I remember my prefrosh weekend. The weather sucked, and I was a sad prefrosh quad-ed in Cabot without other prefrosh roommates. The weekend was alright, nothing extraordinary. I was more tired of being rained upon than anything, but it was the freshmen concert that ended up clinching my decision. There was such vitality and a quality of pre-professionalism that I knew that Harvard was where I wanted to be.
Prefrosh weekend + not many days to make a decision = stress. Read more to learn about how to make the most of your prefrosh weekend (at Harvard).
1) Must Do’s for Harvard’s Prefrosh Weekend
- Extracurricular activities fair: People will hawk their clubs to you and make you sign up to way too many things. But, there’s a real activities fair in freshmen year, so don’t stress out too much. Figure out if they have what you really want to do at College, and a few other things you may want to try out.
- Freshmen Acappella Concert: Awesomeness. Go to it. The groups sing fun songs and give hysterical performances too.
- Other fun EC-sponsored event: Lots to choose from. There are all the parties, Outwit, Eleganza etc. etc. (Yes, I’m biased, forgive me.)
- BOSTON: I know you don’t want to break out of the Harvard bubble already, but really, try to go out into Boston if you’re not from a city larger than Boston. If you can’t, ask your prefrosh host what people do in the city. Harvard kids volunteer, dance, teach, intern, research, work, eat, shop, watch shows etc. etc. there. Lots of opportnities.
2) Don’t be turned off by other prefrosh
Sure, you might meet your future friends 4ever! (I met a good friend of mine at Yale and Harvard prefrosh.) But, prefrosh are all sort of awkward and don’t know what to say to each other, and generally may not seem that interesting becuase really, you got in, no one wants to hear your brag list. So, if the other prefrosh seem a bit stiff, don’t worry, people generally relax once they’re back on campus come September.
3) Talk to current students
Talk to your prefrosh host. If you’re prefrosh host is busy (don’t be offended, students are super busy throwing events for prefrosh), ask for some friends of said prefrosh host who’d be willing to give you some pointers or bring you to some cooler sights in Harvard. Or, just talk to people at the activities fair! Get a sense of the place from the students who are actually living it. And remember, like all schools, there’s a great breadth of different types of people/cliches/groups etc.
4) Figure out what Harvard’s like sans prefrosh
Ask your prefrosh host if you could take a peek at their Open list or any number of email lists. There is a greater number of things to do during prefrosh weekend, but there are tons of stuff to do every weekday. Look through the spam lists and see if the events people throw catch your eye. There are lectures, guest speakers, parties, rock climbing, food, iron chef competitions, IMs etc. etc.
5) Determine what else is important to YOU
I, for whatever reason, decided to sit in on an incomprehensible electronics class. (Note, some classes are much better than others to attend.) The music practice rooms may be a concern for you, or the gym facilties, or the pretty libraries, or the erecruiting career service offerings (dear god, if you’re worrying about this already…), or the dining hall food etc.
Speaking of food, Annenberg will suck somewhat because of all the people. Try to visit an upperclassmen house as well. And check out brain break if you’re still around entering the weekdays.
6) It’s hard to make a bad choice
If you’re choosing between Harvard and another name brand school, it’s really hard to goof up. If you’re choosing between Harvard and a school that will give you a full ride, then you might have some more pondering to do.
You’ll talk to a lot of people at Harvard, and chances are, one of the top 3 reasons why they came to Harvard is because of “the people.” The people at Harvard are all crazy, intense, funny and cool in their own ways. Yes, you’ve got the crazy physics people who can scare you with their theorems, but at the same time, these are the same people you could sit down with at dinner and have a conversation with about how Obama’s doing. Etc.
Not that it’s anything to be too proud of, but the Harvard name really does ring out louder the further you are from Cambridge. For instance, I’m in Shanghai right now. I’ve sent off 4 emails to alumni in awesome places for informational interviews to learn about the industries they’re in, and they ALL replied back to me in a day. (I’m in awe, and it’s not like I wrote them an impressive email or anything.)
The thing about Harvard is that it’s a school that’s there for you years down the road. Some call it insurance, some call it a crutch. Harvard is NOT for everyone, but it’s pretty darn good for many of the people considering it.