Senior year was the first year that I wasn’t aspiring to do anything, to join a group or start something new. It was by far my favorite year. So at the risk of sounding like a disney character I’d say, stop aspiring for something else and just be who you are.
-Leslie B. Arffa ’14
Take time to explore—to attend odd meetings, comp activities, and wander Cambridge with someone you just met. These moments of newness and adventure are the privilege of college. But then step back. Take the time to consider which of these really makes you happy. When you find those one or two things you love, give them everything you have, and let the other stuff fall away. It will be worth it, in the end. Also, don’t be the kid who graduates without having ever checked a book out of Widener.
-Rebecca F. Elliott ’14
There will be people who make you a better version of yourself. Spend time with them. There will be people who you wish you had a reason to know. Reach out to them. Make time for people. There will be times when you doubt yourself a lot, and feel like everyone is already achieving great things and you somehow missed the plane. Everyone has these times, even that over-achiever in section. Even the person who will make six figures after graduation. We all doubt ourselves. There will be bright, open days that you can use to do something spontaneous that you might remember forever. Alternatively, you could use these days to do homework. If you can possibly avoid the homework, go have an adventure. It’s more fun to make a memory than to make an A.
-Ginny C. Fahs ’14
Don’t wake up one day at the end of sophomore year and realize that you’re still the same person you were in high school. You know that thing you’ve always wanted to try? Give it a shot. When you realize that you just weren’t built for breakdancing, take solace in the fact that you are now the best dancer in your blocking group. Take care of your friends. Ask them how they’re doing and listen to their answer. Tell them you care about them. Mean it. Whoever said nothing good happens after 2 a.m. has clearly never been to Tasty Burger. Figure out who you want to be. Chase that person until you catch him and realize you want to be someone else. Reevaluate and try again. When it comes time to leave this place, be excited. Harvard is what you make of it.
Also, nothing good happens at Mather Lather.
-Zach T. Osborn ’14
There are fish in the Charles; buy a rod. Find out who in your house is living off-campus next year; have them join your lottery group so you can get N+2. Order “The Russian” at Market. Students who’ve passed their swim test can rent a boat from the boathouse for free. No matter what anyone says: socks don’t make sense; they don’t match other articles of clothing and they are designed inside out—the seam should be on the outside. The best pool cues are in Eliot and Quincy. When you get an exam back, before peeking at the grade, go to the Center for European Studies garden; it’s a nice for bad news, or good news, or any news.
-Noah B. Pisner ’14
At some point, in the middle of all this, slow down. Admit it when you don’t know (but don’t doubt it when you’re right). Don’t take yourself too seriously (but be serious about what you do). Then maybe even stop. Make time and take it. Change your routine. Do something that scares you. Be grateful, so grateful, and say so. Turn around: Don’t always listen to seniors, and don’t write off freshman-year-you.
-Delphine Rodrik ’14
Eschew any and all exit strategies. Don’t overuse exclamation points. Master the art of trolling. Be situated so self-transformation is imminent. And always respond to emails immediately.
-Kevin Sun ’14
Giving advice is hard because there’s really no “right” way to do college. So instead of telling you to value the people you’ll meet more than your potential career (which you should), or that you’ll get more out of a small group of close friends than a long list of less-than-strangers (which you will), I’ll just give you some practical advice that I’ve picked up in my time here. On academics: be wary of new courses, but not too wary. It’s like browsing the new submissions on reddit: lots of crap, but you also get the chance to be the first person to see the new hit thing. On beer: at least make an effort to try a kind that isn’t sold in 30-racks. We’re living in the golden age of microbrews, live a little. Finally, on life: Make mistakes. Frequently and early. You’re going to make them anyway, so better to get them out of the way.
-Andrew A. White ’14
There’s always more to the story.
-Victoria A. Baena ’14