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In June of 1942, the Crimson printed its most recent "registration issue." The editorial was written by a Junior. Today, four years later, page two in this registration issue is put to bed by the same editor, who's a Senior.
Similar interruptions are typical of those who struggle through the blank forms in Memorial Hall today. Nearly all of them are either "old veterans," returning to pick up the loose threads of an education rudely ripped apart by unfortunate necessity, or new Freshmen older and more mature by several years than the prewar average.
Trotting out and reprinting the standard "advice-to-bewildered-Freshmen" editorial would obviously miss the mark in such circumstances. Coddling has never been a policy around the Square, and two terms' experience with veterans has made it even more patently unnecessary. Whether "old" or "new," the undergraduate these days needs a frank orientation, not a big-brotherly sermon.
Both groups will find Harvard physically identical with the pictures in the catalogue. Because of another unfortunate necessity, however, the ivy shelters but cannot obscure a significant change. With a fixed plant, a faculty shortage, and a greatly expanded enrollment, the College has been inexorably forced to shade the quality of its offerings. Tutorial, in many departments, is a memory; classes are too big and growing bigger; section men are scarce and overloaded; crowding in the Houses has cramped their ability to function as leisurely intellectual incubators. However nourishing the menu may remain, its flavor has grown noticeably flat.
The effects of speeding-up and watering-down will persist at least another half-decade. For the individual, eight terms in Cambridge are more than ever a matter of what he chooses to make them. The resources of a distinguished university are still available; they are simply being worked much more intensively. Harvard's plush may be wearing thin, but the foundation and the framework are still first-rate.
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