The blog of The Harvard Crimson

The Official HUDS Meal Alignment Chart

HUDS Food Alignment Chart

Flyby has released the official Harvard University Dining Services Meal Alignment Chart! True Neutral? Four or more blue Powerades? What alignment are you?

How to Beat the Harvard Sophomore Slump

Walking to Class
September is almost over. You’ve chosen which clubs you want to comp and which ones to leave. You’ve met up with those friends from last year and promised to hang out just as often even though you don’t have class together anymore or one of you lives in the Quad. Now that everything has settled into a monotonous rhythm, you’re left wondering what happened to all the things you wished to change this year. Maybe campus just isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Regardless of class year, if any of these has been your experience this semester, read on for advice about how to beat the blues.

Talk to People

At a time when you’re figuring out who you are and the sorts of goals you have for yourself, it can be really stressful to make big decisions like choosing a concentration or joining a new organization. Reach out to friends, family, advisors, and deans and talk about what’s on your mind. The more you put your conflicted feelings into words, the more you will be able to deal with them. The House community is another resource available to you this year, as well as Harvard’s Counseling and Mental Health Services and the Bureau of Study Counsel. It’s a cliche, but comparing yourself to others doesn’t work since everyone is coming from a different place. Try to compare yourself to who you know you used to be, see how much you have grown, and assess how you can grow even more.

Take the Initiative Academically

If you feel like freshman year did not go the way you planned, don’t worry. You can always improve. Take the initiative by going to office hours when you’re confused sooner rather than later, and start assignments early to feel like you have a bit of a grip on things before midterm season. Meet with concentration advisors and students to try to map out your future semesters in your concentration. There are lots of good options, so choose something you like and remember that many Harvard students change their concentrations a couple of times before graduating. Plus, it’s still not too late to drop a class.

Holding on to your friends

Sometimes relationships are hard to fall back into at the beginning of a new semester. Especially after freshman summer, people have changed and so have you. Maybe it was hard to keep in touch or find common ground on non-Harvard aspects. Still, this is not to say you should abandon last year’s friendships; be honest with your friends, and don’t be shy about texting them to meet up. Scheduling a weekly lunch, dinner, or psetting date can help ensure that you see them. Give it some time to settle back to normal, and remember you will inevitably be meeting new friends too.

Escape the Harvard Bubble

This is often something we plan on doing but have a hard time actually budgeting time for. It’s worth it to escape the Harvard bubble and venture into the outside world. Plan out your semester in terms of papers, presentations, and midterms to determine afternoons or weekends where you can spare a few hours to leave campus. Explore Cambridge and Boston; many museums are free with a Harvard ID, and you can check Facebook for events in the area. Remind yourself that you have a life apart from Harvard to relish and look forward to.

It’s okay to feel worried and anxious as you enter your sophomore year, and if you’re slumping, it’s not the be-all and end-all of your Harvard experience. Know that there are actions you can take to get out of the funk, and even if you can’t make them this semester, there will be many opportunities in the future.

Love it or Hate it: No-Laptop Policies

The Science of Happiness
Love It: No-Laptop Rules — Michelle C. Lara

When laptops are allowed, I know the shopping preferences of everyone around me and which emails they read and then promptly ignore. On the first day of class, the girl in front of me is already shopping for shoes while the guy seated next to her is dropping the class. Laptops are so distracting, and when you have access to an online world that steals your attention in two seconds, it becomes super easy to fall into the trap. Not only does this distract the people around you, but it also distracts you, who could learn so much more if all you had was a pen, paper, and the professor’s words (like how they used to do it in the archaic times). On top of that, laptops tempt you into writing every small thing, but not all the points a professor makes are relevant or new information. No matter the type of learner you are, this is a valuable skill for when you have to read long texts and decipher what’s important. Plus, the people behind you probably think your taste in sneakers is trash.

Hate It: No-Laptop Drools — Rocket S. Claman

I write this from my laptop, sitting in class. I have taken eleven lines of notes this lecture. I have also read all the chapter summaries for the book I was supposed to finish for class today, answered a bunch of emails, and filled out a When2meet. I answered a question posed in class so I could get my participation points. I also ate a vegan cookie from Pavement. I didn’t need a laptop to do that, but it feels important to mention. Needless to say, it’s been a very productive hour and 15 minutes.

The class is over, and yet the lecture is continuing. Classic. Anyways, here’s why no-laptop rules in classes suck.

  1. Did you not just read how much I accomplished with my laptop in this class? I took notes, looked at the lecture slides that are posted on Canvas, basically read a whole book, put out some fires via email, and also texted this girl from my internship about becoming a detective. What can you do with a notebook? Doodle? Sneak glances at your phone? Tragic.

  2. Confession: I typically don’t take notes on my laptop. Well, Rocket, why are you writing a “Hate It” about anti-laptop rules? Because I hate them.

  3. Life doesn’t stop just because you’re in class. Sure, ideally everyone can pay attention for the entire class, but let’s be real, that’s not always the case. It’s much less disruptive to answer a text or an email via laptop than via phone.

  4. You never have to print your readings, so you save money on printing.

Why would anyone NOT use laptops in class?

Why No One's Interested in Your Club

Activities Fair
Wondering why there were only three freshmen at the second meeting of that beloved extracurricular you’re on the board of? Well, here’s the thing: No one was convincing at that crucial intro meeting. As a former freshman who attended no fewer than seven intro club meetings (read: easily swayed by fairs), I’ve picked up some good tips on what works at an intro meeting and what doesn’t.

Snacks That Are Actually Good

Yes, it’s true that most intro meetings have some kind of food to lure people in, but chances are they won’t be interested if all you offer is half a bag of veggie sticks, mushy grapes, and that weird peppered popcorn. Generally speaking, a safe bet includes Insomnia Cookies and perhaps something cheese-flavored. Keep in mind — the more the merrier!

An Energetic Presenter

If you’re not convinced that this extracurricular is fun, interesting, and personally impactful, then odds are no one else will be. Even if you use someone who’s only been a member for a semester, an energetic presenter who can sell their passion and pride for the club’s community will convince prospective compers to try it out too.

A Clear Next Step

Before compers walk out that door, make sure they know when the next meeting is and what people should bring. Otherwise, they might not make it back. It also doesn’t hurt to send a follow up email before the first meeting.

A Rundown on Future Meetings

So, what does your club actually do? People often leave intro meetings barely understanding what the club really does during a normal meetup in November. Make sure to convey what type of collaboration goes on, what the general expectations are, or why they’re required to bring three juggling balls.

Sell It!

I’m not saying you need to cover every inch of campus with obnoxiously bright flyers, but advertising in imaginative ways or placing flyers in strategic places can really go a long way. Remember, motivating your future club president to comp is the first step.

For the sake of the prospective compers who are just dying to discover their new passion, selling your club correctly is a must; they might just grow to love it!

Walking from the Quad: STEM Edition

The Quad
Now that we’re a few weeks into the semester, that shopping week “This semester I’ll wake up in time for a leisurely breakfast!” motivation is gone. Unfortunately for Quadlings, this just makes it more likely that your worst fear will come true: missing the shuttle. However, if you’re trying to get to a building north of the Science Center Plaza (hi STEM folks), congratulations! The Quad is deceptively close to the Oxford Street premises. This route is the fastest way to the science buildings, and has the added bonus of taking you through “real people Cambridge” so not everyone you see will be a harried Harvard student. It will also take you via Starbucks, if you are inclined to grab your morning joe to-go.

Step 1: Walk to the Jordans

Yeah, that’s right, Jordan residents. You have a head start here, by maybe a couple hundred feet! (For the uninitiated, the Jordans are the satellite Pfoho buildings at the corner of Walker and Shepard, separated from the Quad proper by Walker Street) The denizens of Cabot’s I/J island, aka Eliot Hall, also are #winners by 20 seconds with this route.

Step 2: Walk down Shepard Street and turn right onto Massachusetts Ave.

Some tips: You can cross Shepard at the Mass. Ave. light, but Shepard is a one-way with little to no traffic usually. Not that we’d encourage you to jaywalk, but...if you’re running late, keep it in mind. If you want Starbucks, do not cross Shepard until the intersection.

Step 3: Cross Mass. Ave. at the Everett/Chauncy intersection

This is a big intersection that you can’t miss. The general rule is to cross first in whichever direction the light lets you, but this intersection is a bit wack. The Mass. Ave. crossing is a shorter light (around 20-30 seconds) than the Chauncy Street crossing (around 50 seconds), even though Mass. Ave is a much bigger road. Be prepared to walk fast — Boston drivers do not mess around.

Step 4: Cut through the Law School

Y’all are math nerds, so you’ll understand what we mean when we say this is some trigonometry magic. Don’t walk down Everett and Oxford because those are straight lines! The path through the Law School makes the hypotenuse. Ergo, shorter walking distance. Boom.

One potential route is to turn left into the Law School right after Wasserstein Hall (the building with the COOP), but you can also follow Everett and turn right just beyond Wasserstein’s other corner. You should end up in front of the Caspersen Student Center either way, which you can identify by the stressed law students in front of it. Pro tip: walk right through Wasserstein if it’s windy or rainy or generally unpleasant.

Step 5: Surprise! The engineering buildings!

Walk down the path that puts Hauser on your left and the Law School Library on your right. You’re here! Maxwell Dworkin is down to your far left, as is Pierce, and the physics buildings are across the lawn. Follow the path straight down, keeping the library on your immediate right, and you’ll find LISE and Gordon McKay to your left. The Science Center is just beyond, and you can go in through the side entrance to avoid the crowd.

At any point, you can walk left to hit the Oxford Street sidewalk, and cross the road to buildings like Northwest, the Chemistry department, and the Natural History museums. Congratulations, you are energized and ready to take on the day.

N.B.: This route is reversible! What’s more, it’s way faster than taking the shuttle, which will loop all the way around Mem Hall at best and the Yard at worst before getting to the Quad again.

Types of Freshman UC Candidates

UC Postering
Freshman fall is filled with bitter doses of reality for everyone, but perhaps the hardest pill to swallow is the fact that you aren’t the only former class president in your yard. Many try to combat this by reliving their high school glory on the college stage. Even if you, like most of us, didn’t know what the Undergraduate Council was before this race started (and still aren’t quite sure), you are no doubt very well acquainted with the faces and ideas of every ambitious future politician in your yard. Here are some of the types of candidates you’ve probably already met:

The Overly Relatable

This candidate’s platform: They just get you. Freshman year is hard: They know because they’re a freshman, too. However, they’ve survived the first month unscathed and are ready to support you in all your emotional endeavors. Sure, they might have only eaten in Annenberg twice, and they go home every other weekend because their family lives in Boston. But they promise they can turn Harvard into a replica of your hometown if you just give them your vote.

Unlimited Poster Budget

How did you spend your high school tutoring money? Well, this candidate spent theirs at Staples last weekend, printing 200 copies of their face and laminating every last sheet so that the posters will last longer than their love for the UC. Prepare to be accosted by mediocre puns everywhere you turn in your dorm for the rest of the semester (unless you’re willing to put in the effort of taking them down).

GroupMe Guru

You didn’t think much of this candidate until they started popping up in every single group chat you’ve joined since Visitas, espousing their platform and asking you to become a politically active citizen. How is this candidate in Matthews, Greys, and Weld, you may ask? The answer is simple: they’re not. But don’t bother calling them out: This candidate has the follow-through to win, and you’ll regret your ill-fated hilarious roast in three months when you can’t get funding for your club.

Doors on Doors

Thought your summer campaign internship was grueling? Wait until you meet this candidate, who is running a one-person canvassing operation throughout your entire yard. Be careful not to act too friendly towards them — they’re on the lookout for recruits, and your smiling face would make the perfect addition to their team.

Between your inbox and your dorm bulletin board, it’s hard to ignore UC elections. To all of the candidates: Good luck, and we salute your hard work. To everyone else: Have fun taking down those posters for the rest of the year.

Q Guide Roundup

Q Guide Home Screen
Ahh, yes. Now that fall semester’s kicking into full gear, assignments are getting harder, lectures are getting longer, and productivity levels are decreasing rapidly. Curious about what exactly you’ve gotten yourself into? Why not take a quick look at some of the Fall 2018 Q Guide comments students had on the classes you’re taking this semester? (Caution: Yes, these are real comments, but maybe do some of your own investigative work before making any judgements. Except for Ec10a, of course.)

Music 97L: Critical Listening

Faculty Reply to Q Guide comments: “To characterize this course as "extremely narrow" is beyond incorrect; it is itself an "egregious" and "disingenuous" mischaracterization of the course, bent solely on torpedoing my reputation. In other words, it is trolling. Reader, I hope you will take the person's counterfactual diatribes with a grain of salt.”

This is the first faculty reply to Q Guide comments we’ve come across, and to say that we are intrigued would be an understatement.

Math 18A: Multivariable Calculus for Social Sciences

“An unequivocally torturous venture that manages to wring out every last ounce of intellectual curiosity one might still possess. Only take if regular dips into the well of misery are all that you live for. A truly harrowing experience.”

We’re sure Math 18a isn’t all that horrible, but we sympathize with this tortured soul and appreciate the vivid description.

LIFESCI 1A: An Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology

“Thought you were good at chemistry? Thought you liked biology? Were you thinking of concentrating in the hard sciences? This course will change all of that. The first few lectures are fine, but after a couple weeks this course will make you doubt your admission to Harvard. It will crush your self-confidence and make you feel like the dumbest person in the entire world...”

LS1a is truly a unique experience that prepares you for many other life science classes here at Harvard, but we understand the struggle this student felt. Remember though, office hours are key and there are resources to help you through academics and other challenges!

ECON10A: Principles of Economics

“I never feel worse about myself or a test than I do when I walk out of the science center after an ec exam.”

Oh, you thought we would stop at one comment?

“Not that hard. Do not fall for the hype. P sets suck up a lot of time but it’s sorta nice to do them with everyone night before its [sic] due. Tests are easy. Unit review is clutch.”

Okay, is this the same Ec10a we took?

“Taking this course was the worst mistake of my entire life, and I have had 18 years of questionable decision making.”

Hm, that’s more like it. And, finally, just for kicks...

“I can unironically say that I would have preferred to have been beaten to a bloody pulp than take this class. The beating is a once-off incident, whereas the trauma from this course will haunt me until the day I die.”

With this true range of responses, it seems that Ec10a has lived up to its hype. Who knows what this year’s new version of the class will bring.

However you feel about the classes you’re taking this fall, just remember: Your responses to the Q Guide will live in infamy. And hey, if the promise of getting to rant/gush at the end of the year is the only thing keeping you going, at least you know that someone will read it.

Quiz: What House List Email Are You?

Too Many Emails
Welcome to the start of a new school year! Whether you are a freshman just becoming acquainted with all of the facets of campus life, a sophomore adjusting to your new house community, or an old and wise upperclassman, we can bet that one aspect of school you forgot about (or purposefully blocked out) was school mailing lists. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the volume of communication flooding your inbox and wondering where you fit in amongst the messages, we have the answer.

1. How much time do you spend in the dining hall?

a. Exactly as much time as it takes to consume my food and clean up. With a schedule as full as mine, I don’t have time to sit around and chat (happy recruitment season!).

b. Either five minutes or two hours — it totally depends on whether I’m running off to rehearsal or hunkering down at a table.

c. However long it takes to have a five minute conversation with every person in the dining hall.

d. I go to my dining hall once a day to pick up food, but I eat in my room.

2. How many classes are you taking this semester?

a. Six. I’m actually on my way to a meeting with my academic advisor right now to see if I can add a seventh.

b. Only three, actually. I’m serving as president of a few different organizations, so I thought I would take time to focus on those this semester.

c. Four, and I spend the rest of my time lounging in my house’s common space.

d. Five, but I might drop one if the professor doesn’t get their act together. I know I deserved at least an A- on that paper.

3. What time do you go to bed every night?

a. I don’t sleep.

b. Like 3 a.m.? Really depends how late practice goes.

c. 11 p.m. at the latest!

d. I’m in my bed by 9 p.m., but I usually stay up until 1 or 2 writing bad Yelp reviews for restaurants in the square.

Mostly A’s: Weirdly specific buying/selling ads

You are always on the grind, and you couldn’t possibly squeeze out 15 minutes to stop at the nearest CVS or Target to pick up the mini carpet that you absolutely need but for which you are under no circumstances willing to pay more than $10. All we can say is good luck with your endeavors.

Mostly B’s: Pubbing email sent out by 5 people in within one minute

More than anything, you love what you do when you’re not in class, and so do your blockmates who comped with you freshman year — that’s actually how you met them! But maybe, in the heat of the moment, you get a little hasty with the email sending. As far as you are concerned, there’s nothing wrong with spreading some love and sharing your passions — you trust that your community will support your work and maybe even join.

Mostly C’s: Wholesome community building emails

Can you say intramurals? You L-O-V-E where you live, and there’s nothing like a little study break/stein/sports game to help everyone see what you already see in your house or dorm. Plus, you really need at least three more players to compete in the game this weekend, so you’re hoping for some responses.

Mostly D’s: Passive-aggressive call outs

Look, you’re not saying someone took your detergent, and it’s totally possible that the cooking spray you left in the community kitchen grew legs and walked away last night. But on the off chance that someone took your stuff, it’s important that everyone in your house knows you are absolutely not someone to be trifled with, unless they want very targeted emails in their inbox, too.

How to Decorate Your Harvard Dorm

Dorm Room
Now THIS is dorm room decor goals
Move-in may already be a distant memory after the chaos of shopping week, but that means it’s the perfect time to start finding any excuse you can to not do those new assignments. If your room is looking a bit bare with all those new textbooks sitting on your desk, here are some tips for making it look better than ever (and maybe finding a new way to procrastinate, too).

Wall Decor is Key

Want to make those plain walls feel a little less like a hospital and a little more like home? Focus on the wall decor, where the possibilities are basically endless! Paint something in one of the art studios on campus, hang up a cork board to put notes on, or hit up CVS to print out some pictures of friends.

Keep It Simple

Whether you’re looking to decorate on a budget or just wanting to create that perfect minimalist aesthetic, there’s plenty of cute, cheap, and simple decorations you can get right in the Square. Spice up your door, desk, or walls by covering them in fun washi tape designs, or kill two birds with one stone and use colorful sticky notes to brighten up your room and write notes on. Bonus points if you use sticky notes to spell out messages on your window and make friends with your window neighbors! If you’re feeling extra crafty, find some fun DIYs on Pinterest and turn room decorating into a bonding night with your roommates.

Hit Up Those Fall Sales

We may not be in peak senior sale season, but if you find yourself on any house or club mailing list, you’ve likely already gotten a couple of emails from seniors looking to get a jump on their spring cleaning or from over-packed classmates trying to free up some space. This is a great way to get furniture and other room decor for much cheaper than usual. Plus, the items are conveniently located right on campus!

Even if you’re stuck on the top bunk in a double, having the right room decor can make any dorm feel like home after a long day of classes. Put those overachiever skills to work on something besides your latest essay, and decorate the dorm room of your dreams!

Burst the Bubble: Sept. 12 - Sept. 15

The Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a great event on Thursday!
If you’re already aching to get off campus after just a week of class, you’re in luck! We’ve rounded up four adventure ideas for four days at the end of this week. From a Jordan Peele screening and science exhibition to fireworks and local food options, these events are sure to distract you from your first round of semester stressors.

Thursday:

“Us” @ Museum of Fine Arts

Loved “Get Out” but still haven’t seen Jordan Peele’s most recent horror movie? There are definitely worse ways to spend your Thursday evening than by catching a sunset screening of “Us” on the Museum of Fine Arts’s Huntington Avenue Lawn. Bring your own blankets and snacks and enjoy!

Friday:

College Fridays @ Museum of Science

This one’s for everyone who loved STEM as a kid, but not quite enough to declare a concentration in it. Every Friday this month starting at 5 p.m., Boston’s Museum of Science is offering free admission into the General Exhibit Halls with a college ID. The events will boast duck tours, lightning bolt demonstrations, and exhibits on all sorts of different science subjects.

Saturday:

Riverfest @ Assembly Row

With a movie theater, LegoLand, and plenty of shopping and dining, there’s already enough to do at Assembly Row. This Saturday, though, there will be even more — a full day of live music, food and drink pop-ups, games, and giveaways. The best part? Fireworks over the Mystic River at sundown.

Sunday:

Boston Local Food Festival @ Rose Kennedy Greenway

Wrap up the weekend by supporting regional businesses and celebrating sustainable eating at the Boston Local Food Festival. There will be chef demos, opportunities to learn about food in New England, and lots to eat. It will be delicious.

Harvard isn’t the entire world. Go forth and burst the Harvard bubble with these Boston events!

Quiz: What Kind of Campus Transport Are You?

Bike Rack in Cambridge
Being back on campus means realizing how much time it takes to get from your bed to a 9 a.m. lecture to a lunch meeting to a section to everything else your schedule demands. There’s definitely a correlation between personality types and how you choose to get around. Check out our quiz and tell us if we got it right!

1) You’ve recently complained about…

A) How many different comp meetings you have to attend or staff.

B) The glacial slowness of my.harvard.

C) Getting your dreams crushed by the lottery system.

D) How Cambridge weather makes you miss your summer abroad beach trips.

2) If you had an extra free hour in the day, you’d…

A) Immediately fill it with another workout at the gym / review session / “wanna-catch-a-meal-sometime?”

B) Take a nap or invest in some self-care!

C) Finally catch up on that Netflix series all your friends are talking about.

D) Plan out a getaway from campus for the upcoming weekend!

3) Your least favorite place on campus is…?

A) Being stuck behind a group of tourists in front of the John Harvard statue.

B) Waiting in line for a to-go meal at FlyBy.

C) Weaving through the impenetrable cloud of people that are either leaving the Science Center lecture halls or waiting in line at Clover.

D) Any space without enough windows (Northwest basement, Science Center Hall E, the list goes on).

4) Harvard hack that makes even the grindiest week a little better?

A) Using Canvas’s “Nickname” function to give that class you hate a passive-aggressive name.

B) Blowing your BoardPlus on an obscene amount of mozzarella sticks for a treat yourself night.

C) Using a pset drop — they’re there for a reason, people!

D) Putting Harvard’s endowment to good use by getting a fully funded trip abroad.

5) Your favorite study spot is…?

A) Deep in the grind cave of Lamont. The fewer distractions, the better.

B) In the dhall: It’s the perfect combination of free food, enough human interaction to make the workload seem less intense, and convenience.

C) Widener Library Reading Room! Something about the green lamps and cinematic aesthetic makes it easy to slip into the work rhythm.

D) Harvard Commons at the Smith Campus Center — big windows and aesthetic surroundings are a must to get in the right mood to whip out a pset or paper.

Results:

Mostly A’s: Razor Scooter

We’ll never admit it, but we’re jealous of your efficiency. White spaces in your calendar make you uncomfortable, and you’re pretty much always operating on full power, from your classes to your personal life. There’s a slight (ok, maybe more than slight) chance that you’re a section kid, but honestly, it works with your brand.

Mostly B’s: Bikes

Even though life at Harvard can be notoriously back-to-back (to-back-to-back-to-back), you’ve never let that stop you from carving out your own space to enjoy your schedule. You’re quick to blaze through a mile-long to-do list and then spend the rest of your free time doing absolutely nothing.

Mostly C’s: Walking

You’re a classic Harvard student through and through. You love complaining about how quickly Harvard Square shops close, watching movies and TV series that reference Harvard, and definitely had (or still have) Harvard and your class year in your social media profile at some point.

Mostly D’s: The T

While most Harvard students get trapped in the “bubble,” you’ve never let campus contain you. Obviously, you still have classes and extracurricular obligations, but you’re usually found in spaces that let you forget that you’re on campus, like the beautiful sunlit and caffeinated oasis that is Barker Cafe.

8 Things That Work Better Than my.harvard.edu

my.Harvard courses
As everyone struggles to find all the best hidden gems and fulfill the new General Education requirements, my.harvard has been hindering those efforts. With its persistent outages, it has left all of us in the dark at some point. Here are eight things that are currently working better.

The New Schedule and Having Time to Eat Lunch

Those 15 minutes at FlyBy are better than nothing, which is what my.havard is often giving us.

McDonald’s (or the Dhall’s) Ice Cream Machine

While neither work often, at least McDonald’s doesn’t get mad about its own cookies.

The Class Lottery System

At least someone, somewhere, is getting to take GENED 1074: “The Ancient Greek Hero” (or so we are told).

Your Last Relationship

Even Chad was more predictable than logging in to my.harvard.

Going to Networking Events

We are getting nothing out of both, but at least networking events have free food and your mom will stop texting you about going to a networking night.

Paying Taxes

Yes, our secondary school system may have failed to teach us this (or other useful life skills), but after 45 minutes and three YouTube videos, the tax system will be clearer and my.havard will still give error messages.

Promising Yourself That “This Semester Will Be Different”

Are you really going to do all the readings? Do you actually think you will make it to every 9 a.m.? No, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t enroll in classes because of a my.harvard shutdown.

Curricle, Syllabus Explorer, and Q-Guide Plus

Now, if you actually cannot figure out my.harvard and it’s getting down to the wire, check out these three sites to plan your semester schedule. Curricle will let you search for classes, Syllabus Explorer will show you a past or similar syllabus, and Q-Guide Plus will let you know what the students really think. This way, all that will be left to do is put the classes in your schedule.

Flyby Investigates: Curricle's New Beta Version

Curricle Diagram
This aspect of Curricle allows you to explore courses by looking at keywords

We live in turbulent times, and there is no better proof than my.harvard, which can be counted upon to crash at the most inconvenient moments. Last semester Flyby took a peek at Syllabus Explorer and Curricle, two course search (but not registration) sites. Now, Curricle has released a new beta version with upgraded features to help you shop. If you get bad lottery news, it isn’t too late to keep looking! Flyby sat down with members of the Curricle team to learn more about the project and its liberal artsy ethos — and tested out some of those funky new tools.

It’s Called Art

One of the things we noticed immediately and loved about Curricle last semester was the colorful graphics and sharp design. That fancy design is no accident — Curricle is run by metaLAB, which was in turn founded by Romance Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature Professor Jeffrey T. Schnapp, who is also an affiliate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Talk about interdisciplinary.

“The universe of courses, I think, is probably the most profound, distilled vision of what a university is and what it thinks is important in the world,” Schnapp said. “More than just the immediate practical value … there’s a bigger vision of how we can make information systems do a lot more than just deliver core functionality.”

Search by Learning Style

By far the most immediately useful thing on Curricle is the tool that lets you explore by class type — lecture, seminar, etc. If you prefer to filter out smaller classes because you hate participation (no judgment), there is a way! While my.harvard also has a course component search, you can’t search by seminar and then see what departments offer seminars, for instance, as you can on Curricle.

Exploration, Not Shopping?

While changing the way undergraduates shop classes might sound like a top-down abstract concept (a la the removal of shopping week entirely), Curricle does have input from students. Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program fellows have worked on the project almost every year since its founding, according to Schnapp. The team also welcomes feedback emails throughout the year.

MetaLAB Associate Director Matthew R. Battles says Curricle’s goal is to “integrate and learn from” students’ existing shopping habits and experiences, such as the Google Calendar-style plan tool and the Q Guide, which “some members of the faculty and administration would prefer to pretend don’t exist.” To that end, Curricle now links to Syllabus Explorer and the Q Guide. Project Manager Oliver Luo ’13, said that the new beta version also improves user experience, navigation, and tool explainers based on student feedback.

Not a Competition

The Curricle database is tied into the Registrar’s and not my.harvard’s — which is why, when my.harvard goes down, Curricle stays standing. Of course, you can’t enroll on Curricle, and the team members assure us that they don’t see Curricle as a my.harvard replacement, or competition. In fact, they work alongside the HUIT team behind my.harvard. But there are advantages to having alternatives. Whenever my.harvard does crash, as it is wont to do, the team says Curricle sees a huge jump in traffic.

As for my.harvard, “we’re not wishing that there’s outages,” Schnapp says. “Just to get that straight.”

Flyby Investigates: New Lowell House

New Lowell from the Courtyard
Everyone knows that Boston has two seasons: construction and winter. Harvard is no exception. Lowell House is the latest in the effort to renovate undergraduate housing, so (naturally) Flyby had to get the scoop for you. Read on for the lowdown on new Lowell!

The Basement

There’s so much new stuff waiting to be explored in the basement of new Lowell that it’s hard to know where to start. Enter through the main gate and go through the door on your right, which is right across from the building manager’s office. You’ll be able to take the stairs down to the basement’s main hangout space and the grill (but it isn’t a true “grille” like Winthrop or Phorzheimer — we’re not really sure why people insist on the confusing name, but we’ll respect the precedent). It has pool tables, couches, bench seating, two TVs, and a kitchen area. It looks cozy enough for a “Bachelor” watch party with homemade cookies or just a night of p-setting with elevated aesthetic surroundings.

If you head toward the dhall, you’ll run into the screening room, which hosts lectures and movie nights by request.

lowell screening room
It's easy to be jealous of Lowell's new screening room.
Keep going (yeah, the hallway goes forever) and you’ll hit the dance studio, squash courts, and gym. For some reason, the two rowing machines inside are facing each other, so you can look straight into your bro’s eyes as you get started on swole season. If you keep wandering around the labyrinth, you’ll walk past the Makerspace, which is home to a 3D printer, drones, and other funky things to explore. There’s also a fully-stocked art studio nearby, for those of you whose version of creativity is less engineering-oriented. Long story short, if you head to the basement, you won’t be disappointed — but you might never leave.

The Library

We’re not entirely sure what this thing in the glass case is or why it lives in the library, but it seems to ooze some deeply cursed energy.

display in new lowell library
Ah yes, a perfect display for a cozy library.

Otherwise, it definitely seems like a cozy place to hole up in once the snow starts falling. It’s also on the second floor, so you’ve got a sweet view of the tutors taking their kids and dogs out to play on the lawn, or students picnicking before Harvard turns into a slushy snow globe.

The Courtyards

New Lowell has double the sweet summer views (at least as long as the summer weather lasts here). With not one, but two, courtyards, there’s plenty of space for playing some cornhole on the Lowell-themed boards or maybe just basking in the glow of the belltower.

lowell courtyard bell
The Lowell bell pride is real.
One of the real stars of the show is the giant bell in the northwest corner of the courtyard right outside the library, a great spot for some un-bell-ievable pictures! Go enjoy the nice grass and warm sunshine while this lovely weather lasts.

The Dhall

As much as we loved the Inn’s temporary dhall, new Lowell’s dining area might just have it beat. Golden yellow and decked out with some pretty expensive looking chandeliers, it’s definitely worth a visit. The dhall was basically Lowell’s only common space while the house was under renovation, and became a super popular gathering place for the House and Harvard community in general. Even though there are a few more spaces to hang out in new Lowell, it looks like people are making the Inn proud by still flocking to the dhall in between classes and late at night. Also, shoutout to having matching checkerboard pattern floors with Leverett and Winthrop!

The Rooms

The only thing you need to know is that there are adjustable speed ceiling fans. That’s literally it.

Now that Lowell is somehow a real place and not just a construction site, time to go explore! But maybe bring a friend or some breadcrumbs a la Hansel and Gretel, so you don’t get lost in the basement.

Walking to the Quad: After Dark

Cabot Building Exterior
It’s late, and you’re either walking to a party (hi, freshmen!), or from a party back to your snug Quad dorm. Maybe you’re not in the most...clear-headed of states. Or maybe you just have no clue where the Quad is. How do you walk there? We’ve got your back.

First off, the safest route to anywhere is probably not a walk. The Harvard shuttle runs pretty late, and the Evening Van Service will pick you up even in the nether hours. Download the Evening Van app, and you can be ferried around campus — even to and from a place that isn’t a shuttle stop. If you’ve going to the Quad at night, it’s always a better idea to travel in a group and via the shuttle. But if you’re still inclined to walk, here’s how to approach it the smart way.

Step 1: Get to Massachusetts Ave. and Garden Street

This intersection is the starting point for the purposes of this post, but you are probably not sprouting out of the ground. If you are...I always knew that cemetery was creepy. Make sure to take the brightest route here if you’re walking through Cambridge proper: Walk along big streets like JFK Street or Mass. Ave, and try not to listen to music with headphones.

Step 2: Follow Garden Street until the Sheraton Commander

Stick to the left side of Garden Street. The proximity to Radcliffe Yard means that there are blue emergency lights on this route, so you’re covered. It’s also much better-lit than the Common.

Step 3. Cross Garden Street and follow until the SOCH

Ah, the SOCH. That welcoming beacon for all homebound Quadlings. You made it!

Bonus: where are the Quad Houses?

From the SOCH, walk parallel to Shepard Street to hit the Quad Lawn. On all four sides, you will be surrounded by Cabot House. (Yes, all four sides.) With Shepard Street at your back, you will face Cabot dhall and the Pfoho belltower. To your right, across Walker Street, are the Jordans, which are a part of Pfoho. Walk towards the belltower; that building is Pfoho’s Moors Hall, if you want to sound legit. Across the small street to your left is Currier. The shuttle stops in the bay between Currier and Pfoho.

In short, with your back to the Yard: Everything past the big belltower and to the right of the shuttle stop is Pfoho. Everything to the left of the shuttle stop and past the SOCH is Currier. Everything immediately around the Quad Lawn is Cabot. The shuttle also stops at the SOCH steps towards the Lawn (not the steps to Shepard). When you’re new to Quad living or just Quad visiting, the distance can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be that way! Follow our handy directions, and you’ll be good to go for all of your Quad adventures.

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