Why I Declared: 2023 Edition

By Nayeli Cardozo

Happy Concentration Declaration Day! Our dear sophomores, whether it was hard or easy for you to pick your field of specialty, just know that you did it and you made the right choice, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. And if you’re wondering what comes next, check out our advice column on concentration declaration. Here at Flyby, our lovely sophomore writers have declared a wide variety of concentrations across all areas. We’re so proud to present “Why I Declared: 2023 Edition!”

Kat A. Ravichandran ’25 – Computer Science & Statistics… and a Secondary?

I declared a joint in Computer Science and Statistics because all I want to be in life is the person in the Disney movie saying, “I’m hacking into the mainframe!” as they click-clack away at the computer. I am yet to learn how to hack into said mainframe, but I do love data science: predicting future outcomes through quantitative modeling or justifying spending egregious amounts of money because of a pretty graph. Maybe my secondary will be an application of said data science, like Economics or Environmental Science; maybe it will be a break from my psets, like Philosophy or History of Art and Architecture; or maybe, just maybe, it will be the friends I made along the way.

Sneha M. Yelamanchili ’25 — Chemical & Physical Biology and Anthropology

Back in freshman spring, I used to preface any mention of my concentration plans with a confession that my concentration changes once a month. While that’s a slight exaggeration, I did change my concentration (in my heart, not on my.harvard, because I never trusted my decisions that much) at least four times in the year after I committed, switching from Molecular & Cellular Biology to Physics to MCB plus Physics to Applied Math to Applied Math plus Anthropology. AM plus Anthro reigned for the entirety of the past summer, right up until I got back on campus and actually had to take a math class. Even after Stat 110 forced me to confront that math homework does not spark joy for me, I knew I was still interested in Anthropology — despite still not really knowing what exactly it is — but wanted something STEM-related to balance it. That desire drew me to CPB, a concentration that based on my earlier preoccupation with Physics and prior MCB concentrator dreams, I really should have explored sooner. I am now happily walking the line between the natural and social sciences, although at some point I will have to realize that I’m much better at finishing psets than at writing essays. But that is a truth I will confront when it’s reading period and I have to write 20-page papers while studying for four exams… Oops?

Laasya N. Chiduruppa ’25 — History & Sociology… (and Government)

My History declaration, if I am being completely transparent, began with John Green’s “Crash Course World History” lulling me to sleep at the end of every painstaking middle school day. The gossip in me thrives on throwing shade on past actors and intellectual movements. Now, I can sneak into the marbled halls of Robinson and look like I belong. Sociology was my dark horse: while yes, William James may be the ugliest building in creation, the study of human interaction is something my people-watching, melancholic self does on the regular anyway. We don’t need to talk about Government…

Megan Y. Huo ’25 – Economics

I declared Econ because there’s like 500 other people who also did Littauer is fancy and I feel important every time I’m there. With that being 95 percent of the reason for my concentration choice, I am also intrigued by how Economics probes into the seemingly subtle ways through which different quantitative processes shape our world. Now, I can proudly say that I am a member of one of the largest academic communities at Harvard that’s characterized by a cohort of passionate, engaged, and vocal concentrators who never fail to make the whole school aware of our opinion on last week’s Ec 1010A pset (which we believe is a complementary good of Sidechat).

Arezoo Ghazagh ’25 – Neuroscience MBB and Statistics

I declared Neuro because come on, who wouldn’t love to learn more about that kinda-sorta important organ at the tip top of their head? We literally just think about doing things… and then they happen??? I can’t possibly just leave the explanation at that! In all seriousness, though, growing up with an autistic twin sister caused younger me to have many questions about the brain and its influences on our behaviors. Now, lucky enough for my younger self, older (and pre-med) me has the opportunity through Neuro to explore this fascination further and maybe work towards answering those life long questions! Or, maybe it’ll just offer the opportunity to spend even more time in office hours and rewatching lectures — we’ll see! Stats is just the cherry on top — it might be beneficial to learn how to actually draw conclusions (in real life or from data) instead of just jumping to them!

J.J. Moore ’25 — Arts, Film, and Visual Studies (AFVS)

Growing up, my dad would sit me in front of a TV screen and put on his favorite classics. If I’m honest, every movie he put on helped me escape reality. I love to imagine little stories in my mind and listen in on people’s conversations (if anything, making films is about listening in on people). After nearly 19 years of nonstop film watching, I have yet to get bored — it’s hard to! There’s always so much out there to see, to analyze, to experience. Anyway, I declared myself a film student because I want to go out, experience the world, and share it with everyone else. And as said in the “Blair Witch Project,” “We’re gonna die out here—” oh wait that’s not the right line… Sorry, they said: “I’d rather stand here and record.” I couldn’t agree more — I love a good story and I want to wow audiences on the other side.

Maya R. Ganesh ’25 – Economics

Being 100 percent real here, the guy I liked freshman year was in Econ so I signed up for Ec 10a. But Maya, you may say, didn’t he wear Patagonia vests unironically and text you exclusively about stocks? Yes, yes he did. Now, he’s an Applied Math concentrator, and I’m fully committed to the Econ life — I joined the finance clubs, watched “The Wolf of Wall Street,” dabbled in day trading, the whole nine yards. All jokes aside — Economics is a great framework for how to view almost every type of situation in the world. My other interests, be it music or government or lacrosse, all have an economic angle to it, and I love that I can explore everything at once. Even though I catch myself reaching for a quarter-zip to wear, I wouldn’t trade the Econ life for anything!

Jessie Wang ’25 - Economics(-ish)

I declared Economics because, just like this, it’s a filler. If we’re being honest, I haven’t actually declared yet, but I’m just saying I declared to get people off my back. Given the Ec 1010a exam last week, I don’t know if I can even keep it as a filler anymore. I think I’ll redeclare by the time this piece is published or by the time I get my grade back (whichever comes first) — gotta keep my advisers on their toes!

If you’re an anxious sophomore reading this, second-guessing your concentration, remember: it’s not that deep, you can still take whatever classes interest you, and the numbers have shown that at least half of the student body changes their concentration at least once. Repeat after me: you will be fine.

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