Rain Gear a Must, but Lose the SAT Scores

What to Bring for Your First Year Among the World's Best and Brightest

You will, of course, need you toothbrush. And you will, of course, need your pajamas.

But what else? And what don't you bring to Harvard?

DO bring lots of underwear; you'll save some money. Why? Because the secret to a laundry-free year is oodles of undies. Maybe you'll never have to see a damp basement laundry room in Holworthy or Matthews. If you're clean on the inside, who cares about the outside.

DO bring your high school yearbook, but be careful. If you think it would be a cute conversation piece, then go ahead. But be aware that when your new Harvard friends page through it, they will see that dorky picture of you in the cafeteria with a wad of spinach stuck between your teeth. Then you'll be sorry.

In fact, high school stuff might not be such a great idea, after all. At Harvard, you have the opportunity to be someone completely new. That varsity football letter jacket might be hard to explain if you come here and decide you want to join, say, the Society of Nerds and Geeks.


And DON'T bring a high school relationship. You'll only rack up hefty phone bills. Plus, you might as well start exploring the strange world of Harvard relationships as soon as you arrive. If you wait until February of your first year to break up with Karen or Hank, you'll be overwhelmed when you finally venture out into the Yard social scene. Harvard's dating pool is inundated with bitter, post-reading-period dumpees on the rebound and dumpers "not yet ready for a relationship."

DO bring formalwear. Harvard just loves to get dressed up. Charity balls, house formals and play openings (yes, play openings) provide ample excuses for shedding jeans and sweatshirts for black ties and velvet dresses.

In the fall, fancy affiars turn up every month or so. And in the spring, you will be invited to take part in the House formal scene.

Not that "formal wear" necessarily means "prom dress." Harvard women suffer from a fear of looking too "high school" when selecting a dress for a formal. Consequently, all Harvard women must eventually acquire the Little Black Dress for that sophisticated "college" look.

DON'T bring a huge picture with a heavy gilt frame. Harvard hates nail holes. Instead, the Yard powers will provide you with "poster gum," which is basically useless. Find other ways to hang pictures, or get used to minimalism of blank walls. Besides, you can rent original pictures from the Fogg collection cheap-the only fee is to cover the cost of insurance.

DO bring a camera. Inevitalbly, it will be buried under piles of unwashed laundry in the bottom of your closet when prime Kodak moments arise, but any photos are fun to pore through later.

If you have access to video camera and don't mind the risk of burglary, you might consider bringing it. Film each other on the night of your house formals: Mom and Dad are at home, and someone has to take their place.

DON'T bring you dog or cat. Harvard doesn't allow pets, so you will have to leave Fido and Fluffy at home. Be strong. Improvise. You could try to content yourself with the 300,000 too-tame gray squirrels in the Yard.

DO bring a photo of your loving family. They'll miss you, and while you might not miss them so much, you will think of them occasionally. A picture will help you remember what they look like. Just make sure it's not too big.

DO bring photos to make your dorm room seem homey. Friends, family, and pets are the subjects of choice, but don't overlook landscape shots from back home. When the holiday season hits, it's good to have lots of familiar, friendly faces smiling at you.