A Letter to the Class of 2016
Dear Class of 2016,
Let’s look back over your past few months.
Your freshman year at Harvard University is nearing its end. You have already gotten your first taste of Expos. You’ve attended the sixth-straight drubbing of that school from New Haven on a brisk November afternoon. You may have even witnessed a Yard full of naked strangers and friends on a primal winter night before finals. Perhaps you were among them. Good for you.
While you will forever savor these first experiences, we write in the spirit of looking forward.
The memories of Housing Day morning can only be contained in blasts of experience. You’ll wake to discordant chants around the John Harvard statue. You’ll watch triumphant Houses taking laps around the Yard. You’ll feel the excitement in the cheers of the hundreds of upperclassmen storming your entryways. While all of that happens, you and your friends will be huddled in your dorm, waiting restlessly for the letter that announces your home for the next three years.
If the preceding paragraph made you excited, anxious, or some combination of the two, you need not fret. These sentiments are a natural reaction to what will become the most memorable day of your freshman year. However, if you think that you will lose friends via “outsourcing to the quad” or will wake to the nibbling chatter of rats down by the river, your worries have no basis in reality. If you dread being placed in a House near the bottom of some “objective” ranking system, your fears are unfounded. There is no need to be afraid of your own personal outcome on Housing Day. We write to tell you that the tears that run down your excitement-flushed cheeks Thursday morning should be ones of joy, not sorrow. No matter which House beckons at your door in a few days, realize that what awaits you in the coming years is a community full of supportive peers, a plethora of new facilities, as well as a host of tutors, House masters, and staff that you will swear to be the “absolute best on campus” in just a few weeks’ time.
Each House offers so many routes to happiness. You could be spending your Sunday nights by the fire in Adams enjoying hot cider and warm cookies in the Master Palfreys’ House or laughing over hot drinks with friends in Cabot Café after a day of soaking in the sun on the Quad lawn. You could be chowing down with friends from every House in Quincy courtyard, since the dining hall doesn’t have interhouse restrictions. You could be enjoying the scrumptious treats at Lowell tea while mingling with friends, peers, and distinguished guests. You could be reveling in Winthrop’s three great courtyards and strong intramural program that has helped to build one of the closest House communities at Harvard. You could refine your dance moves while attending Eliot’s three legendary formals, all enclosed in the comforts of a beautiful courtyard overlooking the Charles. You might be in Leverett House, the largest House community on campus, in which you are not expected to excel in a narrow field, but rather encouraged to explore and discover—indeed, a community for everyone! You might be in Dunster, where you will grow to love long nights spent in the majestic dining hall with friends and midnight cookies from the House masters. Or next door in Mather, where you could be enjoying a meal with a luxurious view of the Charles through the floor-to-ceiling dining hall windows before heading back upstairs to your single. If you love knowing everyone in your community, you will love Kirkland and Secret Santa, the largest and most epic week-long gift-giving extravaganza. You could bask in your enormous suite or single in Pfoho or satisfy your most intense gustatory desires with Currier’s unparalleled cheffing. As you can see, there is an incredibly rich diversity of experiences at all of our Houses, and we challenge you to seek them out.
We are ecstatic to meet you on Thursday morning. While we may greet you in outfits ranging from suits and boxers to speedos, we’ll all be bursting with spirit and reveling in House pride. We hope that you will be just as excited to meet us, too.
Your experience here is what you make of it. Wherever you end up this Housing Day, you will have the means to make your next few years extraordinary. We invite you to seize the opportunity and confidently endeavor upon the future chapters of your Harvard experience with love for the House that you will call your own.
With much anticipation, infinite excitement, and even more love,
Your House Committee Chairs
Brett Roche ’15, a Slavic languages and literatures concentrator in Currier House, is co-chair of the Currier House Committee. Ginny C. Fahs ’14, a Crimson magazine executive and history and literature concentrator in Quincy House, is co-chair of the Quincy House Committee. Kathryn G. Walsh '14, a social studies concentrator in Adams House, is co-chair of the Adams House Committee. This piece is a collaboration between the House Committee co-chairs of the 12 undergraduate Houses who sit on the House Committee Council. Each of the 12 Houses participated in the piece's creation and formation.