by Peyton A. Jones
Class of 2023, congrats! You’ve finally made it to the most chaotic and fun part of Harvard: Visitas. In between the thousand or so events, you’ll need to refuel to keep the your energy strong for the weekend. Luckily, Harvard University Dining Services has got your back. Annenberg is the freshman dining hall and is the fancy-looking building located right next to the Science Center. Most of you will eat there at some point during Visitas. Because nothing is ever simple at Harvard (not even meals), we’ve compiled a guide on how to do the Berg (that’s its nickname) the right way.
Have Your Swipe Card Ready
Holding up the line at the door while you dig your swipe card out of the Tartarean recesses of your bag is a surefire way to annoy everyone around you. Please pity the poor student just trying to zoom through the Berg to cram a HUDS paper cup with some pasta in between classes or meetings by keeping it moving! Mile-long lines are meant for Clover, not the Berg. Besides, freshmen are already feeling the ego boost of not being the youngest people on campus, so don’t feed into it by giving them something to complain about.
Don’t Block Traffic
After you’ve made it through the swipe station, Annenberg seems to stretch on into infinity in all directions. While it’s beautiful, don’t appreciate this fact in the middle of a walkway. There’s time to gush to all your new friends about how it looks just like the Great Hall from “Harry Potter” later. To keep things moving, it’s best if you put your bags down at a table first and then grab a tray. That’ll help you and your group avoid becoming a cloud of prefrosh holding trays in the middle of an aisle looking for enough empty seats. Also, if you’re trying to decide which of the nearly endless list of events to go to next, make sure to make a decision before you take your plates to the tray return instead of clustering in a walkway to talk about which event has the best free food.
Say Hi to John
Sure, everyone loves the John Harvard statue in the Yard. But the real John of Harvard is the one manning the swipe station at the Berg. Legend says that if you can get him to remember your name by the end of Visitas, you’re destined for greatness.
Embrace the Awkwardness
If you’re feeling stressed about the massiveness of the Berg and the crowds within it, try to keep in mind that Visitas is probably the lowest stakes period of meet-and-greets you’ll do at Harvard. Everyone is wearing those ridiculous name tags around their necks, has said the same variation of name-plus-hometown-plus-intended-concentration greeting too many times, and is far-removed from their comfortable social circle, so consider the ice long-past broken. Take a seat next to someone new! Best case, they become your wingman for raiding the free food and merch from events. Worst case, you have an awkward moment and see them maybe one more time in passing before the weekend’s up.
Take a Minute to Appreciate It
Visitas is a strange cross between a carnival, a college brochure, and a summer camp all crammed into a few short days. In between running from event to event and flexing about who’s logged the least hours of sleep over the weekend, take a minute to truly take in all of Annenberg’s beauty. Annenberg is something you won’t find anywhere else, and you’ll only enjoy a year of eating there at Harvard before you move up to an upperclassman house. So (as you respectfully refrain from blocking aisles), take a second to look around — it’s more than worth the time.
Prefrosh, we can’t wait to meet you, host you, and throw a million flyers for clubs at you! Hopefully, your first meal at the Berg goes smoothly. Who knows, you might even blend in with the current students (aside from the lanyard around your neck). See you soon!
Want more content like this once you get to campus? Subscribe to Harvard Today, Flyby’s daily newsletter with campus events, free food, Crimson content, the daily menu, and more!
Click here to read more of the Flyby Guide to Visitas!