What We Wished We Had Done During Visitas
Visitas is definitely one of the busiest and exciting events at Harvard. It’s a chance to meet the wonderful people you will potentially be spending the next four years with and an opportunity to get a glimpse of what life at Harvard is like. In hopes of providing some insight on things you might not want to forget during your stay on campus, we’re equipping you with a few things we wish we had or had done during our Visitas experiences.
Actually Analyzing the Campus
Yes, many people will tell you don’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s simply not true when it comes to college campuses. The weather, the atmosphere, and the vibes are all incredibly important in determining your happiness, especially because you will be attending classes, eating, and sleeping on campus for four years. While walking around the Yard make sure to note the layout of class and dorm buildings as well as the surrounding areas (i.e. Harvard Square) to figure out if the environment is right for you. Also, don’t forget to imagine these things walking through snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.
Actually Talking to People
We had a virtual Visitas, so that really influenced our somewhat shallow interactions with future classmates (cameras off, ALWAYS). Because your Visitas will be in person, make the most of your time here and reach out to people! Don’t feel pressure to meet your best-friend-for-life-til-death-do-you-part, but make an effort to talk to people at the club events you go to or even just getting to know someone better during a meal. And this applies to talking to upperclassmen as well! For the most part, all the upperclassmen you’ll meet, especially those moderating and holding club events, will be super happy to talk to you and give you frank advice.
Actually Asking Questions
Look, we get it. You don’t want to look stupid. You don’t want to ask a question in fear that everyone else will know the answer and you’ll receive some eye roll and a snide comment about pre-frosh. We promise you, no one will really care if you ask a basic question (and if they do, they probably have bigger problems to worry about). You aren’t expected to know everything about Harvard, and the point of Vistas is to learn more about it! If you don’t ask any questions, whether it be about a club or to your host or even to faculty, then it will be harder to get a true sense of what Harvard is actually like.
Not Stressing Out About Extracurriculars
Clubs and extracurriculars will definitely be a huge part of your life at Harvard and are a great segway to meeting new friends. You’re probably eager to search for organizations that suit your interests which is really great, but as you dive deeper and deeper into the sea of the many on-campus clubs, keep in mind that Visitas is not your only opportunity to get information. There will be another large club fair during your orientation period in the fall where you will be able to sign up for extracurriculars. So please, please, please don’t feel like Visitas is the end all be all in terms of finding your niche at Harvard. The point of the Visitas club fair is to give you a taste of what you will have access to for the rest of your undergrad experience. Take the time to explore your interests but don’t feel pressured to find all the clubs you want to be a part of during your short visit.
It’s true, Visitas can be overwhelming and stressful at times, but remember that college is not only about what you can bring to the school but also what the school can provide for you. So, have fun, be adventurous, and we hope to see you soon!