To the Editors of The Crimson:
The pre-registration issue of the Crimson which was sent to all incoming Freshmen featured several "my first year at Harvard" stories--personal accounts of past experiences at the school. They reminded me of high class versions of those weight reducing ads in which Betti-Jo Applepie tells about her life-long battle with fifty extra pounds and how she managed to win the fight with the help of the product. There were only two major differences that I could detect between the ads and the Crimson articles: 1) The struggle was not against chocolate cakes and napoleons but against the pitfalls of life at a big university and 2) Betti-Jo won her crusade but no one in The Crimson emerged victorious.
I'm not so optimistic and green that I believe Pangloss's theory that "everything happens for the best in the best of all possible worlds," and I hope that I haven't bee brainwashed to envision Harvard as "the pie in the sky," but I still wonder why the paper only included articles in which there was no expression of academic, social, or emotional fulfillment. Perhaps in inclusion of those articles is a reflection of the general tendency of the student body to criticize the school; I've been warned that it's gauche to appear too satisfied. Or maybe the articles were intended to shake up the incoming students--the abolition of the beenie tradition has made Freshman hazing much more difficult. Certainly the general style of the pieces was effective; the personal stories made it obvious that students at Harvard are human (contrary to popular belief?) which is an important fact to get across to the new class. Also, the illustration of the sundry failures had its value because it demonstrated how the victims, sometimes the worse for the wear, survived.
But what about successes? Couldn't The Crimson find a single student who could recall a good Freshman year? I'm not asking to be misled or to be given misconceptions, but I question if life at Harvard (especially the social situation) is as disastrous as it was depicted.
I suppose I can always pick up a copy of Love Story if I want to read about the rosy, fun-filled side of Harvard living. And who knows--maybe I'll get into all the clubs I want to, breeze through my courses, make a myriad of wonderful lasting friendships, meet my Prince Charming--and then I'll write an article for next year's pre-registration issue of The Crimson. Alice Scovell '80