The top three things a Harvard student must do are:
- Have sex in Widener stacks
- Run primal scream
- Pee on John Harvard’s foot
However, there are a number of other things that many many Harvard students all end up doing. This entry lists and describes the appeal of each.
1) Comp the Crimson.
You will swear to yourself that you won’t get suckered into this organization, but two terms in, you’ll find yourself attending the open house. Half the appeal is its history and tradition, the other half is the mystery and the general excitement your friends experience while they are working through the comping process.
2) Start a blog
This is inevitable. Even if you don’t tell anyone about it, you will most likely start a blog of your own. If you’re a n00b, you’ll use blogger or wordpress. If you’re somewhat more high-tech, you’ll have your own domain name — a la SurvivingHarvard.com.
You’ll share the site location with your friends, who will probably read it, but chances are, unless you manage to tap into some deep fundamental yearning in the universe, you won’t hit Sex and the Ivy’s popularity.
3) Lottery for the IOP.
There’s no shame in this. When Stephen Colbert visits, everyone on campus was entering the lottery to see him. What is uncool is if you auction off that ticket, to someone on Craigslist. Don’t do it.
And attend the other IOP events too! What usually happens on a weeknight at Harvard in the IOP probably happens once a month tops at most other schools.
4) Complain about how awkward Harvard students are.
Because you will, for good reason. And then you’ll pine for state school parties.
5) Become a stalwart fan of a) Chipotle b) Felipe’s c) Bolocco OR d) Q’doba
For some reason the universe has seen fit to locate 4! burrito-wrap places in Harvard square, generally all within 2 blocks of each other.
You will try them all, and you will determine a favorite and from then on, let the burrito wars begin.
6) Order from The Grill
While this option is not open to those eating at Annenberg, there will be those nights where what your dining hall is serving you (tofu and pasta) does not look appetizing at all. This is when, you’ll order a yummy chicken patty or burger or fried egg from the grill.
As food prices rise and your dining halls attempt to scrimp without inciting too much student antagonism, you’ll learn how to make alternative sandwich, pasta and dessert dishes on your own. Two of my favorites are Mexican rice and rice crispy treats.
7) Donate blood, recycle, volunteer
Because there is a culture of giving back, it’s hard to justify NOT donating blood when the blood donation center is just in Adams house. Similarly, it’s hard to NOT recycle when you receive the Crimson every weekday and ten other magazines and you conveniently enough have a recycling bin in your room.
And finally, there are a ton of volunteering opportunities that you’ll hear about either over lists or from friends, that chances are you’ll either pick up something for a few days or find something to do all year around. (I recommend picking a gig that gets you out of the Harvard bubble.)
8) Going to restaurant week
The best of the best restaurants have fixed price menu’s for $30. While still expensive for a college student, it covers a feast of yumminess and 3 courses. You’ll go to one, and wonder why you didn’t go to the others. Grab a few friends, find the most swank restaurants, and hit the town.
9) Use Harvard-speak
However much you hate the terms “concentration” and “tutors,” you will use them. You’ll also toss around acronyms like: AAA, PBHA, IOP and CSA. It’s okay. No one will judge you unless you start asking people outside of Harvard what their “concentration” was and what “house” they were in.