Graduating FM executives share a few words of advice.
Sometime between your first Annenberg brunch and junior spring, most of the people you respect will start taking themselves very seriously. It happens slowly and subtly: People exaggerate and trip up, trying to establish themselves as the people they’re becoming before they’ve become them. They’ll buy bow ties and Barbours, quote Hegel and create a “Scene.” They’ll be moving a lot faster than you are, so it might seem like they’re winning some game that you didn’t even know you were playing. When that happens, this is what you should do: If someone is laughing at you, laugh at yourself. If you do something awkward, laugh at yourself. If you meet someone worth impressing, laugh at yourself. Everyone worth impressing can laugh at themselves, and most everyone sincerely laughing at themselves IS worth impressing.
—Michelle B. Timmerman
Show up on time. Quit things. Don’t cancel dinner plans. Run outside. Leave. Come back. Do (some of) the reading. Buy someone flowers. Buy yourself flowers. Brush your teeth after Felipe’s. Twice. Get rejected. Apply again. Go on walks without destinations. Go to office hours. Be passionate. Be compassionate. Spend at least one semester cleaning bathrooms. Know the people who work in your house. Make a phone call just to say “hi.” Write more letters. Write more thank you notes. Reach out. Reach back. Be happy doing nothing. Spend time by yourself. Have 3 a.m. dance parties in common spaces. Don’t complain about HUDS food or Harvard housing. When you are with friends, be with friends. When you are doing work, do work. Share your successes. Admit your faults. Stay until closing time. Know that everything gets done. Always. Don’t save SPU until senior spring. Don’t save senior spring until senior spring.
—Kathryn C. Reed
Do sign up for a seemingly random club, your sophomore year. Do go to Salem for Halloween and to the Brookline Liquor Mart for the weekly wine tasting. Do sign up for Harvard Decision Science Lab Studies. Don’t show up late for the Decision Lab appointment or you will be banned from future studies. Do try Petsi Pies. Embrace Tasty Burger, just embrace it. Don’t sign up for 10 random clubs. Don’t be afraid to quit a club. Don’t bring your phone to Mather Lather. Don’t be that person who sets up lunch “appointments” three weeks in advance.
—Beth E. Braiterman
Stop thinking about what everyone else is doing. The only thing that matters is: What do I want to do? And sometimes figuring that out is hardest. But once you do (you will, I promise), go do it. Go teach kids, work in a lab, be King of IMs. Try something new. Learn to strum a ukulele, dance away on the Charles. Maybe it won’t make your resume look better, but it’ll make you happy. When you’re happy, you’ll know what you actually want to do with your life. It won’t matter what your type-A blockmate/pset buddy/teammate is doing. Sounds too simple, right? Perhaps it’s easier said than done. But the best part is, it’s a positive cycle. Just as long as you put your happiness first, everything follows.
—Eesha D. Dave
We all talk indignantly about the “Harvard Bubble,” but few people do anything to pop it. My advice? Find an off-campus place to frequent, be it a small bar down Mt. Auburn Street or a fun café a few stops down the red line. A few hours away from Harvard Square can do a world of good, especially during exam period.
—Jose A. DelReal
Be OOC, not out of control. Make sure you and your roommates like to whine about the same things. Make up an alliterative theme for every day of the week, and pretend that it’s a real Thing. Pity people who don’t do Tartine Thursday. If you have a tendency to Google stalk, use caution when meeting “new” people. Don’t be too aloof, or everyone will think you hate them. Choose your favorite big word and use it excessively. Choose a new one. Sometimes you just need to have a craft day. Enjoy it.
—Nora B. Tufano