'The Closest Harvard Comes To MIT'
Making water-molecule jokes with Eliot’s anti-bonding group
“We were like a group of large water molecules floating in space that conserve surface area into a single sphere,” says Kevin R. Pilkiewicz ’05 when asked how “the anti-bonding” formed. His blockmates, seated at their computers in Eliot E-43/44, burst into laughter.
So named because none were good friends last year when they hastily formed a blocking group at the eleventh hour, the members of “the anti-bonding group” have now developed close friendships based on their mutual interest: science.
“We’re the closest that Harvard comes to MIT,” says William A. Pastor ’05. “We’re a more nerdy group than many at this school.” As if to prove this point, they pass around a chemistry data table written in English, French and German. “Do you pronounce this organic compound as Le Ketone or La Ketone?” jokes Pilkiewicz. The others—four concentrating in chemistry and one each in engineering, computer science and biological anthropology—laugh at the patent hilarity of the fact that the French name is exactly the same as the English version.
Pastor doesn’t bemoan his lack of humanities-oriented roommates. “I went to Harvard really wanting diversity in people, but now I don’t. Diversity is a word for people who are different than me,” he says. Pastor modifies his statement: “I’m talking about diversity of interests here, not race or ethnicity.”
The blockmates are intensely focused on their science. “I work, sleep and watch animé,” says Albert Wang ’05. “Eating is optional.” Pastor says he is glad his blockmates don’t go out much, relieved to be free of the constant parties his first-year roommates threw. “One time at a party, I thought that these guys were friends of my roommates, but they were actually thieves,” he remembers. “We didn’t realize this until they had jumped out the window with our stuff.”
The blockmates are proud of their science pedigree and bemoan the easy workload of some of their classmates, like one friend who had to answer, “What is the largest number you’ve ever heard of?” for a Science A Core exam. “It’s the equivalent of a Lit A exam question that asks ‘What is your favorite letter?’” Pastor laments. “If you’re a science concentrator you can’t get away with a fourth-grade literacy level, but you can get away with a fourth-grade mathematical ability if you’re a humanities major.”