A Note to Readers

When they were first admitted, the members of the Class of 2021 made up one of the most diverse classes in Harvard’s history. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread them across the world — and challenged the notion of a singular “Harvard experience.” Today, without campus as an equalizer, the diversity that defined the Class of 2021 has been cast in a new light. In our final issue of the year, we profile 15 seniors — generated at random — to learn about their circumstances and explore how the pandemic has impacted their lives.
By Andrew W. D. Aoyama and Nina H. Pasquini

Dear reader,

At the end of each year, FM typically publishes a feature called “15 Most Interesting Seniors.” It’s always felt silly for the editors of a magazine to be the judges of who is “most interesting,” but it felt especially silly to do this in 2020, when a pandemic has spread us all across the world, far away from our campus and its definition of “interesting.” So this year, we decided to switch things up. We generated 15 seniors at random and profiled them — learning about their circumstances and exploring how the pandemic has impacted their lives.

In the process, we wrote about seniors who are enrolled in classes and taking time off, who spent the semester on campus and abroad, who are interning and caring for their families. We hope that we’ve painted a portrait of the Class of 2021 as it is — scattered, tired, overwhelmed, and a little hopeful, too.

We didn’t intend or expect that this feature would feel celebratory, as has often been the case in the past. In a year so defined by distance, disease, and death, that tone felt, well, at least little inappropriate. But even amid accounts of loss and hardship, our writers found so many things to celebrate — a pitcher on the varsity baseball team getting to play catch each afternoon with his dad, a pair of high school sweethearts taking their cat for walks, an aspiring surgeon caring for nearly 100 small fish. We hope you’ll take some time to get to know the seniors who took some time to let us into their worlds.

What a year it’s been. When we took over as editors of this magazine, we imagined our biggest problems would be exhausted Wednesday mornings in John Boonstra’s HL90 or frustrated Thursday evenings when C’est Bon ran out of non-variety pack Angry Orchard Rosé. Needless to say, things went differently than expected. But seeing our editors and writers come together week after week to keep our magazine chugging along — that’s been a greater joy than we could have ever imagined, too.

We can’t wait to see where FM goes under the leadership OGO and MNW. Thanks for faithfully reading — we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our increasingly unhinged closeout notes as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them.

Yours,

AWDA & NHP

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