The blog of The Harvard Crimson

How To

How To: Do Visitas Right

Visitas, Harvard’s annual pre-freshman visit weekend, comes only once a year. If you’re not a jaded upperclassman, this weekend represents an important time to showcase the fun side of Harvard, proving to young high school students that this place is more than its midterm season. But on the other end, visiting pre-freshman have big questions on their minds - will I fit in here? Is Harvard ~right~? If you’re in that boat, this post is for you.

Many freshmen that visit claim to be worried about whether or not they’ll be able to compete academically on this campus. Whether or not this is actually a guise for name-dropping other options like Stanford, Princeton, or Yale is unclear, but it’s important to know that Harvard students primarily like to compete on how little work they’ve done on the problem set due the next day or how screwed they are for their next exam, rather than for levels of success. So during Visitas, spend less time asking people about classes and more time asking people about their favorite other people on this campus. That’s what actually matters – you’ll probably have an A- average anyways.

Don’t blackout this weekend. We know, we know, you’re so excited to be experiencing college and final clubs are the best thing to happen to anyone ever. It’s not that your reputation of being that kid who couldn’t handle himself this weekend will last – we know that this can easily be accomplished through incessant Facebook posts instead. Rather, too many a young pre-frosh has wasted his four years of work in high school by getting too drunk at Visitas and ending the weekend with a rescinded letter of acceptance from Harvard. You’ve seen a movie about teenage drinking before, so take shots of water and let the placebo effect carry your night away. You also aren’t a student here so the Amnesty Policy, though it’s another good reason to commit, doesn’t count for you yet.

At the end of the day, Visitas is really all about meeting friends who will become your lifelong partners-in-crime and who will speak at your wedding. Indeed, for an entire week of freshman year, countless students consider meeting up with their BFFs from Visitas before abandoning the notion and making friends with other people instead. But believing that you’ve found your crew and then realizing you’ll never speak to them is one of the most important parts of the Visitas experience - try to make sure you don’t miss out on the fun.

At the end of the day, this weekend should be a fun, lighthearted one. Know that Eleganza and its dancing are not the norm of Harvard parties, but hopefully some of the best conversations you have this weekend are. Enjoy yourself, and we’ll see you again with your little red Harvard key chains next fall!

How To Live in Quarantine

In an emotional sense, Harvard can be an isolating place. But when you have mumps, it is the literal definition of an isolating place. Specifically, Harvard has become a place that isolates its students so much that it quarantines them in uninhabited Inns, and neglects to inform existing residents. So for those who either feel overwhelmed by the metaphorical isolation of their lives or by the literal quarantine of their mumps-infected room, Flyby has some tips on how to live in isolation:

Keeping Yourself Entertained

There are a couple straightforward options here. First, you can live vicariously through others by constantly updating your Snapchat feed and hoping that Harvard will get a mumps-specific filter. Adding celebrities on Snapchat is a new trend, and odds that they have mumps are low. Then, you can check your Instagram and Facebook. Eventually, face-timing friends in hopes that someone will care enough to answer is a good option, and you can check out Flyby’s special coverage on dating apps (let’s hope rumors haven’t spread of your viral infection), because clearly this attempt to find love (looking at you, PSK) didn’t end well.

Eating Regular Meals

For this section, instead of writing our own potential options, we’re just going to copy and paste the email sent to students with mumps itself. No, this is not a joke. This is the actual email received by students with mumps who have been isolated at the Inn:

You can use the HUDS website to see what is being offered, and then email your dining hall manager -- James Carr, -- and the House deliverer about 45 minutes before you would like to eat. In fact, if you would like, you could place your order for all three meals at once, and just indicate pick up times for each meal. You can order hot or cold food, and HUDS will have it ready for the deliverer to pick it up. Once the meal has been picked up at the dining hall, the deliverer should call the student to let them know the food is on the way. The student should remain in their room with the door closed.

When the food is delivered, it will be placed by the deliverer on the floor in front of the student’s room, in the hallway. The deliverer will knock on the door. The deliverer will move away from the door and leave the area. The student should wait a minute or two after the knock for the deliverer to move away from the door. Then, the student may open the door and retrieve the food, closing the door behind them.

You read that correctly; no human contact for those infected with the big bad mumps, even at meal time. If that message isn’t isolating, I don’t know what is.

Make Sure People Care

Posting on Facebook might not be the best option if you don’t want people to avoid you for unnecessary reasons once you’ve recovered, but garnering pity through various Groupme’s and spending your time making sure the blocking group iMessage chat explodes every time your friends get out of class can be a meaningful and fulfilling way to pass your newly acquired never-ending free time. Because the other people also in quarantine likely have mumps, consider passing them messages through the doors asking if they would like to Netflix and chill.

If all else fails, do not fear: your literal isolation only lasts about two weeks, so the end is always in sight. For all those who are currently unscathed, keep calm and enjoy your freedom. You never know when a little case of the mumps could turn you too into a victim of isolation.

Check back for our next installment of How To every other Monday!

How To: Last Minute Spring Break

Here you are, just a day before spring break with no plans. All of your blockmates are going to Florida, but you never bought your ticket because you have a fear of purchasing airline tickets (who knows if the site is going to crash???). You could stay on campus and finally catch up on all that reading you missed, but no. You can’t do that. So here are some cheap, last minute options for spring break!

How To: River Run (from the Police)

River Run. It’s a tradition as old as Harvard itself (give or take 360 years) where freshmen take shots at every upperclassmen house the Housing Day eve. Other than ritual slaughter, it is the only way to appease the Housing Gods and guarantee good housing and a plentiful harvest in the Lowell Community Garden.

Make a Last Minute Sexy Halloween Costume

Want to look good this Halloween but just realized you gained too much weight to go as a sexy cat again? Or maybe you just found out that the Garment District isn’t actually an entire district, and have been too embarrassed to go ever since? Or is it that you realized that the life-sized Furby costume that you’ve been planning isn’t as original as you thought? If you’ve answered yes to one or all of these questions, then you could use a last minute sexy Halloween costume. You could also use a refresher in high school rhetoric. The questions were rhetorical.

Run the Boston Half Marathon

You don’t think you can run a marathon? Then how about a half marathon? There is a saying that goes “If you can do the math, then you can run Boston's Half Marathon on Sunday.” It’s not a well known saying, I made it up. But here are a few steps you can take so that you can run the race, even if you haven’t done any training whatsoever.

Take an Intro Class as an Upperclassman

There’s nothing worse than walking into an Ec 10 lecture as a junior, except for maybe the declining elephant population—but let’s be honest, it’s kind of a toss-up. Yet for some reason, despite the fact that we are old enough to know better, and that all of our peers have already taken the classes, we find ourselves taking freshman intro classes as upperclassmen. It’s pretty embarrassing, so here are some tips for maintaining your reputation.

Get Punched

Punch season is upon us. From my extensive experience (La Vie accidentally gave me an invitation addressed to another girl once) I am more than qualified to advise sophomores looking to get into a final club. So here are some tips.

Put Up With Your Noisy Neighbor

It's 1 a.m. and you're trying to sleep, but the kids next door are being loud and rambunctious. You can't tell them to quiet down, because you want to look fun-loving, but you also cannot put up with it, because you are, in fact, not fun-loving. So here are some tips to help you deal with the noise in an effective manner that will not ruin your reputation as someone who enjoys deafening noises and doesn't need to sleep—because somehow vampires and insomniacs are still trendy.

Crash a Formal

It's not hard sneaking into a formal—all you have to do is draw some X's on your hands and say you're with the band. It's once you're inside that things get difficult. Do your salmon shorts count as formal? And when they play Journey, do you pretend like you're over it or preform the dance you memorized from the first season of "Glee?" There is no easy answer to these questions; they're rhetorical. What's more, formals are not easy; they are an awkward mix of 90's hits and oversized camping tents. But they can be fun, and luckily I have some tips for correctly crashing a formal.

Lulu to Your Liking

It's more than just a repeated consonant sound or the first half of a high-end athletic store. It's a smartphone app that allows women to anonymously rate past hookups, boyfriends and crushes, so that other women can see these rankings while men cannot. According to its website, "Lulu is a smart girls' app for private recommendations and reviews on guys," and according to my friends' reactions, Lulu is "WHAAAT?"

But now that we have already downloaded Lulu—and downloaded a dozen other apps so that no will notice it's on our phones—what do we do with it? It turns out that it takes more than just a bitter attitude and a willingness to objectify men to use Lulu correctly; it also takes some finesse. So here are some tips.

Be a Great Prefrosh Host

I was never a prefrosh at Visitas, I never officially hosted a prefrosh, and I don't even know what the word Visitas means (is it Latin or a pun?). I did however, babysit my neighbor once, and I'm pretty sure that means I’m qualified to give advice on how to host prefrosh.

Survive Lab as a Humanities Concentrator

Maybe it's for your SPU requirement, maybe you just drunkenly ended up in the Bio-Labs, or maybe you're like me, and you just wanted to play with chemicals. Regardless of the reason, it's happened—you're are in a lab class. Your strong verbal skills and College Board approved vocabulary won't help you here. As I like to say, science is hard. But luckily I have some tips that will make lab a little easier for us humanities concentrators.


Ace Your Interview

I learned the hard way that there is more to an interview than just answering questions; interviews are full of social norms like punctuality and shaking hands. So that others may learn from my mistakes, I have broken down some of the less obvious complexities of the standard interview.

Show School Spirit

Harvard's men's basketball team is first in the Ivy League, which means we might want to start taking school spirit seriously. But this can be hard. And since I am incredibly qualified to advise other Harvard students how to show some spirit (I did watch all three "Bring It On" movies), here are some tips.

Older →