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To the Class of 1942 the Crimson editors extend a most hearty welcome. Although it is always sad to see a class graduate, it is perennially pleasant to receive the new one, for by replacing the other it preserves the four-rung ladder of Harvard undergraduate education. As the newest part in this old instrument, which swings with each year's fresh win yet is braced by the soundness gained from the past, you Freshmen are obliged to reflect on what you will do to make the rung sturdy and lasting. Because not only is the future of Harvard dependent on your use of the step, but even the college destiny of yourself. What you do the first year will determine what you leave to Harvard as well as what you absorb from it. So, Freshmen, sit a moment and think.
Think mostly about your attitude towards Harvard--the idea of Cambridge which you have formed perhaps before you have seen it. Is it narrow and cynical, or broad and naive? Has it been illuminated or spoiled for you by parental words? Has it been crowned with a halo by your school friends? Whatever the answer, be open-minded when you reach Cambridge--and that means be suspicious of everyone and everything until you are sure in your own maturing mind who and what is good or bad. If you come with an open mind, you will accept with equanimity the eccentricities of the Harvard community. You will be prepared to sign your name in Memorial Hall on registration day until your arm is numb; you will keep solicitors at arm's length, especially those who try to sell you heat, or Anderson bridge, or a funny magazine.
Because Harvard is dependent and sometimes cool, many of you may be lonely for a while, But the process of orientation is primarily your own problem; to solve it, you must put yourself forward, give equally for what you take. Go to the Union and meet your fellow-classmen; walk about the Yard and learn the names of the various buildings; participate in the functions of Phillips Brooks House.
Likewise, in considering courses, be open-minded. At Harvard you will find as little academic restriction as anywhere in the world of colleges Remember that as Freshmen you have your main chance to explore the curriculum and find what in it appeals most. Let your first year be one great survey course, in which you taste but not swallow. Later will come the specialization that enables you, in the Eliot tradition, to do one thing well. And by all means realize that academic life does not require twelve hours each day or that nothing but study is proper. Look around at the score of athletics open to Freshmen, for the College will make you exercise three times a week. Examine the profit number of extra-curricular activities, all of which are worthwhile and a few of which undoubtedly suit your tastes and abilities. If you consider all these things, Freshmen, we are sure that you will pass beneath the gates of Harvard ready--as the words engraven on one read--". . . to grow in wisdom."
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