Quid Pro Quad

Why the grass is greener up Garden Street

A Thropshire Lad
Ariana Kam

I never thought the sight of a fish would make me cry.

But on Housing Day 2013, when a red-and-yellow cod burst into my room along with a throng of cheering students, I nearly burst into tears.


“C-A-B-O-T,” they yelled with as much cheer as I felt despair. “Welcome to the family!”

I told my river-bound friends later that I knew quadding happened, but I didn’t think it would happen to me. My imagined Harvard, after all, featured the waters of the Charles glimmering just outside the gate as I relaxed in a sunny courtyard. The Quad existed for the purpose of awkward Visitas and Freshman Week SOCH gatherings only. Watching people desperately sprint to catch the shuttle in the cold of winter provided circus-like amusement. To me, the Quad was foreign and strange. It did not fit into what I considered my Harvard, and I had not anticipated making any adjustments.

And yet adjust I did. In fact, if the Housing Gods descended from the heavens today and offered me a spot in Eliot or Lowell—and I desperately longed to Get Lowell a year ago—I would turn it down in an instant. I count myself one of the Quad’s most ardent admirers, and that’s not just because I have spent hours and hours rationalizing to make myself feel better about my misfortune.

Perhaps it’s a waste of time, a rehashing of stale arguments, to point out the Quad’s superior room quality. I intend to do it anyway. Where Winthrop houses more cockroaches than co-eds and makes up for a lack of natural light with floor lamps whose cement bases threaten to disintegrate at any moment, Pforzheimer teems with sunny, spacious singles. Order them on a hallway or off a cozy common room—your pick.

There’s more to the Quad’s preeminence, though, than just the material.


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