Articles by Kate Meakem

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So sorry for the crash in energy I had last week… there was just SO MUCH WORK that had to be done!  But the good news is that I have just experienced one of the most relaxing weekends to date, AND I managed to complete my Plan of Study!  What is a Plan of Study, you may ask?  Read on… but first, you’ll have to read about my weekend.

I would first like to take this moment to thanks all of our veterans who have served in our armed forces to protect our livelihood, our freedom, and our proud nation.  Their sacrifice has guaranteed that I get to go to the AMAZING school that is Harvard, and that I get to have the 11th of November off.  To celebrate both America and our day off, my friend Patrick and I decided to devote a portion of the day to making Freedom Toast (aka French Toast… but considering the day, we decided its sporadically used, patriotic name was more appropriate).

The original plan was to meet early (11:00 am… don’t judge me) and cook up a delicious breakfast!  Unfortunately, 11:00 am was feeling a little too early for me (hey, I had a hard week, I deserved to sleep in!), so after detouring to Starbucks I finally made it to Patrick’s room somewhere around 2:00 pm.  Patrick lives in housing called Dewolfe, which is overflow for a number of River Houses including Lowell, Quincy, Winthrop, and some Leverett (I think?… someone can correct me on that one).  But before you go feeling sorry for these kids who are outcasts of their houses, let me explain that they are gifted with MAMMOTH common rooms, large private bathrooms, spacious sleeping quarters, and kitchens.  Still feeling sorry for them?  I didn’t think so.

After cooking and eating copious amounts of “Freedom Toast,” I proceeded to crash on Patrick’s futon and go to sleep again (if you are beginning to see a theme to my weekend, you would be correct).  I awoke around 5:00 pm to meet my roommates to go out to dinner at the fabulous tapas restaurant called Dali.  We proceeded to eat a selection of yummy Spanish foods before returning as a group to Currier where I changed into my jammies and took a quick nap… that turned into another three-hour sleep fest.

Ok, so maybe our Freedom Toast didn't look this perfect, but it was pretty darn good

But lest you think I slept my entire Friday away, I will say that my marvelous blockmates woke me up to celebrate the second 11:11:11 of 11/11/11 (I slept through the morning one… I know, shocking), and from there we proceeded to go take a trip to the Pfoho Grill, grab curly fries, and return to my room to watch reruns of Glee – I could not have asked for a more perfect Friday night.

Saturday was much the same – I slept in until 1:30 pm, got up and did some work in my jammies, finally got dressed to grab dinner in Pfoho (a different Quad house) with a friend I hadn’t seen in forever, later flipped back and forth between the Notre Dame vs. Maryland Terrapin game and the Oregon vs. Stanford game, and finally watched Saturday Night Live.  I’d forgotten how great TV can be!

But I wouldn’t be a Harvard student if I were this unproductive all of the time.  Among a plethora of other things I did on Sunday, including a Theta officer meeting, and completing the Women in Business comp process, I also wrote my Plan of Study.  A Plan of Study is a form that every first semester sophomore must complete in order to declare a concentration (aka. major… we just call them concentrations for some unknown, probably pretentious reason).  To compile my Plan of Study, I had to tentatively declare all of the classes I would be taking for the rest of my time here.  Note, that this is tentative and shopping period is still completely valid.  While most students spend 1-2 hours on their Plans of Study, I devoted… many more hours (I don’t even want to count because the number would be embarrassing).  But after pouring over course selections – Harvard offers over 3,500 courses every semester – I have developed my Plan!

Here's a copy of my Plan of Study!

So ladies and gentlemen, I am officially a History concentrator **cue loud round of applause!** For those of you who have been following my blog from the very beginning of my freshman year, you know how many ups and downs I’ve been through to get to this point, and you know what a big deal this is!!! I’m sooooo excited!  Thanks for hanging in there with me.

And that’s all for now folks!  A special shout-out to Mohammad who left such a nice comment on my last post!  It really meant a lot to me, and I haven’t forgotten your questions.  Also, to anyone who was wondering, I ended up doing really well on the Math midterm I was freaking out about last week!  I may have been totally sleep deprived and overly hyped up on caffeine, but I pulled through.  Only time can tell with that History paper, and Psych went… averagely – I actually scored the exact mean score.  It’s funny how my academic standards have had to adjust since I arrived here… potential blog material?

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Hey everyone!  I unfortunately do not have much (read: any) time to post today because my life is CRAY-ZAY!!!!

I’m currently studying for my Math 1a midterm, and in the spirit I thought I’d break my life down into a (basic) math problem:

  •             This weekend = a friend coming into town to visit
  •             Monday =  8 page British History paper due at 10:00 am + 2 page Literature and Sexuality thought paper due at 12:00 pm
  •             Tuesday = 2 math problem sets due at 10:00 am  +  1 math midterm due at 7:00 pm + 1 Harvard Model Congress interview at 11:30 pm (no, that is not a typo… my interview is actually that late).

Problem:  This weekend + Monday + Tuesday

Result:  LOTS of work and VERY LITTLE TIME!!!

 

This picture pretty much captures my feelings

If I were in the mood to get creative, I might also factor in the amount of sleep I’ve accumulated over the past four days = 20 hrs.

Meaning the average amount of sleep I’ve had each night = 5 hrs.

 

The good news = after tonight, my life goes back to normal, and I am happy + Friday we have off of school!!!!!!!

 

If someone would like to take the time to actually compile all of this data to come up with a full equation, I would be SUPER impressed.

So I promise that you all will get a better post next week!  So sorry!

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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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HAPPY BIRTHDAY 375TH HARVARD!!!

That’s right, this year is the oldest university in America’s birthday, and to celebrate Harvard is pulling out all the stops.  Here is a link to a movie about the cake!

Dimensions of Harvard's 375 Anniversary Cake! (photo courtesy of the Harvard Crimson)

There are also rumors of a Yo-Yo Ma performance, and a flash mob!  My only hope is that the rain doesn’t put a huge damper (haha… pun)  on the festivities tomorrow night, but the website assures us that ponchos will be provided.  I’ll be sure to update you guys!

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During my freshman year, I NEVER went home.  I just loved Harvard too much.  I remember the first time I went home was for Thanksgiving – a whole four days – and it felt like the longest 5,760 minutes of my life (not that I was counting).  I wanted to be “back in the Pack” (or my freshman dorm Pennypacker) in my amazing room with all of my friends, and I never wanted to leave.  The five weeks of J-term seemed like five lifetimes (I returned to campus early to take cooking courses), and by the time Spring Break rolled around, I was desperately looking for other options.

My dad and I at a Pittsburgh Penguins game during last Spring Break

Now before you start thinking I have a terrible home life, I must assure you that nothing could be farther from the truth.  I am the oldest of five children, and no one in the world gives me more love and acceptance and happiness than my parents and those kids.  No matter what I am doing, I can always count on six fans that think I am the greatest thing since cooked meat.

Which is probably why after a year of seeing my family only intermittently, I came home from Barcelona and realized, “Hey wait.  I actually miss these people a lot.”  So when my mom called me a week ago and asked if I could fly home for a few days this weekend, my ready response was, “um… YES!”

So here I am in Pittsburgh on a Saturday night playing homebody, and taking a break from studying for midterms to write to you guys.  This morning, I was awoken by my two brothers jumping on me at the unnatural hour of 9:30 am, and I spent the majority of the day studying and catching up with my sisters.  This time last year I would probably be crying and texting my friends back at Harvard wondering what I was missing and what crazy adventures they were up to.  But right now, I don’t even know where my phone is (oh great… 24 hours at home, and I’ve already lost my phone), and I feel just dandy having had a fantastic home cooked meal.

When I left home for college a year ago, my greatest fear was not “will I be able to make friends?” or “what if the dining hall food is awful?” or “what if I come back to my dorm to find my roommates sticking a voodoo doll of me with a pin?”  My greatest fear was “what if after I leave, I come home and find that I can no longer integrate myself into my family?  What if my youngest brother who is 10 years younger than I am grows up feeling like I was never a part of his life?  What will happen when my sister starts Middle School, or my other sister gets her license, or my brother loses his first tooth, and I’m not there to be apart of it?”  Once I arrived at Harvard, I got so wrapped up in what I was doing, I momentarily forgot about these worries.

The truth is all of these things do happen.  It’s not like my family has stopped functioning because I’m not there – my sister still goes to school without me to drive her and my brothers still play hockey without me in the stands.  But what I have learned is that it’s not so hard to re-integrate yourself back into the family life.  The time you spend with your family just becomes that much more valuable.

Because life is so busy and exciting at Harvard, I don’t know when I’ll next be able to sneak away for a weekend at home (or if I’ll want to).  But I have really enjoyed my weekend home (which is all I was going to write before I started going off about family this and family that, and this post got so long).

Hope everyone else is having a great weekend!

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So here begins my second year at Harvard, but the great thing is that I’m even more excited than I was to start my first year!  After much shopping around (shopping is the term we use to describe the process of choosing classes), I have found four classes that I am super psyched about.

The first one is History 1224: Britain Since 1760, a class taught by the very popular Harvard professor Maya Jasanoff.  Her teaching style is fantastic (she’s all about telling the story), and so far I feel like I’m learning a lot.  What I know about British history, I either know from the American perspective (think French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, etc.), or I know from AP Euro, which had a greater focus on Continental Europe.  So it has been really fascinating to learn specifically about a country whose legacy has extended into so much of our world today!  Plus, I’m a huge History geek (and potential History concentrator), so I’m all about this class.

My second class is Science of the Living Systems 20, which is an introductory Psychology course that also fulfills a Gen Ed.  [Just a quick blurb to catch you up to speed, “Gen Ed’s,” or General Education Requirements, are part of the liberal arts education at Harvard College.  There are eight categories of classes across a range of subjects that must be fulfilled in order to graduate.  The system is set up to give you a more broad education.  So far, I’ve really enjoyed it.]  This course is offered every semester, but the teacher changes depending on which semester you take the class.  This semester Professor Daniel Gilbert, who is an amazing lecturer, is teaching the class!  As if the inner workings of the mind weren’t already super interesting, Gilbert makes you really appreciate all of the complexities of the brain and how they are linked to our behavior.  Also, sections (which are small classes that are broken up from the larger lecturers to provide more individualized learning) are fun experiments like tasting different foods!  What more could you want?  The only thing is that I’ve heard the exams are hard… so I’ll have to keep you all posted.

My third class is Math 1a, which is the equivalent to AP Calculus AB.  While I took that class in high school, that was a whole two years ago, and my non-math oriented brain just has not retained the information.  To remedy this situation, I figured I would retake the class in hopes of expanding my knowledge of Calculus… whoooo (not).  Anyway, it hasn’t been too bad… I’m just really not a math person.  If anyone would like to help me (especially if you happen to be cute, smart, handsome, and funny), please let me know! ;)

Sanders Theater — home of English 154 and many of the other large classes at Harvard. Just picture it minus the adults, plus a lot of college kids. (Picture courtesy of Google Images)

My final class is English 154: Literature and Sexuality, taught by Professor Matthew Kaiser, the most snarky and hilarious professor that I have had the privilege of taking a class under.  His lectures cannot be beat.  We meet in Sanders Theater (featured above), sort of the bastion Harvard intellectualism, and talk about the history of sexual thought and attitudes as it is portrayed through literature.  Interpret that how you will.  As you can imagine the literature ranges from Freud and Foucault to de Sade and everything in between.  To say the class is provocative would be an understatement, but it is certainly fun!

And that’s about all for me right now.  We’re moving into the first round of midterms here at Harvard, which means paper, paper, paper, exam.  Yay!  To add to my stress levels, Theta Fall Formal is coming up, and I need to find a date.  GAHHH! #ranting.  Hope everyone is doing well!

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Reflections

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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Wait, what?  Summer is almost over?  It is completely impossible for it to already be August 22.  Time has clearly played a trick on us all.  AHHHH!

Good news is, I’ve had an INCREDIBLE summer!  Bad news is, I haven’t been able to tell you all about it ‘til now…. But here I go!

Ok, so this summer I had the ridiculously, amazing opportunity to say, “Psh… summer?  Who would ever want to stop studying for three months?” and take a summer class…. In BARCELONA!

That’s right!  I went with the Harvard Summer Study Abroad to Barcelona, Spain to learn about Barcelonan art, architecture, and culture.  I got to speak all sorts of Spanish, pretend to know Catalan, eat yummy food, travel to Paris and Rome, soak up the sun on the beach… oh right, and go to class.  Of course.

When I went, I knew absolutely none of the other kids on the program.  They were all rising sophomores and juniors from Harvard, but for whatever reason I’d never met any of them.  I love meeting new people, so this didn’t bother me, but I still did not know what to expect.

It was one of the best summers of my life.

Me in front of the Sagrada Familia!

We lived in a summer student housing residence in large singles.  Not only was each single relatively big, but each had its own full bathroom and kitchenette!  Our classroom was located in the historic main building of the University of Barcelona, and we got to learn all of the ins-and-outs of the city’s super-efficient metro.   We only had class Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of every week, so this meant four full days every weekend to explore and travel!

In Madrid!

An average school day went as follows:

  • 9:15 – Wake up to enjoy the Residence’s complimentary breakfast of croissants, fruit, and expresso (I am now an addict).
  • 10:15 – Leave the Residence to walk to the metro station.  Wait a maximum of four minutes for the metro to arrive.  Ride to school.
  • 11:00 – 1:00 – Learn about Barcelonan history, art, architecture, and city planning.
  • 1:00 – 5:30 – SIESTA!  This means eat, sleep, explore, shop, go to the beach, do homework, etc.
  • 5:30- 8:30 – Itinerario, which was our term for class-led field trips around Barcelona to see the buildings that we had learned about in class.
  • 9:00ish – Dinner.  Because Barcelona is a pretty touristy area, the food can be expensive.  We went out to eat some, but we mostly utilized the kitchenettes in our rooms, which meant LOOK OUT WORLD!  I LEARNED TO COOK!  That’s right, I can now make eggs in every style you can possible imagine (including poached, thank you very much), and a mean orange chicken.
  • 10:30 – If we didn’t have a lot of work, a lot of the times we went out.  Barcelona has all sorts of cool things to see at night, and why would you want to miss out on such an intrinsic part of the cultural experience, right?
Beyond all of that, I also made some incredible friends, who I know I will stay close with during the next three years of my Harvard experience.

The whole group with a view of Barcelona in the background

Now that I’m home, I can’t wait to go back to school!

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Hey all!

So my life has been CRAZY lately!  It seems like ever since we got back from Spring Break, it was hit the ground and go.

First of all, I would just like to give a warm shout-out to my three BEAUTIFUL pre-frosh Taylor, Emery, and Alice!  My roommates and I had SO. MUCH. FUN hosting you guys, and we hope you’ve chosen to come to Harvard.  Obviously, we love it.

Second, I would like to apologize to those of you who have asked me questions in my comments that were so profound that I promised to devote blog articles to answering them.  I HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN YOU!  Once my exams are over at the end of this week, I plan to sit outside in the gorgeous Cambridge weather and do nothing but write, write, write!

I have to get back to studying, but I thought I would reassure everyone that I am still alive and well!

A quick list of things that have happened:  Prefrosh weekend, Mather Lather, Eleganza, Yardfest, Harvard-Radcliffe Choral Concert, Easter in Memorial Church, Theta (my sorority) Crush Event, Celebrations of better weather in the yard… and finals.

I promise to elaborate more at a later date.  Until then, good luck to any high schoolers on AP’s!

 

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Hello, again!  First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU WHO WERE ACCEPTED INTO THE HARVARD CLASS OF 2015!!!

I still remember all too clearly the moment I received “The Most Wonderful Email in the Entire World,” and it’s a moment that you should never take for granted, even if Harvard isn’t your #1 choice.  Take a moment, jump up and down, whoop and holler, and give yourself a giant pat on the back.

But now that you’re in, you might be thinking to yourself, “Golly, what do I do now?”  Well, I’ll tell you what you should do: COME VISIT HARVARD!!!!

With that in mind, I give you my promised post…

THE TOP 10 THINGS TO DO WHEN VISITING HARVARD AS A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT

1.)  Tour a dorm

If you can’t work it out that you can stay in a student dorm (you should always contact the Admissions Office before you visit so that they can make it possible), definitely ask to tour one.  If you have a friend, a friend of a friend, a friend of a parent’s friend who’s kid goes to Harvard, etc. DEFINTELY ask them if you can just take a peak into his/her room.  If you can stay in a student’s room, look at another room.  In total – check out as many rooms as possible, preferably freshman dorms.  How can you expect to imagine yourself going here, if you can’t even imagine where you might sleep?

2.)  Go to the Observatory

At the top of the Science Center there is a small observatory open to any Harvard student who has bothered to take a 45-minute instructional class.  Find one of these students and ask him/her to take you up.  It is honestly one of the coolest things on campus!  Even if it’s a cloudy night, there is a balcony with a BEAUTIFUL view of Harvard with the Boston skyline in the background.  As a freshman, this was definitely one of my biggest “Harvard moments” – where it finally sunk it that I attend this amazing school.

3.)  Widener Library Stacks

Ok, so when I suggest this, people often look at my funny.  Most students will tell you that the Widener Library stacks are creepy, only because they are SO VAST, and it’s easy to feel like you might venture forth, lose your way, and die without anyone ever finding you.  But as a pre-frosh, my friends and I had the BEST time running around, making the automatic lights switch on and off, and trying to find the oldest book.  It amazed all of us that Harvard would entrust its students with such valuable, old books and that it had so many of them!  Going into Widener opened my eyes to the incredible opportunities that Harvard offered, and made me realize that as a prospective student, I could take full advantage of them.

4.)  Annenberg Dining Hall

As the second-largest collection of secular stained glass in the world, Annenberg Dining Hall provides a very “Great Hall of Hogwarts” feel to freshman dining… not to mention that it is gorgeous.  The food might not be the best on campus (though I will admit that by and large I think it is delicious), but the experience cannot be matched.

5.)  Adams basement tunnels

Adams House is the closest upperclassman house to the Yard.  While the housing lottery is now completely random, it was not always that way, and as a result, Adams has a history of having once been the “artsy house.”  This means that the tunnels under the house (yes, there are tunnels under all of the houses), are decorated with really awesome artwork that students have painted over the years!  It is really cool and fun to check out!

6.)  Eleganza (if you’re here over Visitas Weekend)

I like to tell people that Eleganza convinced me to go to Harvard.  As a prefrosh, I was really worried that Harvard students would be ALL work, and no play.  I am a social person, and the idea of attending a school where everyone sat behind a textbook all the time repulsed me.  Eleganza turned all of my preconceptions upside-down.  It is an AWESOME fashion/dance show that will feature just how much fun Harvard students can have.  GO!

7.)  Go to a few classes

Drag yourself to a class or two on a topic that interests you.  Don’t just go off the list the Admissions Office gives you – ask current students what their favorite classes are.  Do it, and then don’t base your decision off of it.  I know that sounds like silly advice, because you are, after all, going to school to go to class.  In my experience, however, when you’re a second-semester senior, and you’ve just been accepted into one of the best colleges in the world, its hard to focus and not feel bored in a college class.  If you happen to find the class fascinating, that is awesome.  But if you don’t, don’t freak out.

8.)  If the weather is nice, sit under a tree in the Yard, pat yourself on the back for getting in, and picture yourself there.

Seriously, just take some time off from running around, being super excited, and meeting new people.  Sit down, and ABSORB.  Watch current students walking around (I know that sounds creepy), and watch for how people get along.  See a group of students laughing at some joke, or another group cramming for some midterm and try to picture yourself as one of them.

9.)  Eat a ve-ri-taffle

These are the waffles they serve on Sunday morning brunches at Harvard, and they have the VE- RI- TAS emblem on them.  How much more Harvard can you get?

10.)  Talk to a student about social life

If you know that there is a group of people that you generally hang out with, look up that group and spend time with them.  Whether you are really into religion or politics or science or cultural groups or Greek life or you want to check out what the big deal about Final Clubs is, find out what is going on on campus (there are ALWAYS things going on) and check it out.  Your social life at Harvard (even if you’re not the type of person who likes to “go out”) will be an important part of your time at Harvard.  You owe it to yourself to take a look.

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