Congratulations, Class of 2022. You did it. After 13 years of brutal education and more hours invested in extracurriculars than sleep, you made it to Harvard. After you take your first steps past the regal arch of Johnston Gate, suitcase bouncing on the bricks behind you, you’ll have three days of Visitas to test Harvard’s waters, explore what this campus has to offer, and decide whether you can see yourself here for four years.
We remember this excitement. We were once in your shoes. The prospect of college independence and no parental supervision is a rush of adrenaline...which is why, as veterans of Visitas, we have some advice to give you. Prefrosh, for your sake and ours, don’t be dumb. Here are some tips on getting through Visitas and preparations for your first year without too many regrets.
Don’t destroy your liver
We get it. A college party is exciting, uncharted territory, and you want to make the most of it. But you do not want your first experience on Harvard’s campus to be marked with a trip to the hospital at Mt. Auburn. Trust us, there will be plenty of opportunities to drink and make bad decisions here, but save that for after you commit and have Harvard’s Amnesty Policy on your side.
Don’t be disruptive
Visitas may be a new and exciting time for you, but remember it’s still (perpetual) midterm season for students here. Explore our beautiful libraries and aesthetic study spots to your heart’s content, but keep the volume and activity levels to a minimum. However Instagram-worthy Harvard’s nooks and crannies may be, it’s still a school, not a museum.
Don’t flex your college acceptances
Yes, you got into Yale. We know you have a laundry list of other schools you’re “considering,” but it’s not worth bragging about unless you want to be branded as the pretentious kid. Use this time as a chance to learn more about Harvard, not as an opportunity to boast about your other acceptances, or—Drew Faust forbid—your SAT score. You’ll come to realize that only one school matters in the end.
Don’t touch John Harvard’s foot
Just don’t do it. You can take a picture with the guy. Just stay away from his foot. You’ll understand later.
Do reach out and talk to current students
While it can be tempting to stay within the #squad you formed within the first two hours of Visitas, don’t be afraid to get to know current students at Harvard! Whether it’s your host, your host’s friends, or upperclassmen you run into, we’re all excited that you’re here. Not only can conversations with current students help you determine whether Harvard is the best fit for you, but those connections will make the transition into freshman year a lot easier.
Visitas is completely what you make of it. You can love it or hate it, but what you take away from the experience is entirely up to you. Save yourself from an ambulance trip, the dirty looks of stressed students, and the permanent branding of the letter “A” (for bragging A-hole), and you just might find your future home here.