Poll Shows Increasing Dismay at Social Life

Harvard students become more discontented with their social lives the more years they spend at the College, according to a poll conducted last month by The Crimson.

The survey of 453 undergraduates found that of seniors, only 50 percent found the social scene adequate. In contrast, 71 percent of first-years surveyed found College's social life satisfactory.

Of the remaining classes, 57 percent of sophomores and 55 percent of juniors interviewed said they were content with Harvard's social scene.

Dunster House Master Karel F. Liem yesterday said his impressions of the undergraduates in his house concur with the data gathered.

"Indeed, the incoming class, the sophomores, seem to be quite happy, active and spirited; the juniors, a bit less so; and the seniors, even less so," said Liem, who is also Bigelow professor of ichthyology.


Liem attributed the trend to a natural increase in skepticism as one grows older. "Upperclassmen have more issues to resolve--what to do after graduation, etc. Preoccupation brings down social happiness," he said.

According to Mather House Master Jeffrey G. Williamson, students develop a more serious academic attitude over the years, which lowers their social activity.

"When students enter [college], they're lesscommitted to intellectual life. But, over time,they become stressed out, and their social needschange," said Williamson, Bell professor ofeconomics.

Some students, however, disagree, sayingacademic pressures do not adversely affect theirsocial lives.

"I'm having a great senior year," said Currierresident Allison G. Oaks '93. "If anything, thesocial life improves as you get older."

Oaks said the houses have their own partieswhich first-years cannot possibly match in theYard. In addition, upperclass students reach thelegal drinking age by their senior year, she said.

Many students cited boredom as the source ofdiscontentment with Harvard's social scene.

"The freedom one has in college is reallyexciting at first," said Quincy resident Alexis C.Martinez '95. "But after freshman year, it's thesame old scene. People just get tired of it."

"It's basically the same people in the partyscene all four years. You don't meet new people,"Martinez said.

Another female student, who requestedanonymity, said, "The potential to meet new peopleis wasted by the time someone's a senior. I thinkthat has a lot to do with upperclassmen's attitudetowards the social scene here.

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