Rain, midterms, and — scariest of all — previous-term course registration. It seems Halloween’s arrival is impeccably timed with the onset of spooky season at Harvard.
At The Crimson, we celebrated with a building-wide party, replete with costumes, dancing, and merriment. Now that the occasion has passed — yet exams and dreary weather seem to be sticking around — we asked our Board to reflect on the peculiar (and sometimes existential) sentiments that have characterized this season.
Sure, ghosts and ghouls are plenty scary, but they pale in comparison to the terror that awaits each day upon my return to Grays: five flights of stairs, no elevator. Truly the stuff of nightmares.
In spite of feet that feel all too similar to cinder blocks, I grit my teeth and drag myself up to my dorm, one step at a time. At least I never have to worry about skipping leg day.
—E. Matteo Diaz ’27, a Crimson Editorial comper, lives in Grays Hall
Standard errors and confidence intervals. As a thesis writer, I continuously dread the possibility that my empirical analysis will yield nothing worth putting down on paper. Yet I convince myself that I am at the frontier of discovery.
—Joshua Ochieng ’24, an Associate Editorial Editor, is an Economics concentrator in Quincy House
You might think that as a Crimson editor, writing flows naturally to me. Yet, staring at a blank Google Document — with only my name and date on the first two lines — can be one of the most terrifying feelings in the world.
—Jacob M. Miller ’25, an Associate Editorial Editor, is a Mathematics concentrator in Lowell House
In the realm of tardiness, I stood no chance,
A late riser’s plight, a rushed circumstance.
With bleary-eyed struggles, a race against time,
To dodge my dread fate, heed this simple rhyme:
Forgo dawn’s call, when choosing classes be wise,
Escape the cruel clutches of 9 am’s ties.
Yet, fate played its hand, no choice could I sway,
Into the early morn, I awoke late today.
—Sidnee N. Klein ’25, an Associate Editorial Editor, is a Sociology concentrator in Currier House
The promise of a mid-morning treat makes the school day less frightening, but confronting my Blue Bottle spending habits might just be the thing I fear most this semester.
—McKenna E. McKrell ’26, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a Classics concentrator in Adams House
Sunday, supposedly the day of rest, is the scariest day of the week. Coming off of a weekend that is intended to feel restful (yet never is) only to be confronted with mountains of work and the fear of the incoming week, I can’t help but hate my Sundays. Maybe one day my Sundays will be full of sundaes; one can only dream.
—Hea Pushpraj ’25, an Associate Editorial Editor, is a History concentrator in Adams House
As Halloween approaches, I am immersing myself in all things scary: witches, ghosts, and Science Center Hall C, be wary. Perhaps nothing has been more terrifying than the slew of midterms, problem sets, and essays aligning. Alas, they come and go, never-ending tests to see what I know. But I know a bit, and I give myself credit, staying positive so that I may show it!
— Sandhya Kumar ’26, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a Molecular and Cellular Biology concentrator in Winthrop House
I often find myself looking at my Google Calendar, wondering how I can be physically and mentally present at all the various things I have committed myself to. One of the best things I have done to challenge the overwhelming feeling of over-commitment is saying no. Though I am still working on this, the power of saying no has been incredibly liberating this year.
—Zion J. Dixon ’26, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a History and Literature & African American Studies concentrator in Winthrop House
Every morning, my eyes open to a vivid array of colors — not of the beautiful Cambridge foliage or light-blue skies, but of my Google Calendar. As I search for meaning, I unnecessarily paint my calendar with a spectrum of random shades to avoid sitting with my lonesome thoughts.
However, as autumn arrives, colors change, and leaves fall, I hope to leave this behind. I want to more deeply engage with the vibrant personalities, conversations, and opinions on our campus rather than optimizing color palettes on a computer screen.
—Calvin D. Alexander, Jr. ’27, a Crimson Editorial comper, lives in Wigglesworth Hall
October brings about the beautiful darkening of leaves. As I step on slippery yellow or crunchy light brown leaves, I’m reminded that no matter their height, leaves all end up on the ground. Yet leaves even on the ground retain their unique qualities. I can only hope the same for myself. I worry about whether who I am is at the core the same or whether I am being shaped by others. Yet, I’m reminded by those I care about and am reassured by my own actions that my core values are still the same.
—Merlin A. D’souza ’25, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology concentrator in Adams House
My two brothers, two sisters, mom, and grandma flew thousands of miles to drop me off. The whole herd came out to see me go. And now that I’m here, I can’t help but feel a mixture of guilt and loneliness during this season of leaves separating from their branches. Maybe I’ve been seeing myself like those browning leaves — falling further and further from my tree.
But honestly, in a lot of ways, if it weren’t for me moving away, I don’t think I would’ve begun to realize truly how beautiful and loving my family tree is.
—Zon F. Moua ’27, a Crimson Editorial comper, lives in Pennypacker Hall
As expected, your freshman year of college is surrounded by countless unknowns. I’m typically a person who has a plan; however, I’ve been forced recently to live with the fear and uncertainty of not having a concrete one.
Yet, I’ve discovered throughout the semester that being free of the pressure of a pre-planned life has been profoundly beneficial for my well being. Ultimately, it has made my college journey far more enjoyable thus far.
—Jasmine N. Wynn ’27, a Crimson Editorial comper, lives in Thayer Hall
Sophomore year: harder classes, more commitments, changing friendships, the removal of freshman rose-colored glasses.
The scariest obstacle has been the lack of time I’ve taken for myself. But just one hour can change so much. A run, painted nails, a newly made bracelet — simple, enjoyable things have undoubtedly changed my mindset.
—April S. Keyes ’26, a Crimson Editorial editor, is Chemical and Physical Biology concentrator in Winthrop House
The end is near. The pressures of post-college life feel all too close. Processing this reality has delivered a sobering effect on my perception of Harvard and the way I choose to spend my time. The adrenaline rush of freshman year has finally begun to calm down, at times eerily, and at times gracefully. I am looking forward to what comes ahead, regardless of its uncertainty.
—Sebastian R. Feune ’25, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a Government concentrator in Dunster House
As the semester inches onward, I’m beginning to realize that I’m actually a graduating senior — the spookiest thing one can be. Despite this, I’m looking forward to post-grad life, though it will be filled with fewer Crimweens.
—Shanivi Srikonda ’24, an Associate Editorial Editor, is a Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology concentrator in Quincy House
On Halloween, you can be anything you want to be: a consultant, an investment banker, or even a quantitative analyst!
Despite the endless possibilities of both Halloween and Harvard, the one thing I want to be for the next four years and the rest of my life is myself.
—Matthew R. Tobin ’27, a Crimson Editorial comper, lives in Grays Hall
I want to go back in time and be my second-grade self once more. The older I get, the kinder I treat her. I’d love to play in the makeshift, constructed-out-of-a-refrigerator-box rocket my sisters and I made, one more time — I can almost smell the sharpie markers on the dry cardboard.
—Ellie H. Ashby ’24, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a Social Studies concentrator Adams House
A flesh-and-blood The Crimson thank you bot: spewing unhinged gratitudes and nods to vivid interiority once per night, and then shutting up and disappearing during the day.
—Christina M. Xiao ’24, a Crimson Editorial Chair, is a Computer Science and Government concentrator in Eliot House
With great power comes great responsibility — and a healthy amount of unadulterated fear.
For the second consecutive spooky season, I’ve been charged with planning The Crimson’s Halloween party. Last year, this party — lovingly known as Crimween — represented The Crimson’s raucous return to post-Covid fun. This year, we saw the second side of that double-edged sword: the pressure of the encore.
Thankfully, Crimween proved more trick than treat, while I might venture to say that this year’s edition of the oh-so-vaunted Halloween party thrown each year by a semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine, ahem, flamed out.
—Tommy Barone ’25, a Crimson Editorial Comp Director, is a Social Studies concentrator in Currier House
It sounds obvious, but I’ve only this semester realized exactly how much I had to gain by getting to know my professors. There’s something powerful, and transient, about being able to learn during these four years from so many people who have more knowledge than I do. I feel like I’m finally doing academics right.
(And, of course, a snippet about sharing gratitude in October would not be complete without acknowledging that I, too, adore Crimween.)
—Ian D. Svetkey ’25, an Associate Editorial Editor, is an Integrative Biology and Physics concentrator in Eliot House
I’ve held an Editorial masthead position for all three of my years on the Board; by the semester’s end, half of that time will have been spent as an Editorial Chair. Anytime I wonder how I was bewitched into doing this job for so long, another raucous pre-meeting ice breaker or impromptu 3 a.m. dance party in the Sanctum is enough to put me back under Editorial’s spell.
—Eleanor V. Wikstrom ’24, a Crimson Editorial Chair, is a Social Studies concentrator in Adams House
October is a scary month for The Crimson and its editors: It marks midterms season, the start of the transition from one masthead to another, and the onset of the newspaper’s biggest party every year. Still, I love this month for all the ways it brings us together. Thank you to every Crimed who waves at me in the fishbowl, takes the time to ask me incisive questions, and makes sure to take good care of our home at 14 Plympton St. Happy Spooky Season, indeed.
—Cara J. Chang ’24, the President of The Crimson’s 150th Guard, is a History concentrator in Leverett House