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It Doesn't Really Matter Which Of the Seven You Choose


Every year about this time, several dozens of freshmen work themselves into a mild frenzy over choosing a house. The choice looms up as one of monstrous proportions, one which will determine the course of their lives for the next three years. And so, with prayers and trembling, they spend agonizing weeks trying to pick out the "best" house, and even more agonizing weeks waiting to hear if they are accepted or rejected.

But little do they realize that the choice is actually one of the more insignificent ones they will have to make, and that the bases on which they make it will probably be absurd anyway.

Varying Popularity

For it seems patently absurd to assume that, if there really as a "best" house, they will be able to pick it out with any degree of accuracy. This can be seen in the fact that generations of freshmen have been unable to agree on the most desirable house, and that every year or so a new house is on the top of the popularity list.

Just what it is that makes a house popular is hard to determine. Sometimes it is the existence of a popular stereotype, but these are as changeable as the winds of rumor. In 1948, for example, the CRIMSON described Eliot House as "tending to cliques" and "bibulous enthusiasm," and noted that Dunster had been called a "hotbed of Spanish insurgents."

More often, it is simply "the word," which gets passed around during the month before applications are due. This may be the wisdom of some knowing upperclassman, whether a friend or interested bystander, or the intuition of a freshman mystic.

Usually, however both have failed to divine that it is not so much the house which forms the student, as students who form the house. They should have told aspiring musicians, for example, not to regret missing out on a strongly musical house, but instead, to saw on their fiddles wherever they go, and thus perhaps create a new stereotype.

But things will undoubtedly go on much as they have in the past. Those 65 per cent who get their first choices around May 11 will be happy, those 25 per cent who get their second and third choices will be mildly happy, and the remainder will be violently unhappy. But they'll soon get over it, and realize that their new home isn't so bad after all. If they don't, they would probably have been misfits wherever they ended up.

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