Lottery Ends Year Prematurely

Editorial Notebook

We've been curious about the houses all year. Some first-years like to speak with pride of their broad experience visiting different dining halls, while others just casually mention that Adams or Lowell would be quite convenient when asked their preference. We've all wondered where we would end up: maybe in the same house as the guy we like, or perhaps instead in PfoHo, which we still can't pronounce. But as curious as we've been, March is too early for the College to run the lottery.

Two of my friends went out for dinner the night before the lottery results were announced. One, graced with the wisdom of his elder sister, told the other that our first year would effectively be over when we heard our house assignments. The other came to me almost in tears. Our first year over? How could time pass so quickly? And to be honest, why rush things? We have just finished midterms and a quarter of the year still remains. Why is the lottery so early?

Perhaps the College is only thinking of us. After all, blocking took hours and hours. The night before the forms were due, I was up until two, and the final decision still had been put off until the next morning. So they had us at heart, since blocking during midterms would probably hurt our averages.

And maybe the Administration was working the way my parents do, constantly trying to make us appreciate what we have by threatening that it might be gone soon. That tactic has definitely worked--just watch those recently Quadded students leaving Annenberg with a mournful sigh, only to pass by the shuttle schedule which hangs tauntingly outside the Science Center.

However, the overall effect of the lottery is not that of appreciation. Instead of simply treasuring these last few months, the early lottery forces us to look ahead too soon. Our wiser friend was unfortunately right. My proctor group sent e-mails all day Thursday and Friday: "We're Quadded but together." "I'm in Leverett-come visit!" "Be sure to save your proctor group e-mail list next year." Where are they all suddenly going? They caught on quickly; there's no more motivation to go to study breaks or to get to know the proctor group anymore. Some people in the group are my friends. And the others, well, they aren't even going to live nearby.

I have felt the housing bias even in my interactions with people during the two days before break. Just like any other day, I met new people while eating in Annenberg. But all discussions centered around housing. Those declaring affiliation to Kirkland or even Eliot held my attention as future neighbors. Quadlings, one the other hand, didn't even seem worth getting to know as I can't imagine trudging down Garden Street on a cold, rainy day.

Upperclass students already seem more accepting of me as an equal now that I have a house assignment. Knowing our houses will greatly affect the rest of the year. Even my parents are into it. My mom wanted to drive by Kirkland when she picked me up for spring break and has already read the Kirkland facebook cover to cover. It is nice that she now knows the biographies of all the resident tutors, but it is also noteworthy that she hasn't spoken with or heard about my proctor in months. Even she had forgotten that it was still only March.

Perhaps our tendency to plan ahead helped us get into Harvard. Perhaps the Boy Scouts are right--we need to "be prepared." But in this case, I think it is too early. I'll have three years to learn about HoCo and to meet the masters. I'm not ready for this year to be over. I still haven't seen the inside of Greenough. I can still leave for Science Center B after hearing the Memorial Church bells.

And speaking of the bells--when they woke me on Friday at 8:45 in the morning, I felt not annoyed but instead nostalgic. Kirkland House will be a great place to live, and I look forward to learning more about it when I move in the fall. But for now, I think I'll enjoy my room in Thayer, replete with non-halogen lamps, a blocked-up fireplace, and hourly bells. At least until the end of the year.