When my pre-frosh arrives next weekend — from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York — Harvard’s best accommodations await her. You see, I live in the Inn, Harvard’s hotel-turned-overflow-housing where chosen students enjoy approximately two weeks of air conditioning and seven months of living three feet from their roommate at all times. My roommate and I, overwhelmed by the logistics of the visit, took five whole seconds to conclude that our pre-frosh will fly across the country to end up sleeping on the bench under our window.
As you can tell, my excitement is palpable. When my roommate first suggested we host a pre-frosh, I smiled so hard that I grimaced. Maybe I’m just a little bit jealous of this nameless pre-frosh who will enjoy the Visitas Veritaffle I never had.
But let’s not get it twisted, either. I’m genuinely excited to welcome an admitted student to campus. In fact, I’m thrilled that she has the opportunity to attend Harvard. The opportunities here are unparalleled, and the Harvard experience is singular.
Where else can you actually take a class with a world-renowned professor, the one you gushed about in your Common App, only to discover that they don’t know how to teach? Where else can you brag to your friends from home that you live three floors down and one entryway away from Malia Obama’s old dorm? Or the Unabomber’s?
Does any other college offer cowboy beans in the world’s most famous Hogwarts-look-alike dining hall? Where else can you see dozens of white kids dress up on a random Tuesday night to get rejected from a social club? Or feel a pang of guilt and awe passing Kirkland House, where Mark Zuckerberg pressed the first keystrokes toward the end of democracy?
Digs aside, I will make sure my pre-frosh knows that Harvard is transformative. You come to countless new realizations about yourself, your needs, and your aspirations. You meet accomplished, capable, and dynamic people across the community. You take academically rigorous but rewarding classes. You work harder than you may have ever worked before, finishing work you could have just started earlier. All-nighters happen, breakdowns happen — tell your pre-frosh to make an appointment with CAMHS for counseling through their senior thesis now. But one day, you emerge from the cubicles of Lamont as the birds chirp, and it all becomes worth it. Your second Expos paper is complete, and you are forevermore a Lamonster.