So it’s Welcome Week at Harvard—in other words the long-lasting purgatory before the school year actually begins. To spend this time, I’ve been attending all the social events, ranging from mixers, to trivias, to the awkward parties reminiscent of middle school dances, and to free food (god knows that’s incentive enough to go!).
It’s been an insightful experience to say the least. I’ve met people from all sorts of sub-schools and departments. Getting free microlessons on various liberal arts fields is always certainly amusing. In more seriousness though, it’s great to have a better feel for the trends in research interests within each field. I hadn’t expected so many incoming Physics PhDs to be interested in soft matter for example. I’ve also had a lot of fun trying to explain my own interests to people with absolutely no mathematical background past Precalculus.
The Dudley events (social activities for students in GSAS, the primary school for graduate programs) have been quite fun as well. We just today got to visit Boston and eat a fancy Italian dinner, and continue to complain about weather and the impending doom that is apparently the Boston winter. (Cannolis in Mike’s Pastry are stellar by the way. Yelp wasn’t lying.)
I also met a PhD student in Biostatistics today, for which Harvard’s Biostatistics happens to be its own department separate from Harvard’s Statistics; they even have duplicate course offerings. This alarms me that the two departments are nowhere as collaborative and integral to one another as they ought to be. I assume this is from some nasty bureaucratical split as a result of Harvard’s School of Public Health being distinct from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. How strange, and a bit discomforting.
Anyways, I’m glad to have met other incoming first-years just as excited and nervous as I am. It won’t be long before we’ll all be too busy to attend these sorts of events, so we may as well cherish this week while it lasts.