How To: Make Friends (And Foes) During Virtual Visitas
Congratulations on getting into Harvard! Now that you’re in, you’re probably going to Visitas, which is our version of admitted students weekend that’s taking place on (where else?) Zoom this year. During Visitas, you’ll hear from several important grown-ups about the ~transformative experience~ that awaits, but you’ll also have the chance to interact with classmates for the first time! Read on for a few helpful tips on how to make friends (or perhaps foes) during Virtual Visitas.
Friend: Participate in icebreaker activities.
Sure, the game may be cheesier than a One Direction song from 2012, but it may help you loosen up and stimulate those handy endorphins! From Charades to Two Truths and A Lie, be a good sport and bond with the faces on your screen, who may be the people you’ll spend the next four years of your life with. By the end of the activity, maybe you’ll even gain a buddy or two! Just make sure to actually note their names and grab their contacts…
Foe: Make it clear that you’re already so over it, because you totally played this childish game when you attended that elite summer program two years ago.
Remember that you only get one chance to make a good first impression! Visitas is an opportunity for you to meet completely new people from all over the world, so leave that judgy look behind and go along with the activity, no matter how excruciating the Zoom world can be.
Friend: Pay attention to other people’s introductions and stories.
Whether someone is telling a funny anecdote about how they got a scar on their arm or they’re spilling their heart out about their lifelong hobby, lend an ear to your new classmate. Each person at Harvard was accepted because they have their own special something to bring to the table, and it’s up to you to be receptive to learning from them. Your peers are some of the coolest people you’ll ever get to speak with, so why not start now?
Foe: Brag incessantly about the nonprofit you started and the awards you received and the perfect standardized test scores you attained and the celebrities you met and the number of Ivy Leagues you got into and...
Yeah… we stopped listening already. Think twice before you flaunt your accomplishments, because people would rather be friends with someone with a big heart than a big resume. Take pride in what brings you joy, but know the difference between “chatting about your interests” and “unloading every award you’ve ever won.”
Friend: Be real about your emotions.
Many of you are probably “nervous but also excited!” and you should own that feeling! Don’t be pressured to downplay anything just because you fear that you’ll seem too eager or not strong enough. Authenticity is key to long-lasting friendships.
Foe: Act like uprooting your entire life to live in an arbitrary city in Massachusetts hundreds of miles away from your family is the breeziest of breezes, and anyone who doesn’t agree is so below you.
Of course, there are many amazing things to look forward to in college, like the new friends and the (potential?) parties, but the transition poses unique challenges for everyone. Remember that everyone experiences this transition differently, so try to understand these different perspectives and be a supportive friend!
Especially on a Zoom screen, the best thing you can offer is a sincere smile. You’ll give off major #goodvibes.
Foe: Glare at the person who’s threatening your place in the spotlight.
You may have been your small town’s star student your entire life, but one of the most important lessons to learn in life is that it’s nice to let others shine too. How would you feel if someone rolled their eyes or snickered whenever you were talking? Do your best to show some enthusiasm, even if you are in the same childhood bedroom that you’ve been Zooming from for a while now.
Friend: Add someone to a group chat they didn’t know about.
Whether it’s a cultural affinity email listserv or a class-wide Facebook page, share the love and help others join new communities within Harvard. These group chats are a primary way to get to know (read: lurk on) your peers before the fall semester begins, and who knows – maybe someone will do the same for you too!
Foe: Follow someone on Instagram, accept their follow-back request, and then immediately unfollow them.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. You’re definitely not developing any new friendships from trying to increase your social media presence at the expense of others.
Visitas is the first opportunity you have to meet your peers, so try to make a good first impression — but also keep in mind that Zoom Visitas isn’t going to make or break your college experience. As long as you put yourself out there and treat everyone with kindness, you’ll do just fine!