Dear prospective prefrosh: we hope you enjoy Visitas, but it’s time we told you the truth…

While Harvard arranged events with rose-colored glasses, the grass truly did seem to get greener for the weekend…and HUDS was slightly better than usual. Let’s talk about some realities of going here that will reveal themselves to you if you choose to drive into the Yard in August.

The Boston Cold

April in Boston may seem cold, but the chill you experienced this weekend is actually known as extremely mild weather. Sometimes in January and February, the stars will align and the weather will even drop to negative numbers (and no, I don’t mean in Celsius).

Remember to buy a winter coat, and brace yourself for five to 30 minute-long walks in the freezing cold weather with ice and snow all around you. You’ll have to brave through these conditions for class because the last time Harvard gave us a snow day was my freshman year (almost three years ago).

The temperature isn’t the only thing that drops during Boston winters. Prepare yourself for a drop in motivation to leave your warm, cozy bed whenever it’s freezing. And I’m so sorry, but when you live in the Yard, chances are your heating situation may not be up to par and you’ll need to have (at least) three blankets on your person.

It’ll be cold, but at least you’ll have a million assignments to keep you distracted!

Harvard University Dining Services

Our HUDS workers are fabulous, but you will never see a shred of fresh fruit or berries in the d-hall once you're an enrolled student here. Strawberries will indicate some kind of campus holiday, or if you’re lucky, you’ll have it during your (upperclassman) House’s community nights. I will never understand why, but once or twice a semester, HUDS chooses to make gourmet meals that leave us day-dreaming of bread, cheese, and fruit every other day. When did berries and bread become such a treat?

Even if you didn’t like fruit before coming to Harvard, you’ll suddenly find yourself at Trader Joe’s buying mangoes and grapes. What happened to your taste buds, you ask? You miss fruit, and you don’t even know it.

It’s more than likely that you will be served chicken entrees every other day, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll rotate between the pasta station and the grill more than you'd like to admit. BUT, at least you’ll learn to appreciate home-cooked meals much more when you go home for breaks.

Club Comps

Remember all those clubs whose events you attended this weekend? Yeah… they will actually email you in the fall. Everything’s great until you realize that instead of handing out cool swag to convince you to join their club, you will now have to convince the club that you are worthy of being dubbed a member of their organization. Thus begins comp season: a typically semester-long process of completing tasks for club membership, Survivor style.

Harvard’s social scene revolves around clubs and extracurricular activities, so they tend to hold many shiny things in front of their compers’ eyes to motivate them to work harder to become a member of their organization. And yes, I might be talking about our many consulting clubs with fancy formals and member gifts such as Apple Watches at the end of every semester.

Comp processes can become just as rigorous as classes and can last weeks, or even a whole semester as you work to earn your place in your organization of choice. Always remember that the opportunities meant to find you will find you. Trust the (comp) process!

Comping organizations can definitely help you meet people and make connections, but it can also become pretty stressful, pretty quickly. However, most people find something that fits, so do not fear that you’ll find your favorite homework procrastination option soon enough, whether it’s the Crimson (we hope), the IOP, PBHA, or breaking into the world of ~business~.


During Visitas, you spend two magical days at Harvard without a pset floating above your head, an essay just waiting to take you out, or a mountain of 200 pages of reading.

Enjoy the feeling of freedom before you’re hit with the prefrosh virtual orientation modules and a million assignments as soon as courses start. The difference between these two things is that one has consequences, while the other at most warrants an annoyed email from your proctor. My advice: prioritize where you must!

This might be the reality of going to Harvard, but let me remind you that this is the reality of going to any other college, just at varying degrees!

So, Class of 2028, I hope this article helps clarify some of the realities of being a college student, but please don’t let this stop you from coming here in the fall. Harvard is a wonderful place, but you also deserve to know what you’re signing up for!