The other students interviewed for this article echo Sheehan. But few of them can specify what the light at the end of the tunnel is.
Fitzsimmons has a clear, if idealistic, conception of what that light will be:
“The flip side of [the joiner] is that these are people blessed...with the opportunity to make a difference in the world,” he says.
Jobbins, the senior with the list of extracurriculars a mile long, isn’t so sure that’s the case.
“Harvard extracurriculars teach you to be corrupt. That’s the exact same thing that will happen in the corporate world, and I’ve been doing it since my sophomore year,” Jobbins says.
“I think that’s why Harvard people do so well. People help their friends, and who are you friends with? Your college buddies.”
A Frosh Start?
Though the motivations and effects of having an active extracurricular life are murky, the Class of 2006 has just begun to navigate those waters.
Rather than the themes of burnout and stress that upperclass students emphasize, several first-years say they are excited about the wide-open possibilities.
“It makes you feel like you can do anything you want,” said Seth H. Robinson ’06, clutching an inches-thick assortment of multicolored paper after he’d run the gauntlet.
“It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s cool,” said Jennifer G. Raymond ’06, who
spent an hour walking through the fair and signed up for about 20 e-mail lists.
In an e-mail, Sam M. Johnson ’06 wrote, “I ended up signing up for just about every activity under the sun...I figure I can sort them out later.”
—Staff writer Joseph P. Flood can be reached at email@example.com.
— Staff writer Divya A. Mani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.