The blog of The Harvard Crimson

Refuge from the Blistering Cambridge Cold: Harvard's Hot Spots

15 Coldest Freshmen: George
Don't be like this guy. Get inside on of Harvard's hot spots.

No one can deny that Harvard’s got some hot spots. No, we’re not talking great parties (Cabot Aquarium, we’re looking at you), we’re talking actual warm places, which have suddenly become necessary. If you’ve already started layering multiple sweaters under your Canada Goose, planning for winter, and stashing food in your dorm to avoid a chilly trek to the dhall, this article is for you.

The Barker Cafe

For some reason, the Barker Cafe is always about ten degrees hotter than any other part of the Barker center. Maybe it’s the late afternoon sun, maybe it’s all the cute Humanities people who hang out there, or maybe it’s the sandwich press heating up the rest of the room. Plus, they take Board Plus, so you can enjoy a hot beverage while you wait for your toes to thaw.

The Upper Floor of Cabot Library

Freezing cold in the summer but blissfully hot in the winter, the upper floor of Cabot Library seems like it hasn’t figured out temperature regulation yet. During the winter, that means it is the perfect place to pound out a pset and take refuge from the cold (if you can avoid dozing off, that is). Sure, the interior design leaves a little to be desired, but there are board games, private study rooms, and even a sewing machine. But be ready to peel off a sweater layer though — it’s truly a toasty study spot.

The Vent by Canaday

Stand right next to the mysterious vents by the western side of Canaday for a toasty treat. Be prepared for some strange looks, but the warm air wafting out of there can warm even the most frozen hearts. For all you poor souls who live by the river but have class by the Science Center, this vent will provide just enough warmth to keep you going on your walks to and from class.

The Steam Tunnels

Sure, these are completely off limit to students, but maybe if you ask very nicely you could sneak in for a second and finally warm up. Yes, if you haven’t heard, Harvard has over three miles of tunnels running right below your feet, and they’re kept toasty warm. Just don’t actually touch any of the piping— you’ll get a pretty nasty burn.

Your Crush’s Bed

Make sure you get an invitation to go there, but it’s wilderness survival 101 to climb into someone else’s sleeping bag to get warm. Sure, you might be a little cramped for space, and it gets a little perilous if your crush happens to have a top bunk, but we’re talking cold weather survival here!

Even if you’re not a cold, hardened senior come December, you’ll probably start feeling the chill. Check out these warm spots, warm up your feet (or your soul?), and question why you thought it was a good idea to go to school in the Northeast.

How to Be the Hostess with the Mostest this Harvard-Yale

Quincy Sophomore Common Room
We count a couch, two chairs, and plenty of floor space for hosting Yalies.

The Yalies are descending upon us, much like we descended (albeit in much better style) upon them last year. If you’ve got a friend/general acquaintance/enemy at Yale, it’s likely they’re hitting you up seeing if they can crash with you for a few days of drunken incoherence. Here are some tips and tricks for surviving hosting a Yalie this weekend.

If you don’t hate ‘em, host ‘em

The great thing about hosting someone for Harvard-Yale is the next year, you can hit them up and ask to stay with them at Yale. This is some economic principle I think (you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours?), and honestly you’ll never be in your room anyway, so it’s not a huge lift on your part. And if you hate ‘em, you might want to host ‘em anyway, just so you don’t get stranded next year.

Spare Key

If you’re an upperclassman, you’ve got an extra key in the building manager’s office in case you get locked out. Check that key out and give it to your Yalie friend this weekend so they can get in and out of your room without you. But it’s like $50 if they lose it, so maybe make them Venmo you $50 first so they don’t disappear into the void that is New Haven and leave you to pick up the check.


Yalies are allowed into the dhalls this weekend, which is great — you don’t have to sneak them in. If you have a non-Yalie staying with you, this will also make it really easy to sneak them in. Tell them to look like a loser and the dhall staff will let them right in!

Blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, oh my!

Tell the Yalie to bring a sleeping bag if they have one. Hopefully you live in a suite or you have a couch or something for them to sleep on, because otherwise they will be sleeping on the floor wrapped in your extra blankets. Your drunk ass is definitely not going to want to share a twin XL bed.

Barf bucket

It’s really easy to get carried away drinking at Harvard-Yale, but the last thing you want is Yalie vomit all over your dorm room. Try to both keep an eye on them and set up a trash can with a trash bag in it, or something, just in case.

If you’re dreading the inconvenience of hosting a Yalie, just remember that you’ll (probably) be very drunk and it’s also just one weekend. Come Monday, you’ll be back to living the high life — away from the Connecticuter rabble.

Thoughts Yale Students Have on The Game

Yale Posters
The signs say it all?

Some are self-aware of how ~unintellectual~ we seem (and are) based on our pregaming activities:

“I look forward to the Harvard-Yale Game every year, because there is nothing more amusing than undergraduate students from two of the supposedly most prestigious universities in the country making complete and utter fools of themselves.”

Some find the rivalry to be good-natured and a great opportunity to make friends:

“I had such a good time at The Game last just felt like a big sense of community and fun even though it was supposed to be competitive, and I really enjoyed meeting Harvard students and showing them our campus, which I love.”

Others, not as much:

“Harvard has a color for a mascot so should they really be talking? I think not...”

And as always, there are pessimists on both sides:

“Harvard’s football team sucks, but so does Yale’s, so I wonder how it’ll turn out.”

But that might not matter as much as some may be homeless for the night...

“I’m a little concerned about how it’ll go...haven’t heard any information about the tailgate or how to find a place to stay for the night.”

The overall distribution of tickets was annoying for everyone this year though:

“The limited number led students to camp outside the ticket office from 5 a.m. onward. Lots of people cut the line and it was really contentious between members of the student body...People had to skip their classes in order to go.”

Especially considering that...

“Only around 2500 tickets were given to Yale for its students — and we have 6000 undergrads, so what was the thought process on that?”

And we agree that the location isn't ideal:

“One of the fun things about The Game is being able to move around and see your different friends so I think it’s a huge inconvenience to have it at Fenway. It almost ruins the ‘go with the flow’ atmosphere of the event.”

So it makes sense that there are...

“People like myself who are just going for the fun and not to watch the game.”

But the big question that we and Yalies have in common is:

“W H Y T H E H E L L I S I T A T F E N W A Y?"

The Best Drunk Food Near Fenway

Whether you like it or not, Harvard-Yale is located at Fenway this year, and the game gives us the perfect chance to break out of our Harvard Square brunch bubble and treat ourselves to some of Boston’s best drunk food. Here are some perfect comfort food restaurants with locations even the most blacked-out of students can find.

Sweet Cheeks

Southern comfort food and BBQ made by a former Top Chef contestant? Take us here immediately. With Sweet Cheek’s responsibly-sourced, natural meats, you can gorge on drunk food AND still brag to your friends about being environmentally sustainable. Plus the food is all served on trays with butcher’s paper and the drinks arrive in mason jars, so you can still take aesthetic food pics. Apparently their buttermilk biscuits are drool-worthy — one Forbes critic called them “the world’s best.”

Bleacher Bar

If you can score a table, this bar is the absolute best way to experience drunk food at Fenway. Located directly under the Green Monster with an unobstructed view of third base, this restaurant originally housed the visiting team’s batting cage, and now provides the lazy spectator with an ideal lunch spot. Come here to shelter from any predicted rain or snow and watch the game in style, surrounded by bar food classics such as burgers, beer, and wings. With the state of seating at this year’s game, you might get a better view while munching on french fries in this hole-in-the-wall than from your seats.


If you’re searching for something a little more classy, or if you’re *really* craving $17 ramen, hit up Hojoko, a hip Japanese bar with pop art decor. Featuring classics such as sushi, tempura, and sake bombs, this restaurant also offers inventive dishes such as Wasabi Roulette — a rotating platter of wasabi offerings complete with a glass of Horchata milk drink for the faint-of-heart — and the Dogzilla Hot Dog, stuffed with jalapenos and American cheese and topped with bacon, kabayaki, and bonito. Located inside the Verb Hotel and open only from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., hit up this restaurant for a later post-game dinner, or party in Boston well into the night to take advantage of their Midnight Munchies menu.

No matter whether you end up making it to the game, arguably the best part of Harvard-Yale is the food, the drinks, and the people. Round up your best friends and go treat yourselves to a drunk brunch. You won’t have to stumble far.

Keeping your Optimal Buzz at Zero: How to Be a Sober Friend at Harvard-Yale

Tl;dr: Stay sober and avoid being that friend, pricey Fenway drinks, and BPD. Sounds like a dub to us!

Learn from your (or your friends’) mistakes

We all have that one friend who pre-gamed a little too hard and couldn’t make it to Yardfest in the spring. Harvard-Yale is the biggest event of the fall semester, midterm season is in full swing, and if there’s one thing keeping you sane, it’s the fact that Harvard-Yale weekend and Thanksgiving are coming up. Don’t be the fall-semester rendition of that guy who ruined Yardfest for your entire friend group.

Don’t want people to know you’re sober? Deflect their questions!

Do you drink? “Yes. Exclusively CapriSun (Strawberry Kiwi, of course).”

Are you sober? “I am so-berry disappointed with the way that Harvard-Yale was organized this year.”

Is that a CapriSun in your pocket? “Sorry, that’s not for sale.”

Think of your coin

Drinking is expensive y’all (especially if you’re planning on drinking at Fenway). Plus, an ambulance ride to Mt. Auburn, and lawyers fees to fight a charge from the BPD can cost you in the thousands. Save that money! Use it as incentive for being teetotal, and your bank account (and parents!) will thank you. You could even splurge on some of your favorite juice pouches.

Do other things!

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually other things to do before Harvard-Yale besides drinking. There are going to be a bunch of tailgating events where you can get free swag and food. If for nothing else, stay sober so you can be in you greatest capacity for running from one event to another in order to win gold at the free swag olympics. Bonus points if you manage to wear all of your free swag (at once) to the game. It’ll be the new 100-layer challenge.

If all other reasons for being sober fail to be compelling, just remember that you gotta be sober to recognize that cute guy from Yale that you follow on social media. That’s in case you “happen” to run into him. In all seriousness, feel free to be the sober friend. Final verdict is that you can still have fun (and CapriSun) even if your optimal buzz is zero.

Harvard-Yale: Somehow, It Always Gets Weirder

MIT Prank
MIT, in a desperate attempt to feel included, pulled off a weather-balloon scale prank in 1982.

Harvard-Yale szn is back again and we’re already hype for all the game day festivities. If you’re anything like us, you know that watching the weird things that happen around game time is even more fun than the game itself, whether that be the latest Harvard-Yale pranks, the most wild tailgaters, or the best signs in the stands. What better way to prepare for all this inevitable craziness than with a look at some of the weirdest things to happen at past games?

Papier-mâché Bulldog Abuse?

With Yale having won nearly every single match leading up to the 1908 game, the pressure was on for Harvard to finally make a comeback. Legend has it, the football coach at the time strangled a papier-mâché bulldog and drove around Cambridge with it attached to his car to raise morale and get the team ready for The Game. Some even say that he actually strangled a live bulldog, but we’re gonna assume that this one at least is a little too weird to be true.

A 4 a.m. Band Performance

Forget the weekly trek back to your dorm from Pfoho Igloo; in 1962, Harvard took late night entertainment to a new level with a band parade through New Haven – at 4 a.m. Sure the police and locals weren’t too happy (er, seven band members were tossed in jail), but what better way to get ready for a game day win! We can only hope that this night also ended with a midnight snack at some Jefe’s equivalent. After the members made bail, of course.

Taking L’s… Even from the Team Manager

If you’ve seen any CEB poster you already know this game is all about “Payback Time” after a two-year Yale winning streak, but this was not the case in 1952. With Yale ahead by nearly 25 points, they decided to add insult to injury and put in their student team manager to catch a two-point conversion on Harvard’s own turf. Let’s just cross our fingers we don’t get a repeat of that this Saturday.

MIT Joins the Party (...for some reason)

As tensions grew between Harvard and Yale for the 1982 Game, MIT apparently felt left out and decided to join in on the fun. In what they like to call one of their most iconic “hacks” (because of course that’s what MIT would call pranks), halfway through the game a giant weather balloon with “MIT” written on it rose out of the ground and popped, leaving powder all over the field and anyone nearby. With many newspaper articles declaring that they stole the show, and even a press conference proclaiming this the “the greatest college prank of all time,” we’re glad MIT got to feel included.

After seeing some of the weirdest things to happen at past Harvard-Yale games, maybe your moderately-impaired decisions on gameday will seem a little less crazy. Though let’s be real, the consistently weirdest thing about The Game must be the Yale students. Imagine choosing to wear Yale Blue over Harvard Crimson.

Ticketing at Yale Was Worse

With The Game at Fenway, the ticketing process required precise coordination of friends’ schedules and arduous hikes across the river. Like everything else, though, Yale found a way to do it worse. We caught up with one frustrated Yalie for the scoop on how ticketing went for folks in New Haven this year.

Flyby: So, we heard the ticketing process at Yale was a bit difficult?

Michelle J. Fang: Yes! Basically, the tickets were sold at Payne Whitney Gym, which is the large gym here. My friends and I expected for there to be a booth outside the gym where we could line up for the tickets. When we got there, we did find a line out the door, only the booth wasn’t outside the gym. Instead, we had to walk through hallway after hallway after hallway, with a ton of people waiting everywhere. People had started camping out to get tickets starting at 2 a.m., so there were sleeping bags, homework, laptops everywhere...

2 a.m.? Last year we thought going from Cabot to Currier to buy a ticket off someone was a rough time.

Flyby: Wait…When you say that people “camped” out, does that mean that there weren’t enough tickets for everyone?

MJF: There was definitely a fear that we wouldn’t get a ticket. At the end of the day, they didn’t sell out until around 2 to 3 p.m., so it probably wasn’t worth setting up camp at 2 a.m., but they made it seem like being there hours before was necessary. There was literally a Facebook event that was called “Camping Out for Harvard-Yale Tickets.” But I know some people that wanted a ticket and didn’t end up getting one…

Pro tip: ask a Harvard friend to put you on a House mailing list. We hear there are tons of tickets being…given away. Not sold! That’s an Ad Board-able offense, and we are rule-abiding students.

Flyby: Do people have a theory on why there were a limited number of tickets?

MJF: We thought it was because there isn’t enough room [at Fenway]. Some people say Fenway is bigger, some people say it’s smaller...

Smaller? We see why you guys go to Yale...

Flyby: Moving on, was there anything else related to ticketing that was annoying, besides the camping out part?

MJF: At one point, someone sent a very official-looking prank email saying that tickets would be offered in a “flash sale” sort of thing across campus. People went to the location hoping to secure tickets and found paper taped all over the floor. Needless to say, people weren’t too happy.

Ah yes, Yale kids too eager to “flash” — sounds familiar.

So sure, having the Game at Fenway is making our lives a bit more difficult (or a lot more, if you go to Yale). The bright side? Considering Yale’s inferior ticketing process, we may have a chance at winning the Game after all. In comparison, making the trek to the Murr Center all the way across the Charles wasn’t so bad after all.

Get H-Ype About the CEB’s Harvard-Yale Spirit Week

In case you didn’t know, there’s a football game this Saturday against some random school. For real, though, get hype for The Game because It’s Payback Time! Check out the Harvard-Yale spirit week events the College Events Board has planned for us — spoiler, so many chances to win free stuff.

Monday - Baby It’s Chili Outside

HUDS needs your help in choosing its new dhall chili recipe! The tasting will be located in the Science Center Plaza between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. where you can vote on your favorite recipe. You can even submit your own family recipe and oversee its preparation in Annenberg if it’s selected! Don’t miss your chance to pick up your CEB spirit week punch card — which lets you rack up premium swag if you attend multiple events — and see the Dance Team perform.

Tuesday - Embrace Your Inner Scott Rogowsky

Bring that big Harvard brain of yours to Emerson 105 at 7 p.m. and join fellow students in a HQ-style game show for the ages. Top performers from the first round of competition will have a chance to compete on stage, and the grand champion will win both an individual prize and a prize for his or her House! Houses with the highest attendance and best spirit will also receive prizes, including a photo booth for formal, a PlayStation, and a Lizzy’s Ice Cream & Doc Popcorn study break.

Wednesday - Bulldogs or Thanksgiving Turkey? Roast ‘em all!

This event is titled “Bulldog Roast,” and thankfully, the roasting is just verbal. Located in the Smith Campus Center’s Harvard Commons at 7:30 p.m., comedy groups on campus such as On Harvard Time and the Harvard Stand-up Comic Society will be competing for the best verbal beating of Yale. And don’t forget about OEB Professor Andrew Berry’s iconic “Why Harvard is Better than Yale” lecture. As if these events weren’t enough to convince you to attend, there will also be free food!

Thursday - Jump on It

We don’t know about you, but The Game’s got us jumping with excitement. Sign up for a free trip to Sky Zone Trampoline Park and show off those trampoline dodgeball skills of yours. You’ll be notified if you’ve received a spot by lottery — and then you can bounce the night away. Snacks and Harvard-Yale t-shirts will also be provided! Oh, how we love freebies.

Friday - Party Like It’s 1875

Yes, The Game’s been around for that long. In an epic ending to spirit week, the official Harvard-Yale party will be hosted in Annenberg Hall from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. With DJ MATIC repping Harvard and Boola Juice bringing the beats for Yale, it’s bound to be a spirit-filled time. There’s free admission with a valid Harvard or Yale ID, so head over if you like fraternizing with the enemy...

Clear your calendars and join CEB for this fun week of camaraderie, prizes, and spirit. This is your chance to make this Game the best one yet!

What Ec10a Can Teach Us About Harvard-Yale

Economics 10 textbook
Pay attention in class kids, and maybe even do the readings. Indeed, it appears Ec10a does have some real world application.

Ec10a is more than just a way to become a bonafide snake. Surprisingly enough, it can actually be used in the real world, specifically to explain certain phenomena surrounding the upcoming Harvard-Yale game. Who would have thought economics and mediocre football had so much in common?

Everyone’s a snake trying to make a profit

Many students who don’t want to make the trek out to Fenway and are looking to make a quick buck have realized that the world’s easiest money-making venture is to sell your (free!) ticket. Because everyone’s cost of obtaining a ticket is 0, sellers can make a profit at any price, which has led to extreme price undercutting. Basically, once cheap-o Joe offered his ticket for $25, it was all over for the rest of us. However, this wasn’t the end of the ticket-sellers’ woes....

“The Government” can only sometimes improve market outcomes

As it turns out, reselling tickets wasn’t cool with the administration (surprise surprise), which means people who don’t want to go watch football can’t make a profit and students looking to bring a non-Harvard friend along for the fun can’t get a discounted ticket (or even a ticket at all if they didn’t plan over six months in advance). We’re not really sure what admin was hoping to accomplish with this, but it sounds like a deadweight loss to us.

True cost is more than just how much you paid

As any good economist can tell you, the cost of something is the sum of its implicit and explicit costs (no, not rated-R explicit). In the case of The Game, the explicit cost of attendance is 0, because of the free tickets, but the implicit cost of attending is all the studying you won’t do over the weekend plus the mental (and physical?) toll the trip to Fenway will take on you. But because people aren’t just giving away their tickets, there must be a positive profit to attendance, which means the value of getting drunk in public and freezing in the stands must somehow exceed the sum of the costs.

For most people, Harvard Yale is an excuse to day drink and pretend to know something about sports. But watching the Game unfold is almost as good as a lecture from Greg Mankiw himself, so get excited for all the lessons on economics you can learn in the name of a good ol’ rivalry.

Burst the Bubble: Nov. 9 - Nov. 11

With the semester winding up for some and down for others, we’re finally starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanksgiving break right around the corner, but before we’re hit with back-to-back busy weekends of Harvard Yale and family time, hit the streets of Boston for a dance class, a cooking class, or a good old-fashioned scary movie.


The Thing @ Coolidge Corner Theatre

Feeling a little sad that Halloween is over? Wanting to get a little more time out of spooky season before Christmas carols follow you everywhere you go? This Friday, the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Cambridge is hosting a special midnight showing of The Thing on 35mm. Gather your film buff and horror fan friends for some spooky Friday night fun!


Dance Bootcamp @ Swing City

Winter formals are sneaking up on us faster than we realize, and it will be mere weeks before you have a chance to formally re-discover your dance skills (or lack thereof). If you’re looking to impress your friends with some retro moves, look no further than this Saturday’s free “Swing/Charleston Bootcamp.” Head to Swing City in Cambridge from 6:30-8 p.m. for a class designed for absolute beginners. If you’re feeling particularly spiffy by the end, they’re even hosting a real swing dance right after the workshop!


Cooking as a Second Language: Spanish Edition

Like cooking? Like Spanish? Intrigued by HUDS’s attempt at ceviche but think you can do better? This Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., Hostelling International will be providing a free workshop on the history, culture, and preparation of ceviche, a dish made with raw fish. The event will be conducted in Spanish and translated to English, and all are welcome regardless of language/cooking experience. While this class is free, register before going to secure your spot!

We hate to burst your bubble, but Harvard isn’t the entire world. Go forth and burst the Harvard bubble with these Boston events!

Sweet Potatoes Aren't That Bad: A Guide to Clover's Fall Menu

Clover Sandwich
We couldn't resist sampling the Japanese Sweet Potato Sandwich.

With the removal of Harvard Time (rip), many have been forced to accept Clover as a lunchtime staple. But, with all the readings Harvard students already have to do, the expansive menu can feel quite daunting to sift through. Not to fear — we did the heavy lifting for you! Neil, a Clover employee, gave us the inside scoop on his fall favorites, and we verified his suggestions with a taste test of our own.

The Main Course

Recommendation: Japanese Sweet Potato Sandwich. Neil immediately endorsed this sandwich the moment he was asked for his go-to menu item. So expectations were high...

Verdict: You can tell the bread is fresh out of the oven because it is the perfect mix of soft and crunchy. The sweet potatoes inside are smooth and sweet and contrast with the fresh crisp of the lettuce shreds. The sandwich is completed with a shoyu sauce which is to die for. Really, this sandwich is unlike any sandwich you’ve had before. Overall, in the best way possible, this sandwich tastes like a warm hug and is a must-eat as the weather cools down.

The Beverage of Choice

Recommendation: Paw Paw Soda. While Paw Paw may look like a tropical fruit, Neil stressed that it is actually grown right here in Massachusetts. Clover apparently has a “special secret farm” where they source their Paw Paw. Suspicious? Maybe. But we support it.

Verdict: Weird but good. The bubbles and tropical undertones are tangy. The flavor is refreshing and not too sweet. Once you start drinking, it’s hard not to finish the cup. The name is also super cute.

And What We Couldn’t Resist Trying Anyway

Chickpea Fritter Platter: Come hungry. This crispy and flavorful platter is a bit overwhelming but certainly tasty.

Rosemary Fries: Cuffing season who? Fries before guys. This snack is a Clover classic.

Apple Lemonade: Be sure to grab this drink while you can because it usually sells out (and for good reason, the combination of apple and lemon is awesomely sweet and sour).

Clover really does have something for everyone, and it’s conveniently located for science nerds on-the-go. While those among us who can remember the good ol’ days may miss Greenhouse, maybe if we eat at Clover enough, our Board Plus will finally be accepted there…just maybe.

Why I Declared: Humanities Edition

Totally bamboozled about your concentration? Stressed beyond words about the upcoming declaration deadline? We asked Flyby sophomores why they picked their field of study — or the fields of study they're still choosing between. Welcome to Why I Declared 2018.

Classical Languages and Literatures & Linguistics: Carmen S. Enrique

Classics Carmen
Carmen feels right at home among Roman ruins.

I’ve wanted to study both Classics and Linguistics since I was in high school. When you have less popular interests, people always question your motives for going down a “less profitable” or “less useful” path. The simple answer is that I don’t really know why I want to study language; I just enjoy it. The deeper reason is that I love Latin poetry and need to take at least one class about it per semester to stay sane. I realized that this dependency could easily lead to a concentration, so here I am. As for Linguistics, I just find it interesting. The field is so innovative and interdisciplinary, and every part of it is wildly different. At its best, Linguistics is a collection of fun facts; at its worst, it’s a bad trip that leaves you stumbling blindly out of Sever, wondering if words are real. Both of these fields of study are often sold as small departments where you can get individualized attention. While that’s true and it’s great, it’s a shame that Classics and Linguistics have to market themselves that way. Instead, I think of them as two amazing (and prestigious) departments with great courses and brilliant faculty.

History and Literature OR English & Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality: Rocket Claman

Rocket As a Child
Rocket always had her nose in a book.

Hi, my name is Rocket, like a spaceship, affectionately known on Flyby as Rickshaw, and a few days out I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll be declaring as my concentration. I am leaning towards a joint concentration in English and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, but am also considering a joint in History & Literature and WGS. I was drawn to storytelling from a young age, and spent my life in elementary and middle school navigating busy hallways with an armful of binders and my nose stuck in a book. Therefore, I would ideally love to write a political novel as my thesis. With this in mind, I still need to figure out the degree to which a creative thesis is possible in different departments.

I love English, but I’m passionate about social justice issues and active enough politically, that I know that doing just English wouldn’t fulfill my desires — this political drive needs to find its way into my concentration, I’m just not sure how quite yet. Maybe I’ll do a Government or Sociology secondary. Who knows? I do know that I am at my happiest when working on creative projects, and if possible would love to include aspects of that in my course of study. Basically, I’m stressed. And excited! But stressed.

Here's How to View Your Harvard Admissions File

After the high-profile and high-stakes Harvard admissions trial released a slew of well-kept secrets detailing how the College evaluates applicants, the mystery surrounding our admissions files has finally begun to unfurl.

If you're anything like me, you have a lot of questions — questions like, What does my admissions file say? What score did admissions officers give me for my extracurriculars? My personal traits? Do I have "humor and grit," like my mother says I do?

These questions don’t have to go unanswered. Under a federal law known as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, students have the right to schedule an appointment to view their admissions file in person. Harvard doesn’t exactly publicize this process, so I've decided to share my experience to help satisfy your curiosity. Here are the steps I took to view my file.

Note: I accessed my admissions file in December 2017. Inquire about any changes to this process at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar's Office.

1. Fill out the Admissions File Viewing Request Form.

This form can be accessed here. I encourage you to complete this form early as the office can take up to 45 days to schedule your appointment. Keep in mind: if you waived the right to view your recommendation letters when you applied to Harvard, you cannot ask to view them now.

2. Send the file in an email to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar Office.

Attach the file to an email to I recommend stating within the body of the email that you are making a "FERPA access request." You may also ask for access to all documents held by the Harvard University Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, including “without limitation a complete copy of any admissions records kept in my name in any and all university offices, including the Undergraduate Admission Workcard and all associated content (including without limitation the qualitative and quantitative assessments of any 'readers,' demographics data, interview records); any e-mails, notes, memoranda, video, audio, or other documentary material maintained by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.”

3. Come to your appointment with a pen and paper.

Once you get to the admissions office, you'll have 30 minutes max to review your file. There's a possibility the FAS Registrar Office will not permit you to take photographs of your admissions file (though at least one student got away with it). But you will be allowed to take notes on your admissions file.

Curious about the weird numbers and markings you see? Documents unearthed during the lawsuit can tell you what they mean. Check out The Crimson's explainer of the admissions process to learn more.

Some may encourage you to access your file while others may stress not to. Ultimately, the decision and responsibility is up to you. As for me, viewing my admissions file definitely helped quell some of my uncertainty about whether I belonged on campus.

Overall, though, I don't think I learned much.

Why I Declared: Social Sciences Edition

Totally bamboozled about your concentration? Stressed beyond words about the upcoming declaration deadline? We asked Flyby sophomores why they picked their field of study — or the fields of study they're still choosing between. Welcome to Why I Declared 2018.

Economics: Hannah J. Humes

Coming in my freshman year, I was sure I would end up either in engineering or as a pre-med. Everyone in my family is either a doctor or pre-med (weird flex, yes), so there was a lot of pressure to choose a career path in medicine. However, when I took an economics course instead of the standard LS1a, I realized that the math and problems in economics not only made more sense to me, but also were much more intriguing. Taking more courses has only made me more sure of my love for the mathematics of economics (nerdy, I know). Now, I think I want to become an environmental economists and use the theories I learned about in school to create change in the world I see around me. I understand the snake connotations the economics concentration has, and while I may sell my soul to the investment banks, consulting groups, or hedge funds to get that bread for a few years, a job at Goldman is not the reason I chose my concentration. Economic theory captures insights about the world that make sense to me, and learning to develop these models will be the way that I can implement change.

We all understand why Ec concentrators want this beauty on their Instagrams.

Economics: Sahara W. Kirwan

I declared my concentration in Economics 12 days ago, and you know what that means: an artsy post on my Instagram story in front of Littauer Center of Public Administration, home to the Ec Department. Not five minutes had passed before I received several replies to my story, all saying “Snake” or variations of that: “Snek,” just the snake get the idea. But to me, studying Economics isn’t about how much money I might make later on (although I won't complain) — any degree from Harvard will get you to where you want to be financially, as long as you put that degree to good use and work hard.

I chose Economics because I just can’t see myself studying anything else. I’m someone who loves math, but not enough to study just math, and who loves the humanities, but not enough to study just the humanities. Economics is the perfect middle ground for me. I can study the behavior of people and the way firms operate, or how people should behave and how firms should operate in theory, and then apply just the right amount of calculus to make these abstract concepts concrete and real to me. I’m also a Libra, so I’m all about achieving balance and (market) equilibrium.

Government: Lorenzo F. Manuali

At the end of the day, governments control a lot of the big events of the world — good or bad. They create economic prosperity, carry out genocides, uphold human rights, and create international institutions. Yes, most people recognize government as that thing that steals part of their paycheck, but it's obviously far more complex than that. Governments — especially modern ones — affect almost every aspect of our lives. Whether you believe this should be the case or not, understanding how government works is really important for understanding how the world functions. Thus, a Gov concentration also offers me flexibility in my career choice later on, whatever that may be. From markets to foreign policy and culture, Government concentrators can learn about a variety of topics, making it in my view one of the best concentrations.

CGIS might be a bit out of the way, but it's a sleek academic home base for Gov concentrators.
I’ve also loved current events ever since I was a kid. When I was in 5th grade, I drew up a peace plan for the Middle East. While giving a third of Jerusalem to The Vatican may seem weird in hindsight, it certainly was indicative of my enthusiasm for the subject. In high school, I joined the debate team, where I argued with other debaters about events of the day. Despite the weekends spent in the middle of nowhere (and yes, Yale), I loved every minute. While I also love psychology, government is the natural choice for me.

Social Studies: Cindy Li

William James Hall
Yes, it is the best view of the Harvard area.
As I toil away, making barely a dent in Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, why I am concentrating in Social Studies begins to seem more and more like a valid question. Entering Harvard, I knew that I wanted to go into business. Why not concentrate in Economics, you ask? I have one word: Ec10. More importantly, I lack the inclination to be likened to a certain scaly reptile. In all seriousness, I have always been a lover of the social sciences and didn’t want to confine myself to just economics or government or sociology or history. Coming from someone whose favorite ice cream order is “the Sampler,” Social Studies is the concentration for the one who wants it all.

Even though I still have nightmares thinking about the thesis I will one day have to write and am already groaning thinking about all the people I will have to deliver the “No, I am not concentrating in middle school history” speech to, I’m proud and excited to be declaring Social Studies.

Older → ← Newer