Welcome Home, From Your HoCo Chairs
Welcome, freshmen, to upperclassmen housing (and also to the sophomores who never got a chance to really experience their House — we love you, too). As you make the transition into House life, we’ve got the hot tips and helpful advice to really immerse yourself, from none other than your House Committee (HoCo) Chairs who also happen to write for Flyby. #it’s #a #crossover #episode!
It’s all about the people. — Maranda Ngue ’22, Kirkland House
The library may be cozy and the dining hall may look beautiful, but at the heart of every House lies the people! Regardless of which House you’re in, get to know the tutors, administrators, and upperclassmen. Everyone already in the House will teach you the chant, invite you to HoCo events, motivate-slash-beg you to participate in intramural sports (go K-Force!!!), and shower you with more merch than you know what to do with. The faculty deans happily welcome students with open arms and are eager to meet new faces. The tutors have so much advice to offer about topics that range from medical school applications to work-life balance. Many of them also recently attended Harvard as undergrads, so they know Harvard lingo and life like the back of their hand. Moreover, the upperclassmen pave the way for you. They are willing to help you navigate all the House resources and traditions, such as Kirkland’s Boat Club, which is all about cookies and nothing about boats. And last but definitely not least, the dining hall workers are truly the sweetest people in the world, making you smile at the most stressful times and keeping your belly full every single day. Essentially, meet as many people as you can and you’ll find a new home away from home!
Find your own ~niche~ — Rachel L. Reynolds ’22, Lowell House
When you first hear about “House community,” it can feel like a vague sort of umbrella term – you might not really know what that actually means, or who’s in it, or why everyone’s constantly talking about this or that House’s amazing community. Yet, something I realized once I was actually in the House was that this “vague-ness” was purposeful; your experience of House life really is shaped around whatever you want to make it. If you’re really into arts, nearly every House has some physical arts spaces, arts tutors, or annual artistic events (like Lowell House Opera or Cabot Musical). If your thing is sports (whether you’re a soccer #pro or an inner tube water polo fanatic), you’ll love the excitement around intramurals and easy access to House gyms. For those clamoring for advice and mentorship from actual real adults, you’ll find an incredibly helpful tutor, dean, or another member of the House staff around nearly every corner. Or in the end if you’re really just there for fun socializing, the lovely people in each House’s HoCo could always use some extra help ;) (shameless plug) No matter what House you’re in, there is sure to be a tutor, an event, or an actual physical space for literally anything you need (or they’ll give you the space to create it!) — all you have to do is be willing to explore<3
Get involved (at least a little.) — Kiana Ziadkhanpour ’22, Pforzheimer House
It may just all seem like a lot, especially when you have to introduce yourself with what House you’re in (when you’ve never even stepped foot inside), but truthfully House culture and community can grow to be an integral part of your time at Harvard — or at the very least, a happy addition. Truthfully, I never thought that I would be part of HoCo, let alone a co-chair, but if you buy into House culture a bit, you’ll get so much out of it. So click on that Zoom link and fill in a form — you might get some free food or merch, but you’ll also get a chance to meet new people and make your House feel a bit more like home (sounds cheesy and cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true). Also, the Quad is a lovely place with its own traditions and community! Don’t let people’s negativity frame your existence and happiness with your living situation.
Head first, Fearless — Rocket Claman ’21.5, Leverett House
When I transferred to Leverett House my junior spring, I was worried about finding my home in the largest House community. But I remembered Neal Caffrey saying “people talk to the bartender!” in an episode of White Collar, and I realized joining HoCo (whose members, incidentally, bartend weekly Steins) was the perfect way for me to meet other Leverites. I was welcomed immediately with open arms. And here I am, a year later, as co-chair! Every House on campus has unique charms, quirks, and traditions, but at their core, they aim to help students feel supported (academically and otherwise), make friends, and have fun. There’s a whole team of people who work to make your House experience the best it can be. Tutors, for example, are a key foundation of a House. They function very differently from proctors, and while they can be mentors, they’re also people with whom you can sit down on a whim in the dining hall and have a fun and casual conversation. HoCo exists to realize your visions for House life — you have agency in shaping your experience. While the House community doesn’t need to be the center of your time at Harvard, going to events and meeting people outside of your social, academic, and extracurricular circles can only enrich your experience. At the very least, you’ll get free food! No matter what you’re looking for from your time in your House, upperclassmen, dining hall staff, security guards (shoutout to Mike at Lev), faculty deans, and tutors will be there to help you find it. And, fingers crossed, we’ll see you on campus in the fall. We’re ready to make your first semester in the House exceed your wildest dreams.
So, TLDR; if you’re new to House life, you’re in for a fantastic time! Here’s hoping this fall is full of exploring cool common spaces, gatherings with free food, and a whole lot of House spirit.
MN, RLR, RC, & KZ