The blog of The Harvard Crimson

Use Your BoardPlus Before the Semester Ends

Academic hellscape, BoardPlus wonderland.

We all accidentally hoard our BoardPlus until we have $73 left and only a few days to spend it all. Here are the best ways to get rid of it so you don’t lose all your free money.

Lamont Cafe

Lam Caf is a classic. It's open pretty late, and you can buy like six or seven bags of Doritos at a time, or those caffeinated chocolate bars that are all the rage right now. Beware though: they are out of Javiva and Chai powder for the rest of the semester.

House Grille

Mozz sticks from any of the grilles are a great way to both use up your money and curb any drunchies. You’re welcome. But beware, sometimes the grille hours can be pretty whack.

Not Anywhere Near the Science Center

Unfortunately, Clover doesn’t take BoardPlus, so those of us who had class in the Science Center every day couldn’t spend it. But now that classes (and orgo) are done, go out into the world and prosper! And by prosper we mean spend Daddy Harvard’s money.)

Bottom Line: Spend your BoardPlus before you leave for the summer! It doesn’t roll over, so be sure to use it up. If you can’t spend it all alone, buy things for your friends—they’ll appreciate a pick-me-up amidst finals studying.

Veritawkward on Late-Night Hookups and Leading On


Dear Veritawkward,
I’ve been hooking up with the same guy for a couple months now and things have been great; we always go home together when we’re out at the same parties, he’s fantastic in bed, and we have a ton of chemistry. However, I’ve never interacted with him while completely sober. Lately I’ve been getting a little paranoid about our pseudo-relationship, and really want to talk to him about how I’m feeling. I don’t want to date him, but I would like to know where he stands and if he’s hooking up with other people. I want to talk about this soberly, but based off current precedent I have no idea how I’m going to be able to interact with him unless we’re drunk!
Please help,
Drunk in Lust

Dear Drunk in Lust,

Believe me, I’ve heard—and had—this problem before. In a college environment, alcohol and hookups frequently go hand in hand, and that often leads to awkwardness while sober. It sounds like y’all get along great in terms of a casual hookup, but while physical attraction is key to fun flings, so is communication. Just because you don’t want to date doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to each other about topics that are important! It’s completely normal to want to know how another person perceives a casual hookup, and whether or not they are getting with other people (if not for peace of mind then simply for safety reasons).

I know this is much easier said than done, but you really just need to talk to this kid. If you want to do it soberly, ask him to get Sunday brunch after a night of hooking up. If you feel like you can only talk about this in bed, use that post-coital cuddle time to casually bring up the topic. You’ll feel a lot less stress, which people already have enough of during finals szn, and you guys will become more comfortable around each other in the process. Sounds like a win-win to me!

You got this,

Veritawkward

(Disclaimer: While this situation sounds all right, please be aware that while intoxicated it can often be difficult to fully consent! Read up on what exactly consent is on Harvard OSAPR’s website.)

Dear Veritawkward,
Don’t judge me for this, but I’ve been leading a girl on for a couple of weeks now because I can’t find the right way to tell her I’m not into it anymore. We casually hooked up twice, which was totally fine, but I’m not interested in pursuing anything more. She keeps texting me to hang out, I keep having to make new excuses as to why I can’t, and it’s just getting tiring. How can I break it to her that I’m done without making a huge deal out of the situation?
Sincerely,
Finals F**kboi

Dear Finals F**kboi,

So I never pass judgement, but I will tell you something you most likely already know: leading another person on is never cool. Try to flip the situation and imagine what it would feel like to be pining after someone who keeps baiting you with responses but never following through. Sounds exhausting and frustrating, right? I know—or rather, I hope—that you don’t want to hurt this girl, so you just need to rip that band-aid off and tell her that you’re not interested.

Letting a person down is a difficult art, and if done poorly can have some pretty rough consequences. Since you guys seem to be communicating solely through text, I feel like it’s alright to break the news that way. However, in the case that you guys were used to seeing each other in person, even rarely, I would completely advise doing it face-to-face. It’s more considerate, and easier to gauge someone’s reaction, plus you avoid the misinterpretation that often plagues texting. If you are going to send a text, just be straightforward: let her know that you’re not looking to pursue anything, or that you don’t have time for a relationship. Don’t pad the text with apologies or compliments because that will only send mixed messages.

If you genuinely want to let her know she’s a cool person, that’s fine, but don’t go overboard. It may sound obvious, but being as clear as possible is the best way to handle this, and a foolproof way to avoid making things worse. But dude, seriously, let her know soon. Don’t keep leading this girl on through finals. Do the right thing.

Good luck,

Veritawkward

—Have a burning question you want answered? Need advice on your hookups, your heartbreaks, or your significant others? Contact us at veritawkward@gmail.com.

Last Ditch Attempts to Snag your Crush Before The Semester Ends

A formal tent: the scene, perhaps, of your love at last.

In case our tips for getting cuffed this semester didn’t come through for you, and the last few weeks of school has brought on a wave of desperation, here are some last ditch attempts to snag your crush before the semester ends.

Be their sugar daddy/mommy (we all know you still got that BoardPlus to spend).

No dough? No problem. Now that the semester is coming to an end, we know you’re looking for ways to spend that BoardPlus you’ve probably been saving up (not by virtue of being a thrifty saver but by virtue of forgetfulness). Now’s the time to impress your crush by flaunting all that BoardPlus and sweeping them off their feet at your romantic location of choice whether that be Lamont Cafe, Cambridge Queen’s Head, or any of these other charming BoardPlus-accepting dining options.

Be the company to their misery.

Misery loves company, and the only thing better than crying over your impending finals alone is showing your crush your sensitive side. Honestly, we all know you weren’t gonna start studying until the day before your final anyway, so why not find a buddy to Netflix & Procrastinate with? Pro tip: bring tissues to the library with you and show your crush that you’re a survivalist and always prepared.

Look hella good at formal.

Honestly, if you’re looking A1 at formal and your crush still isn’t into you, you might want to whip out that eye exam chart because there’s a good chance an optometrist appointment might be in order. Either that or maybe you need to invest in some dance lessons. Honestly, it’s probably both.

With these tips, there’s no way you’ll take the L (because we all know we’ve taken enough of those this year). Best-case scenario: you snag your crush. Worst-case scenario: you have the entire summer to forget about your failed attempts. Honestly, what do you have to lose?

Let's Talk About the Showers in Maxwell Dworkin

On beautiful Oxford Street stands Maxwell Dworkin, named after the mothers of two famous nerds: Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. For some, the postmodern building simply serves as another shuttle stop. But for most engineering and computer science students, it is a temple overflowing with manna—mostly free cookies and ice cream—and Malan. Still, considering that these students often face the vicious stereotype of being unhygienic, unkempt, and musty, it is interesting that showers were discovered in MD. In an attempt to demystify this, Flyby investigated the showers.


(Debunked) Not for Safety

Everyone knows that the chemistry and biology researchers live in McKay and LISE—not MD. They keep their carcinogens and bunsen-burn-down-a-building burners responsibly stored far away from Maxwell Dworkin. The only toxic fumes that MD contains come from soldering irons, cutting fluid, and a lack of self-care/hygiene among the students who live there.

(Debunked) Just as Crappy as The Rest

It was suggested that a senior, in honor of completing their final project, tried to create a cutting-edge shower in MD, complete with the most bougie ergonomic body jets. Upon inspection, however, the shower stall is only as high-tech as the ones you’d find in any freshman dorm.

(Debunked) Not for Rent

This one is just offensively wrong. Unlike almost every European establishment, SEAS would never resort to having students pay to use the toilets and showers. It’s not as though they’d make any money, anyways.

At the end of the day, it’s time to call a spade a spade. The showers at Maxwell Dworkin exist because people need to shower.

Duh.

Bracing Yourself for Reading Period

Step one: Stock up at CVS.
Couple this advice with our other tips about self care, and you can set yourself up well for this next week.

CVS Runs

Chances are you’ll be cooped up in your dorm room (or a library) for a long time, and it pays to be prepared with snacks. Grocery shopping is also a great way to feel like a mature and responsible adult—without doing any of your actual work.

Social Media & Netflix

Spend an exorbitant amount of time tagging your friends in memes on Facebook or stalking people on Instagram, purely in order to compensate for your virtual disappearance next week. Alternatively, don’t forget to catch up on every TV show you used to watch, and begin watching several new ones. This may be the last opportunity you have to relax for a few weeks.

Packing for Summer

Unless you’re sticking around Cambridge, you’re probably going to need to get on a bus/train/plane soon after your last final ends. Save future you some leaving last-minute stress, and get to laundryin’, donatin’, tossin’, cleanin’, packin’, and storin’ before you’re in full study mode.

Make a Plan

Figure out exactly what you’ll do over reading period, exactly when you’ll do it (down to the minute), and exactly how to color-code all of your assignments in your planner/Google Calendar for maximum aesthetic impact. Will you end up following this comprehensive schedule? Definitely not. Will you convince your friends that you have your life together, in a particularly artsy way? Maybe.

Nap Often

Let’s be real, you got more than enough sleep over Spring Break. But it’s convenient to use the week before reading period as an excuse to catch up on the sleep you will be missing in the future. Bears hibernate. You can, too.

What did you say? The best way to prepare for reading period is to get a head start on your work rather than procrastinating? Nah.

How to Practice Self-Care During Reading Period and Finals

Give meditation a try in the Serenity Room, located in Grays Basement.

Freshman or not, by now, we all know the painful truth about reading period. That sweet week of no classes is almost as much of a myth as grade inflation. Reading period is essentially the cram week of hell—a week of failed attempts to study, a few nights of actually studying out of desperation, with deadlines for papers and projects sprinkled in between. With all that’s going on, it can get so overwhelming that you find yourself suddenly having a breakdown in a corner of Lamont at 4 a.m.

The best way to prevent such a scenario is caring for yourself. Self-care is more important than ever during finals week, and good mental health can actually improve your work ethic, studying, and performance. Who would have thought, right? So push aside those practice problems for a minute, take a deep breath, and learn how you can optimize the precious hours of your reading period—without sacrificing your will to live.

Have at least one outing

It doesn’t matter how busy you are. There are 24 hours in a day, and during those seven days during reading period, you have time for at least one off-campus adventure with your friends. Even if it means simply having lunch in Boston with your blocking group, stepping out of the Harvard bubble can make you feel refreshed and realize that the world is bigger than one grade in an Ec course. You’ll come back to campus rejuvenated and ready to hit the books.

Have an indoor spa night

However rewarding city outings may be, self-care is best when your wallet is happy. Another option is to just spend a night in your room treating yourself. Take a hot shower, put on a face mask, play that episode on Netflix you’ve been meaning to watch, and just unwind for an hour or two. When you’re stressed and tired, your work performance and efficiency suffers as well. Taking some time to relax can actually save you time in the long run.

Meditate

This is a quick, easy, and free way to treat yourself. Just download a meditation app and take a minute to breathe in….and out…..in…..and out. Meditation can be a solo activity or done with a small group, but it’s a time for you to focus on nothing but yourself, your mind, and your body. With a clearer mind, you just might figure out how to solve that orgo problem.

Engage in artistic expression

Fear not: you don’t have to be an artistic prodigy to participate in making art. Whether it’s painting, doodling, journaling, or writing creative stories, funneling your emotions into a creative outlet is proven to be cathartic and rewarding. When you haven’t made progress on your final paper after five hours of staring at a blank screen, taking a break to freewrite or draw can stir the creative juices necessary to brainstorm ideas.

Whatever you choose to do, just remember that balance is key. A happy heart leads to a happy mind. Study hard, everyone, and godspeed. We’re almost there.

Final Clubs: Take a Page From the Oak's Playbook

Oak club initiates had to carry around a plank of oak. Should the Bee follow suit?

We respect the “kind initiation” rituals of the Oak Club, which forced new members to carry around cumbersome planks of oak at all times. Here are some ideas for other final clubs, inspired by The Oak’s precedent of taking mascot dedication extremely literally.

The Bee: Carry a beehive

A great way to prove your dedication to this final club would be to carry around a beehive all week. You may get stung along the way, but it’s definitely worth it for the lifelong friends who love you for your personality. (Although, this mascot could also apply to the X—see below—which apparently seeks to promote Bumble.) Uh huh, honey.

The Phoenix: Light yourself on fire

You’ll fit right into the club if you light a small part of yourself on fire and keep it ablaze until the end of the week. Only a true Phoenix will be reborn from the ashes. Bonus points to the member who gets the fewest burns throughout the week.

The X: Get handcuffed to your ex

The way to show loyalty to The X? Get handcuffed to your ex (preferably with their permission). While handcuffing may have been an exhilarating part of your past relationship, this sort may be the thing that breaks the final few new members who weren’t up to snuff. Alternatively, exist, because that's ostensibly what the Exister Society does (but that's not so difficult).

The Spee: Hire a bear to chase you

The Spee has the potential to create a truly remarkable test for those sophomores wishing to join their ranks. What could be a more challenging than trying to outrun a grizzly bear to gain entry to the exclusive social club? Plus, there’s no better way to show off your connections than to call in your own personal bear on short notice.

As for the clubs we didn’t mention: get creative. The opportunities for wholesome initiation fun are endless.

Why the Housing Lottery Should Count For EMR

The numbers on this floor plan alone are dizzying.

With juniors, sophomores, and freshmen picking their housing for next year, there are a lot of conversations about which room configuration will allow for the maximum space and optimal sleeping arrangement. This involves a lot of high level mathematic skills, or at least some mathematical skills, and we believe the housing lottery should count towards the Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning Gen Ed Requirement.

Coordinating a time to talk with your group

If you want to live with a large number of people or sort out your blocking groups living situation, you all need to sit down and talk about how to conquer the housing lottery. However, in the busy time of midterm season and leading up to reading period, figuring out a time and place for everyone to congregate for this talk requires many organizational and mathematical skills. This may be extra difficult if you also need to explain why a certain person may not fit into the rooming situation for next year.

Interpreting the meaning of "n-1"

So you have five people in your group and the housing you have is n -1. So how many doubles even is that? Once you’ve figured out that complicated math (Answer: two if you want a common room, one if you don’t), you then have to make a rotation schedule and figure out how to evenly split time in the coveted singles. If that doesn’t count as mathematical reasoning, what does?

Optimizing group size for square footage

Another mathematical challenge to the housing lottery is figuring out how many people in your housing group gives you the best chance at success in the housing lottery. If there are nine quads and eight quints left, more people are housed in quints but more groups get quads, so what is the right way to split? You not only have to take into account which housing is better, but also game theory (how other people will act given your actions).

With all of this math knowledge and reasoning going on, non-STEM majors should be allowed to count participation in a Housing Lottery as their EMR Gen Ed. Besides, with Hebrew Bible losing its Gen Ed status (RIP), what better way to include another low-workload gem into the Gen Ed system?

Time for Introspection: How Did You Mess Up Your Yardfest?

Since you didn't make it to the concert, here's what you missed out on.

There is a saying that the buildup to Yardfest is better than the actual event. That being said, you should still make an effort to go. Surprisingly, this is easier said than done for many of us. Yardfest has grown to become a test of will, and those who make it alive are the true champions of the day. How badly can you f*** up Yardfest? Now that we’re a week out, it’s time for some introspection on our behavior, so we can learn for next year.

Getting too lit at the pre-game

Many of us have reached this point of premature lit-ness, and if you haven’t, your time has yet to come. Yardfest pregaming is an opportunity for college students to completely ignore their responsibilities for a day and get wasted at a time when they’d normally be asleep. Chances are, you got too excited and peaked at 3 p.m., and the rest of the day was spent on the floor of some stranger’s dorm.

Sleeping through the concert

Typically a byproduct of pregaming too hard, you can choose to “take a nap,” vowing to yourself that you’ll wake up before your alarms. It’s a dangerous game to even approach a bed around Yardfest time, unless you want to wake up to the sound of the concert reaching its peak.

Being near, but not at, the front

Congratulations, you successfully made it to the Yard. That’s better than most people. However, you can still make the mistake of attempting to reach the front. Yardfest has proven an inverse relationship between one’s proximity to the stage and amount of personal space. Either watch from outside the crowd where you have room to breathe, or get used to having someone’s armpit shoved at your face because you won’t come out of the crowd unscathed.

Dressing inappropriately

Outfit planning for Yardfest is quite a variable process. Dress too warmly, and you’ll be drenched in your own sweat—and everyone else’s—in the crowd. Dress too lightly, and you’ll look great, but at the expense of your body’s internal temperature. Finding the balance between comfort and festival promiscuity requires one part experience, one part dumb luck.

If this was your first Yardfest, no need to worry. Each year is a different experience and an opportunity to make the next one potentially better. Yardfest is what you make of it. You can spend it however you like, but if you come out of it alive, you’re probably doing something right.

Can You -"tas" It?

With Visitas on the horizon, there’s only one question on our minds: Can you -tas that? As if “Visitas” isn’t cringe enough, Harvard seems to feel a need to remind us of the ever-present Veritas by throwing -tas at the end of every single word. We’re here to judge some current uses of -tas, and to suggest some others.

The canonical “Partytas”

Any good Visitas story starts with, “We went to Partytas, but it was lame so we left.” With a name like that, how could anyone expect it not to be lame? They might as well name the event “Harvard is a school where your social life comes to die” and at least let prefrosh know what they’re getting themselves into.

The new addition “Karaokitas”

Move over Partytas, there’s a new terribly named and terribly executed social event on the scene. No, Harvard, you definitely cannot and should not -tas that.

The laudable “Carnitas”

Honorable mention to the Latinx community for boasting the only bearable -tas event on the Visitas calendar this year. Harvard administrators have a lot to learn from these innovative leaders.

Securitas? Try Insecuritas: the ill at ease sensation most Harvard students experience every day.
We suggest: “Insecuritas”

Feeling secure seeing all those Securitas signs around campus? Think again, prefrosh. Get ready to be very insecure when you realize that every other member of your class already competed in the Olympics and nailed down a finance internship for the summer of 2020.

We suggest: “Let’s-grab-a-mealitas”

A Visitas event where prefrosh plan to get meals together in the fall, but proceed to forget each other’s names immediately after making the promise. Time to assimilate the prefrosh into the flakey culture of this school.

Happy tas-ing, everyone!

The Visitas Events to Crash

Macarons from an event dedicated entirely to European Pastries? Worth making up an elaborate backstory for.

It’s Visitas weekend, which means hordes of confused prefrosh will be flooding campus. Prefrosh have an excited sparkle in their eyes and can remind hardened Harvard students of the magic they once saw in this place, but if you’re already a grumpy “it’s almost finals” student, you’ll probably just see them as a traffic jam and an annoyance. However, no matter who you are, you can benefit from Visitas. All of those classic Visitas events that sound super fun and promise great free food are back, and while they’re technically for prefrosh, is there really anything stopping you from pretending to go back in time for a little while? If you want to get the most out of Visitas, or at least eat some tasty food, here are some standout events.

A New ChalLANger Approaches—SOCH Room 105
Saturday, 4/21 at 4:30 p.m.

A little niche, but if you’re looking for some way to be social but not actually have to talk much then look no further! Tons of video games and prefrosh Player 2s with which to prove that your Smash Bros. skills are much better than your Pset skills.

European Pastries and Drinks—Harvard Hall 102
Saturday 4/21 at 6:30 p.m.

This one’s got a little bit of preparation necessary but tons of reward. As an event geared towards meeting European students, you’ll probably want to create a backstory so you aren’t outed as the American you really are. Just whatever you do, don’t fake an accent; they’ll know and you’ll have to wave goodbye to all the cannolis and macarons.

Make Your Own Japanese Rice Ball—Annenberg Hall
Saturday 4/21 at 9:30 p.m.

Bid any concept of a normal brain break adieu and check out this event instead. If the title doesn’t convince you, nothing we could write will.

Pastries, Crepes, Political Consulting—Harvard Hall, 102
Sunday, 4/22 at 10:30 a.m.

Well, at least the first two words sound appetizing. Looking to ditch classic Sunday brunch for something a little more upscale? Looking to ditch the low-earning potential careers that your concentration leads to for one that might be a little more lucrative? This event has got you covered.

Boba and Board Games—PBHA
Sunday, 4/22 at 9 p.m.

Want bubble tea? The answer is probably yes, and you can probably get in and out of PBHA pretty quickly while pretending to be a pre-frosh. No particular participatory events are necessary, though if you really want to get into it and play some board games with prefrosh, go for it.

International Dessert Fest—Ticknor Lounge
Sunday, 4/22 at 9 p.m.

What’s better than sugar, sugar, and more sugar? International sugar! Justify your indulgence under the guise of cultural exploration, and join the feast.

As finals approach and we get more desperate to add joy to our lives, consider joining the crowds of hopeful future Harvard students and make the most of Visitas. Any and all of these events would make great study breaks, so Visitas here we come!

Oh, The Prefrosh You'll See At Visitas


We brought you the types of Visitas hosts, now see if you can spot all these types of prefrosh.

The Overloader

This prefrosh has done all of their research and is ready to attend as many sessions as physically possible throughout the weekend. They’re an active member of the Class of 2022 Facebook page and have kept up to date with everything you can slap a -tas on since their acceptance. You can find this prefrosh posing for a photo on the Widener steps with their Harvard 2022 banner, and their lanyard hanging proudly around their neck. Various pamphlets and pieces of merch will be spilling out of their red Visitas drawstring.

The Stanford-Reject

This prefrosh had their heart set on another school and unfortunately had to settle for Harvard. They spend the whole weekend complaining and dropping hints that it’s so much sunnier in Palo Alto.

The Elsewhere Commit

This prefrosh just wanted some extra days off their senior spring semester. In the process, however, they constantly bring that up they’re actually going to—and maybe even already committed to—another Ivy when introducing themselves at events. While others are scared of getting rescinded, this prefrosh will try to smash their host, convince as many others to partake in their debauchery, and overall be the worst influence on the 2022’ers.

The Soon-to-be-Rescinded

You can find them being goaded by the Elsewhere Commit to drunkenly pee on John Harvard. Whether they tote an unusual inclination to dank meme, or a vodka-filled water bottle, you already know they won’t be on campus come fall.

The Mama’s Boy/Daddy’s Girl

They took the “parents are invited” thing too seriously, and when you meet them you’ll also have to introduce yourselves to James or Susan, who insist that you call them by their first name. As if that encounter wasn’t cringey enough, chances are you’ll find yourself sitting next to their parent on whatever bus/train/plane you’re going home on.

The Prep School Posse

The prep school world is a small world, especially at Visitas. These prefrosh can be found hanging out with their upperclassmen friends and walking around with a massive squad on the very first day. They can also be overheard discussing the impact of this year’s record low acceptance rate—only 12 of their friends got in instead of 16.

The Conflicted One

This prefrosh is sort of a mess, and pretty torn about everything going on that weekend. Whether they are let down because they had the false expectation that Harvard was known for its crazy parties, or are going back and forth between a few schools, they’re noticeably whiny and bitter. They might lament at Partytas, “Bulldog Days was fun but I feel like I'm definitely getting a different vibe here.” They can be spotted donning a Yale hat, a Stanford sweatshirt, and MIT sweatpants, and won’t stop griping about the difficult decision they face.

Visitas is an exciting weekend for all but can definitely be overwhelming—even for you overeager types, who think you have it all figured out. Fear not, whether you ally with your prep school buds, fellow complainers, or that bad influence, Visitas is not the be-all, end-all decider of your identity or friend group. Live a little, and don’t worry about trying to (actually, please don’t try to) fit into one of these types.

The Types of Hosts You'll Meet at Visitas

The All-Star host might proudly don this t-shirt.

Visitas hosts are responsible for caring for sweet, naive prefrosh and immersing them in the Harvard experience any way they can. But you might not always get what you bargained for. Here are the types of hosts you might meet this weekend...

The Neglector

They’ll probably send one of their friends to pick you up, or maybe just text that they’ll be busy for the day and leave you to find your way to the Quad on your own (good luck). If you didn’t bring a sleeping bag, don’t be hopeful: there’s going to be a hardwood floor waiting for you. If you’re lucky, they’ll tape their door so that even if they’re not there for you, their room is. If not, have fun exploring the halls as their locked door stares you down.

The Overbooker

They’ve got good intentions, but at the cost of living space. At night, you’ll arrive to see three other prefrosh huddled around the futon or scattered around the common room. However, this kind of host tends to be very friendly and eager to talk about anything; after all, they did sign up to take in a bunch of prefrosh. Plus, while sleeping arrangements may be cozy, you’ll have friends to navigate Annenberg with the next morning.

The Advantageous Humorer

The worst type. They’ll feed you plain wrong information about Harvard, send you on pointless errands, and make fun of you with their weird Harvard humor. They’ll use words like comp, Q guide, and more acronyms than any sane human should be expected to keep track of, reveling in the fact that you’ll have no idea what they’re talking about. Don’t despair: your true Harvard experience will be much better than the one this clown prepared for you.

The Reminiscer

From the moment you show up, they won’t stop telling you about their own Visitas experience. They may only be a sophomore, but things were so different when they were just discovering Harvard. On the upside, it will be super easy to get them to talk about their Harvard experience. On the downside, they might be sneakily trailing you to events just to experience the ~thrill~ all over again. You thought it was weird to have your parents following you around? Now try a random college student you barely even know.

The All-Star

Through every stressful essay, late night p-set session, and frantic midterm prep sesh, one thing has kept this type of host going: Visitas is coming. There is truly nothing they are more excited to do than welcome you into their cramped dorm room where there’s a comfy futon waiting for you. Your schedule will be packed, but they’ll still insist on grabbing brunch with you or running to Zinneken's for a late night waffle together. If you get this host, consider yourself lucky—it’s always nice to have an upperclassman friend when you get on campus this fall.

No matter which host you get, your schedule will be so packed with free food events, *highly recommended* talks from faculty, and trying to meet as many people as possible that you probably won’t end up spending much time with your host at all. Overall, the best piece of advice we can offer is: Whoever your host may be, keep track of their spare key.

Why You Shouldn’t Do Anything This Summer

Take a moment to enjoy your time off. Even Cambridge is beautiful in the summer.

With classes and activities wrapping up for the school year, many people’s minds have turned to their summer plans. And as the high-achieving (read: competitive) group of students that we are, everyone wants to be sure of what they’re doing for the summer—and what everyone else is doing. It’s news if your only plans for the summer are to enjoy the break and not work a high-profile internship, but there are several reasons why you should consider doing just that.

Recharge from the Year

With high stress levels on campus during the school year, it’s important to give yourself some time off to recharge for the next school year. Working a stressful job could leave you more exhausted, putting you in a state primed for mid-semester burnout. Your mental health is more important than one bullet on your resume!

Spend Time with Friends and Family

You spend every semester buried under school work and various activities, and thus might not have enough time to see your friends and family. Summer is the perfect time to catch up with these far-flung but familiar faces. You can make lasting memories with them that will remind you of how much you love them (but also why it wasn’t such a bad idea to move hundreds of miles away from their prying questions).

Work a “Normal” Job

So many people working prestigious, but unpaid internships. Your most fulfilling option for a summer experience could be a minimum-wage service job. Let’s be honest, we could all be taken down a peg after spending some time in Harvard’s ego-boosting bubble, and nothing keeps you humble like a job at your local restaurant. Making money is nice too, especially when the work is mindless.

There are many useful things that you can do with your summer even if you don’t have definitive plans that directly contribute to your ten-year plan to become a partner at Goldman Sachs. Sometimes, the best use of your time is to do nothing. And being a Harvard student with “McDonalds” as an employer on your resume is as much (if not more) of an interview conversation-starter than summer analyst at some start-up.

Prefrosh: Be Smart


Congratulations, Class of 2022. You did it. After 13 years of brutal education and more hours invested in extracurriculars than sleep, you made it to Harvard. After you take your first steps past the regal arch of Johnston Gate, suitcase bouncing on the bricks behind you, you’ll have three days of Visitas to test Harvard’s waters, explore what this campus has to offer, and decide whether you can see yourself here for four years.

We remember this excitement. We were once in your shoes. The prospect of college independence and no parental supervision is a rush of adrenaline...which is why, as veterans of Visitas, we have some advice to give you. Prefrosh, for your sake and ours, don’t be dumb. Here are some tips on getting through Visitas and preparations for your first year without too many regrets.

Don’t destroy your liver

We get it. A college party is exciting, uncharted territory, and you want to make the most of it. But you do not want your first experience on Harvard’s campus to be marked with a trip to the hospital at Mt. Auburn. Trust us, there will be plenty of opportunities to drink and make bad decisions here, but save that for after you commit and have Harvard’s Amnesty Policy on your side.

Don’t be disruptive

Visitas may be a new and exciting time for you, but remember it’s still (perpetual) midterm season for students here. Explore our beautiful libraries and aesthetic study spots to your heart’s content, but keep the volume and activity levels to a minimum. However Instagram-worthy Harvard’s nooks and crannies may be, it’s still a school, not a museum.

Don’t flex your college acceptances

Yes, you got into Yale. We know you have a laundry list of other schools you’re “considering,” but it’s not worth bragging about unless you want to be branded as the pretentious kid. Use this time as a chance to learn more about Harvard, not as an opportunity to boast about your other acceptances, or—Drew Faust forbid—your SAT score. You’ll come to realize that only one school matters in the end.

Don’t touch John Harvard’s foot

Just don’t do it. You can take a picture with the guy. Just stay away from his foot. You’ll understand later.

Do reach out and talk to current students

While it can be tempting to stay within the #squad you formed within the first two hours of Visitas, don’t be afraid to get to know current students at Harvard! Whether it’s your host, your host’s friends, or upperclassmen you run into, we’re all excited that you’re here. Not only can conversations with current students help you determine whether Harvard is the best fit for you, but those connections will make the transition into freshman year a lot easier.

Visitas is completely what you make of it. You can love it or hate it, but what you take away from the experience is entirely up to you. Save yourself from an ambulance trip, the dirty looks of stressed students, and the permanent branding of the letter “A” (for bragging A-hole), and you just might find your future home here.

Older → ← Newer