Tag Archive for 'freshmen'

How To Choose Your Courses as a Freshman

Freshmen are greeted by a 1000+ page book detailing all the courses they could possibly take (and many that they’ve never heard of) in the fall. Contrast this to even the course selection at the largest and most awesome high schools, and many a freshmen sort of freeze up, freak out at narrowing down what they want to do with their life, major, career and beyond!

While I can’t tell you whether to take that Psych 1 (yes the numbers start low here) class or that freshmen seminar, there are a few basic rules you can follow to make your life easier and narrow down your selection.

Course selection for freshmen should be primarily directed toward concentration exploration and workload/difficulty balance.

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Stop Planning Your Mind Away

One of the best pieces of advice that freshmen receive is: Do not try to plan out your four-year academic career. This piece of advice will be tucked away in that guidebook that freshmen get, in a section addressing course selection and academics.

The guidebook will then continue in a reassuring tone: Just make sure you’re taking the classes you need to take in order to set yourself up properly for your classes next year.

As I’m looking forward to my junior, senior years and my career plans, I’m realizing just how wise that advice is.

There’s no need to stress yourself out by planning each detail of your life.

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Don’t Be THAT Boy or Girl: What Not To Do Amongst Other Smart People

Being clever and one step ahead, the typical Harvard student probably answered many a question in class, asked many a question, and was generally what most would term a “smarty pants.”

However, drop said newly admitted student into a class of 1500+ other really smart newly admitted kids and smarter, older, maybe wiser upperclassmen, and the game changes. Life Sciences 1a fills Sanders Theater, and no one likes that kid who asks the irrelevant make-me-look-smart questions at the end of lecture.

If you’re among smart people and you’re smart yourself, keep your attitude in check to gain respect from your peers.

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Leveraging Your Strengths

Today’s intern training session touched on my company’s philosophy that it is “impossible to turn a weaknesses into a strength.” It seemed counter-intuitive. Why wouldn’t every company want to turn each employee’s weaknesses into strengths?

But, then, in that rare flash of insight I am rarely prone to, realized it was about ROI — Return on Investment.

Rather than having employees spend excessive amounts of time trying to turn a fear of public speaking into a Broadway actor’s stage presence, companies would rather have them reach an acceptable level of public speaking competency. The return on investment for reaching perfection for a weakness just isn’t worth it.

I would argue that the most successful (and happiest) Harvard students are those who leverage those strengths.

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What They Didn’t Tell You on the Admissions Tour: Housing

Housing at Harvard is going to be awesome compared to pretty much any other college. Period.

However, because we’re Harvard students, we always find something to complain about. Here are a list of things about the housing situation that would knot your undies once you get on campus.

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On Surviving E-Recruiting

E-Recruiting is one of those phrases you hear tossed by upperclassmen as a freshmen. They bemoan it, love it, hate it, need it. And as a freshmen, you’re not quite sure what to make of it. But, once you hit sophomore year, that word “e-recruiting” is on everyone’s lips.

Some start early and fast — attending the recruiting sessions for SENIORS as sophomores during the first week or so of September. Others realize belatedly that deadlines start as early as mid-reading period for the first semester!

Here are a few tips for surviving e-recruiting (as it pertains for those searching for internships).

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How to Prepare for Your Freshmen Year

Harvard is an overwhelming experience. Every incoming first year will receive a packet of ALL the events occurring during the first two weeks of school. It will be packed with events — some mandatory, others highly recommended, and way too many of them will involve extracurriculars.

You’ll hopefully meet everyone in your entryway, and then everyone at every table you sit at in Annenberg. You will forget everyone’s name, maybe even your own. You’ll probably shop at The Coop and get ripped off, talk to advisers who tell you everything you already know, and receive more course syllabi than you’d actually like to sit and read through.

Here are a few tips that I found helped me out those first few months as a freshmen.

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Summers for Harvard Students

It is finally that time of the year when Harvard releases its students from the grip of its off-kilter academic calendar, and Harvard students scatter to many parts of the globe to have fun, help others, study abroad and earn marketable skills.

Freshmen are (generally) wonderfully oblivious to the Harvard obsession of “doing something worthwhile” during the summer. They prance through January worrying about books only to realize in February that a number of deadlines have already passed for e-recruiting and grants. (In my opinion, however, this oblivion is generally a good thing for freshmen.)

So, what exactly do Harvard students do during those beautiful summer months? (This is a completely descriptive, non-life-hackery post.)

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The Perils of Move Out

Move Out is almost like a dirty word on campus. No one really likes to talk about moving/schlepping their queen-sized bed down 4 flights of stairs to storage. Few enjoy the awkward goodbye-acquaintance hugs? handshakes? (But thank god, no one asks, where are you going to be this summer? [That question was long hashed out two-three months ago, leading more people to know where you’re going to be rather than where you are from.])

So what is Move Out actually like?

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What They Didn’t Tell You on the Admissions Tour: Reading and Finals Periods

On the Admissions Tour, the perky Harvard undergraduates kindly inform you how delightful it is that Harvard is one of the few schools with an extended amount of time set aside for reading period and that we have an extended amount of time set aside for finals period.

However, they’ve conveniently glossed over a few essential facts about reading and finals period.

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