“Anything Could Happen at Harvard.” It’s the latest viral video sweeping campus, and it is generating all kinds of buzz among the student body.
Students, feeling everything from disillusionment to unbridled optimism, look to the video as either a serious misportrayal of the Harvard experience or spot-on encapsulation of undergraduate life.
After watching the video, which is Harvard College Admissions and Financial Aid’s latest multimedia creation to inform and educate prospective students of the wonders of the College, I felt a wave of school pride and exuberance. The video so adeptly underscores the reasons why attending Harvard at this moment is so exciting and told such poignant stories of my classmates.
The nearly 17-minute video is broken up into shorter vignettes, highlighting some of the most inviting and accommodating facets of the undergraduate experience: first-year life in the Yard, a strong financial aid program, the upperclassmen houses, and the enriching academic experience. Hearing each individual story—of current students, illustrious alumni such as Nicholas Kristof and Jeremy Lin, and faculty members—gave me a renewed optimism and vitality.
The video brought me back to memories of high school, when I had first fallen in love with Harvard. I soon realized that this institution is better off than it was four years ago when I was applying, and the steps we are taking as a university suggest that things will continue to improve going forward.
But what does this all mean for us right now? While intended for high school students, “Anything Could Happen at Harvard” should prove useful for current students, as well. We should use it to reflect and re-evaluate our time here.
Too often we see students failing to pay attention in class, opting instead for texting or perusing Facebook. We frequently find ourselves too reluctant to leave campus and explore the surrounding area. Too uncomfortable with the notion of trying a new extracurricular pursuit. Too risk averse to take courses outside of our concentration. Too obsessed with maximizing the efficiency of every minute of every day to just take pause and relax.
As I continue on this journey that is senior year, I hope to avoid these common traps. I hope we can all use this moment as a motivating force to capitalize on the limited time we have here at Harvard.
Together, we can create a new ethos of risk taking and adventure, of academic inquisitiveness and bravado, of community building and sincerity. Anything should happen. The tools and resources are at our fingertips. We should take advantage of them, and hopefully give back one day to provide that same access and opportunity to future classes.
We are attending this university at one of the most exciting times in its history. In this issue of the HPR alone, you will find Colin Diersing’s profile of a new group of activists pioneering the nascent divestment campaign (p. 4). Two HPR writers describe their peripatetic summer adventures (p. 29, 36). And finally, we interview President Faust about the capital campaign, new teaching methods, and improving gender dynamics on campus (p. 42). These are just a few of the many things occurring on campus and beyond.
Each of our passions and goals may be different. But we find ourselves united under this one university, which has provided us with so many resources and opportunities. The possibilities are truly limitless. It is now our time to capitalize on them.