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On the morning of March 20, large numbers of first-year students began crying, screaming and cursing the administration when they found out their worst nightmare had come true: They had been quadded.
First-year Ilyana M. Kuziemko '00 got together with her entire blocking group to open the long-awaited envelope. When she found out she had been placed in Currier House, she was extremely upset.
"Currier was the place we dreaded to be," Kuziemko says. "It's just so far away. I thought the person who read the letter was kidding."
Kuziemko's feelings are shared by many quadded first-years who fear the tremendous hike to the Quad.
Jennifer E. Hoffman '00, who was placed in Pforzheimer House, is particularly concerned about the distance because she is on the crew team, and Pforzheimer is the farthest house from the boathouse.
"I don't think I'll be able to spend any time there," Hoffman says. According to Hoffman, there is only one girl on the crew team who currently lives in the Quad. Everyone else transferred after their first year.
Yet the thousand-odd yards that separate the Yard and Quad are not the only reason that so many first-years fear the far-out dorms. Another complaint about being quadded is that the area lacks a college atmosphere.
"You don't really feel like you're at Harvard anymore," says Jessica M. Kaye '00, who was assigned to Currier House. "You imagine Harvard life to be river houses and old collegiate-looking buildings. Currier seems very removed."
Nevertheless, not all first-years were disappointed when they found out they had been quadded.
"I was extremely happy for a number of reasons," says Aric A. Christal '00, who will be living in Pforzheimer. "While it's sort of far away, it offers a lot in the way of quietness. The Radcliffe Yard area is enclosed and very peaceful."
Christal is looking forward to the quiet Quad after living in Wigglesworth, which he says gets rather noisy.
Christal is also looking forward to living in the Quad because of its personal, community-like nature.
"When you get down towards the river, the houses are segregated," Christal says. "You have to cross streets and worry about traffic. The Quad is almost like its own entity."
Alexander T. Maskin '00, who will be living in Cabot, is also very glad about his housing assignment.
"I think it has the nicest rooms in Harvard," Maskin says. "The Quad is aesthetically pleasing...I'm very pleased with the dining."
Many first-years say they will not mind the distance to the Yard.
"I'm looking at it as a perfect excuse to bring my bike. I didn't this year because of the proximity," said Christal, who is also on the crew team.
So is being quadded really death incarnate? First-years appear to have rather varying opinions of the Quad but truth be told, few upperclass students dislike Quad life once they're there.
"The neighborhood around the Quad is really nice," says Wilbert D. Young '98, a resident of Cabot. "There's a huge area in the middle of the Quad that we can play Frisbee or sunbathe on."
Students living in the Quad rave about the rooms.
"The rooms are huge," says Chile E. Hidalgo '99, who also lives in Cabot. "We have our own singles, our own kitchen, a balcony, a bathroom. It's pretty sweet."
For many students who live there, the Quad is like it's own community.
"I feel like I know most of the people in my house. If I don't know someone, I'll meet them," Hidalgo says.
Andrea M. Lewis '97 shares Hidalgo's opinion. "The Quad is like one big house, instead of three separate ones," she says. "It's like you are attending a smaller university within the University."
Many enjoy the Quad for its quietness and exclusion from the rest of the campus.
"It's a little less hectic than Harvard Square. It's an easier place to live," says Nathan A. Herman '98, who lives in Currier.
Lillian D. Ku '97 says she agrees.
"I like being able to have some place to go to at the end of the day and not be in the same place as work. It's nice being able to differentiate work from play," she says.
Happy shining quadlings weren't always thrilled with their housing assignments. Many say they had the same concerns as current quadded first-years.
"In the beginning, the distance always seems like a problem," Young says.
Yet Young says that the distance never ended up bothering him.
"It's only a five-minute bike ride and a ten-minute walk. Three or four shuttles run an hour," says Young. Occasionally, Young returns to the Quad for lunch even when he only has an hour.
Are the Quad's rave reviews the product of upperclass student delusion?
"Maybe it's some form of rationalization," says Ku. "After being here, you convince yourself you like it."
However, even if residents of the Quad are a bit biased towards their home, something so many people rave about can't be that bad.
First-years, fear not. While thoughts of the Quad may keep you awake at night, the majority of students who currently live there love it.
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