Our Last Harvard Confessions

What did we take away from Harvard?

#2016. We MADE it! We’re at Harvard, baby, and we have perfect 20/20 vision. We’ve got goals on goals on goals. This place is going to be ours. All that hard work has finally paid off, and the next four years are going to be fantastic.

Opening days has prepared us for everything. Do you think we should comp this club? Wait, really? Is that what you heard from that cultural group? Oh, we don’t know, then. Even still, we might as well give it a try. Who knows? Things could be different! We’re going to take all these big intro classes this semester: computer science, economics, life sciences, government. (It’s okay if no one we know has done this before — and it would be nice if we had help — but we’re sure it’ll be okay.) It’s all green here, you know? Ripe for the picking. Our picking. This place is going to be ours.

#2017. Things start off confusing. Somehow, half of our friends from freshman year are now in the Quad, and they’ve disappeared from our lives entirely. The distance is less than a mile, but it doesn’t seem worth the walk all the way over there for a meal we’ll never get around to scheduling. Besides, there’s more pressing issues: How are we supposed to have already decided what we want to study for the rest of our time here? We’ve just gotten here! Somehow in the span of two weeks, we’ve changed our concentrations (and our life goals) three times. Do we want to go to law school? No, consulting seems really cool… Actually, never mind. Law school it is. Harvard Law School or bust! Or is Yale better? (Can’t believe we’re actually asking this.)

We’re beginning to get leadership positions in some clubs, and let us tell you, people in these groups get serious about it. Three meetings a week, lots of arguments, lots of writing, homework, the occasional social and red Solo cup here and there. It’s tough to balance, and we’re not sure how much of ourselves to give these groups. But the people are nice and the work is meaningful, so we’re happy for now. \

#2018. Did you do the readings for that class? Oh cool, so we were all just faking it, then. That makes us feel a bit better. What did you say about our blockmates? Oh, they’re great! We get together at night and play Smash for hours, then go to El Jefe’s at 3 a.m. Okay, not every night. Like weekends. By that I mean every other weekend. Sure, we guess you can say we get a little lonely sometimes, but it’s really not that serious (we think). We didn’t get that summer internship, either. Ah, no it’s okay, we’re fine. We really wanted to take time for ourselves anyway, and figure it all out. But first, Jefe’s. We’ll have time to solve the career thing later, we promise.


#2019. Things aren’t the same as they used to be before. Every semester is always the hardest, but it seems like this year is just so much more work than ever before. We still really like Harvard, but it just seems as if the world has exploded. Everyone seems so angry, depressed, upset, and disillusioned (and with good reason!) But we’re not sure what to make of all of it, and if we really belong here. This school promises to take care of us and make sure we’re safe, tells us the bad things at this school won’t happen to us too, but it does. And the wait lines for getting help are really long, and even if we go, no one looks like us or believes our story, so it doesn’t feel like they’ll help anyway. Maybe it’s best to just ignore it for now. Then again, we’re starting to notice that lots of our friends are ignoring it too. They’re taking time off, skipping classes, dealing with their own issues and concerns, retreating into their own worlds. The scariest part is, no one’s really talking about any of it. Why are we so afraid of talking to each other?

#2020. Overall, in the grand scheme of things, not much has changed. We’re older, grayer, bruised, tired to the bone (and dare we say perhaps even a bit wiser). We gave all of ourselves to this place — to our academics, our clubs, our institutions. Not sure if it was worth it. Sometimes it felt like no one was listening, that it was all in vain, that we shouted into the void and it turned around and ignored us and our contributions. Maybe we should’ve listened to that group a while back, and not have joined that extracurricular, or taken that class, because it wouldn’t have given us as much as we gave it. But we need to change course — we’re almost about to graduate. And it seems we can’t even spell the word job right now — or fellowships, or grad school, or the future. And it’s frightening, but there’s some promise in that.

What have we learned in the last seven semesters? Life goes on. This is both comforting and terrifying, but there is hope. Even in the darkest, most isolating moments we’ve experienced, when everything is stressful and earth-shattering, it all eventually comes to pass. Let’s just hope that remains true, and that we can hold fast to our friends here, after we’ve lived and grown so much together. But for now, we’ll savor these last few moments and will sign off — until the next confession.

Jessenia N. Class ’20, a Crimson Editorial Chair, is a Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology concentrator in Quincy House. Robert Miranda ’20, a Crimson Editorial Chair, is an English concentrator in Pforzheimer House. Their column appears on alternate Thursdays.