly. Regardless, it was such a fun thing to do. There were so many seniors there (I imagine they had the same “senior spring” attitude to participate in things that they haven’t before graduating), and the pictures from the event are really awesome!

Me and my blockmate, Lina, at Holi!

Me and my blockmate, Lina, at Holi!

Another event that I just participated in is the Identities Fashion Show. It’s kind of hilarious because I’ve never done anything like it before, but my friend Sifon dragged me to the audition. Well, maybe “dragged” isn’t exactly accurate–I had secretly wanted to try something like this for a while, but I would have never tried it without her encouragement. Participating in the show was pretty simple. The scene directors basically fit you in expensive designer clothing, and you just practice walking. The day of the show, you get your hair and makeup done, and just walk down a runway. It was surprisingly a lot more fun than I imagined it was going to be, and I’m so glad I did it…definitely something I probably won’t ever do again, so it was a pretty neat, out of body experience!

Me and my friend, Nina, at Identities!

Me and my friend, Nina, at Identities!

Participating in all of these events has made me realize that there are so many amazing things at Harvard that I haven’t taken advantage of, even though I’ve been incredibly involved. There’s just so much to do here!

This weekend was my last show for Expressions Dance Company, a hip hop troupe that I joined the fall of my junior year. It was an incredibly fun and fulfilling experience because we’ve been working really hard all semester with weekly rehearsals, which ramped up to about 4 hours of rehearsal everyday this week. I choreographed two different segments, one of which is part of the annual Senior Dance! Senior Dance is open to any senior who wants to join, regardless of skill level. We had about 75 seniors in the dance, and it’s been a lot of fun to meet so many new people from different social circles, which is what Senior Dance is all about–bringing members of the class of 2013 together to have a good time.


Choreographers at Dress Rehearsal!

Some senior girls at Dress Rehearsal in my friend Julie’s segment!

Aside from Senior Dance, I’m also a member of EXP, the traveling sub-group of Expressions. Here’s a video of an EXP segment, choreographed by two incredible freshmen named Kristen and Rebecca. So much talent!

Are those of you who are coming for pre-frosh weekend (or “Visitas” as they are now calling it) excited to visit campus?!

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The excitement of the weekend’s activities was only matched by the enthusiasm of the pre-frosh. After speaking with many of them and being asked about my experiences at Harvard, hearing them talk about how grateful they were for being able to go to college reminded me of how important it is to stay strong with the semester’s finish line in sight.

Times like these really help me realize just how incredible Harvard is. After talking through the endless opportunities available here, I can’t help but feel immense gratitude for the friends I’ve made and the growth I’ve experienced because of Harvard.

To hear a few words about how Visitas Weekend went, check out the latest Video below. My Special Guest and one of my Pre-Frosh, Wil, was able to share a few words about his experience so check out the video!

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Yesterday marked a FANTASTIC end to the week: in addition to it being generally beautiful out (75 and sunny!), I got to spend nearly the entire day with friends from Crimson Key Society. Crimson Key is one of the main extracurriculars I’m involved with, and is a group that I’ve really come to love as an undergrad, so it was awesome to hang out all afternoon with friends. Key is what I like to think of as the official “welcome committee” for Harvard College: in addition to giving historical campus tours three times a day, we run freshman orientation, staff freshman and junior parents’ weekend, and help out at Commencement each spring. As might be expected out of a bunch of tour guides, Crimson Key is generally really enthusiastic, energetic, and outgoing, so it makes for a really fun group of friends to hang out with.

Crimson Key during freshman orientation

My day with Key started with an afternoon game of softball across the river by the Stadium. One of my favorite (random) things about Harvard is that a few of the student organizations on campus run a softball league in the spring, which is really laid back and just offers an opportunity for students to enjoy the spring weather and hang out on the weekends. The league includes a wide variety of groups, ranging from the Harvard Band to Hasty Pudding Theatricals to the Crimson; yesterday, we were playing the Advocate (a literary magazine). The one downside about the league being so laid back is that we don’t actually have any formal equipment – we like to call it a BYOG league (“bring your own glove”). Unfortunately, since neither the Advocate nor Crimson Key remembered to bring a baseball bat, our softball game turned into an impromptu kickball game played with a soccer ball, which ended up being a blast! Luckily Key had brought a couple ex-soccer players, so we ended up beating the Advocate 15-8. It was so nice to be able to enjoy the weather!

Key celebrating the softball/kickball win!

Key softball/kickball then transitioned into pick ups/welcoming of new Key members who just got into the organization. We have 33 new members in total! Over the course of spring semester, Crimson Key runs a “comp” process where students who are interested in joining go through a couple rounds of interviews and evaluations. “Comp” is a concept employed by a number of organizations on campus – while it originally stood for “competition,” comp now stands for “competency” and just means that each group determines a way to train and evaluate potential new members. For Crimson Key, students have to prepare a “model tour,” where they memorize the full historical tour and present it for evaluation in front of current members.  Last night was when “compers” found out that they had gotten into the organization – overall, 33 new members were welcomed! It was so much fun to get everyone together and celebrate the end of comp and the start of a new year with Key.

Three of your favorite bloggers! Kemie, Scott, and I are all in Key together

In totally separate news, this weekend is Visitas, or visitation weekend! I snapped the picture below when I was at a New England reception that was being held in the Quad. It’s sort of scary to realize that my own prefrosh weekend was three years ago!

Springtime (and prefrosh) in the Quad!

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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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Another semester has ended which means another set of 4 (or 5 or 6!) letter grades have come out! Harvard students not only work hard throughout the semester, but we’ll also have to earn the privilege of seeing our grades early.

I’m pretty much obsessed with Harvard College, but that doesn’t mean it’s the epitome of perfection. I think Harvard’s grading system could be more transparent. My public high school used an online system where teachers would input individuals’ scores in varying categories and compute these scores into an overall grade. The online system basically served as a real-time progress report which personally helped me gauge and evaluate what I needed to do more or less of in each class. Although all my assignments and exams at Harvard have been promptly returned, it would be nice to have a similar online grading system, especially because I feel like most of our grades are ultimately relative to other students. This grading system may not exist (yet?! Heyy computer science concentrators, get on this!), Harvard College does offer a singular website where students intricately critique/compliment the classes that they’ve taken during the most recently passed semester. As an incentive to participate, the registrar allows students who have completed course evaluations to view their grades a few weeks earlier than the nonparticipants.

This compilation of student reviews is called the Q guide (which I believe is formerly known as the cue guide; you can’t really see much without a student ID but it doesn’t hurt to browse!). It asks general questions about the course itself (i.e. general thoughts about the course, how it can be improved, difficulty of assignments, etc.) as well as commenting on individual professors and teaching fellows (TFs). It’s really open ended – you can talk about how approachable they are, how timely they are, or even how funny they are. I’ve always done my Q guide evaluations (as a source of procrastination during Reading Period) and I try my best to be comprehensive and extensive as possible. Last Spring semester, my organic chemistry TF was always there for me via email or person. He was the funniest, most patient and down to earth guy! I spent more than an hour basically writing him a letter of recommendation, raving about how he really goes above and beyond his call of duty to make sure that his students understood the material.

I’ve put in a good amount of time to this Q guide because you really get out of it what students decide to put in. I feel like most students look at the Q guide when deciding between both mandatory courses and electives because it can be a good gauge of expected time commitment and what background knowledge is necessary to understand the underlying concepts. However, it’s definitely not something to swear by because a lot of times a class may seem easier on the Q guide than it actually is or vice versa. This Q guide has become a pretty substantial player on campus because I remember my prefrosh (aka Visitas) host telling me how helpful it is and many online course catalogs include an overall Q guide score (ranging from 1 to 5, 5 being the best). The internet is taking over! Are you ready?

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It is finally here! I just got back from spending the better part of my day helping to register the many admitted students who are visiting Harvard College this weekend. This week has been full of nostalgia, as I first attended a revisit for medical school and then switched gears to helping coordinate Visitas for the College. Both reminded me of why I love Harvard: the people!

To all the admitted students visiting this weekend, make sure to spend time with current students and with the students who will be your classmates for the next four years, whether you meet them at an event like the Coffeehouse tonight or sit down next to them while grabbing a meal at Annenberg. I can still remember my visit to Harvard four years ago—I had a wonderful host (who I am still friends with) who took me on a tour of the Harvard campus (all the way from the Quad to Mather House!), showed me how to make a panini at Quincy DHall, answered all my little questions, and took me to a campus production of Chicago. I remember feeling like there were so many things to do, and so little time to take it all in–and I knew I couldn’t wait to come back and have four years to explore everything!

The Admissions Office, the Undergraduate Admissions Council, and many other staff, faculty, and students on campus have spent months putting together Visitas, so take advantage of the events available to you to explore all the aspects of Harvard, from academic open houses and panels to extracurricular meetings and social events like the Prefrosh Palooza (I am biased, but it will be amazing!) and Sunday Sundaes. Ask lots of questions, even ones you think are silly (I, for example, was for some reason very concerned about where to buy computer paper—and it turns out there is a Staples in the Square). We hope that you will fall in love with Harvard just like we did, and come to call it your home for the next four years.