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Sophomores Celebrate Concentration Declaration at Annenberg Event

Annenberg Hall
Annenberg Hall By Allison G. Lee
By Joshua S. Archibald and Michelle G. Kurilla, Contributing Writers

Hundreds of sophomores returned to Annenberg Hall to celebrate the declaration of their academic concentrations at a classwide event Thursday night.

The event, co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Council, Dean of Students Office, Advising Programs Office, and the Harvard Coop, saw students reuniting with friends from other Houses in the dining hall used by all first-year students, taking photos, and snacking on refreshments.

UC President Catherine L. Zhang ’19 said the Council was motivated to ensure this year’s event came to fruition after last year’s fell through.

“We started talking about this event last year, and the space was booked before the school year even started in preparation for it,” she said.

In addition to the light-hearted photo opportunities and raffles scattered throughout the dining hall, an activity planned by the UC gave students the opportunity to write a postcard about their concentration declaration to themselves.

Zhang said the event was designed to encourage students “to take a moment and stop and reflect on why they decided to declare their concentration.”

“When we met as a student group, we thought that it was important to not only celebrate the class being together — which is why we had food, photo booths — but we also thought that it’s a really important time in students’ journeys, especially through their academic and Harvard journeys,” she said.

Students attending the event said they enjoyed the opportunity to see friends from other Houses. Freshmen are sorted into 12 upperclassmen Houses each spring, a process that sometimes separates friends.

“I’m seeing a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while,” Kevin L. Bi ’21, a newly minted Applied Math concentrator, said.

“I’m super pumped to have all my friends together in Annenberg again,” Ami Ishikawa ’21, a new Economics concentrator, said. “Coming back here, seeing everyone catching up, taking pictures, it’s a lot of fun.”

Some students reported feeling mixed emotions about the declaration process.

Austin Y. Hwang ’21, a Computer Science concentrator, said he felt the declaration itself was somewhat constraining.

“I waited until the really last minute because I don’t really like the sense of permanence,” he said. “I still want to explore other things and I feel like officially declaring makes it really permanent even though I know Harvard is very flexible on these things.”

Sarah J. Rodriguez ’21, meanwhile, said she felt relieved to declare a joint concentration in Philosophy and Social Studies.

“It’s nice; there’s some certainty to it,” she said. “There’s a sense of identity that comes with it.”

Manasi Maheshwari ’21, a Computer Science concentrator, said she was excited about the wide range of uses for her new concentration.

“I’m taking an education class right now which really stresses the importance of transforming education, and I think technology is a great way to do that,” she said. “It gives me the opportunity to make the change that I want to see in the world.”

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