Dear Harvard College Students,
I hope that each of you has enjoyed a restful and restorative break filled with special moments with your friends and family. Stephanie and I were grateful to have all of our kids home with us these past few weeks. We enjoyed playing HQ on our phones, and I mixed up my exercise routine by trying hot yoga. Now that we’re all back on campus, I am looking forward to all the events that spring semester brings, including WinterFest (which starts today!), Housing Day, Visitas, and Yardfest – and I hope you are excited too.
A new semester brings new challenges, and this spring many of you will be exploring new fields of study, joining a lab, writing a senior thesis, or taking on a new leadership role, while at the same time continuing to balance all of your other commitments. I know from my own experience that it can be stressful to work under the pressure of so many competing demands. It’s important to make time in the midst of all our daily responsibilities to take care of ourselves. Last semester, and over break, I sought out ways to deal with my own stress (including blocking out some time to read for pleasure and reminding myself that while I can’t control what happens, I can choose how to react to it). I want to remind you that when you experience stress, you do not have to manage alone. I encourage you to reach out for support when you need it–from your friends, proctors or tutors, resident deans, faculty deans, your coaches or professors, or a member of Counseling and Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
As we begin the new semester, I also want to update you on the new College academic requirements, which were originally scheduled to take effect in Fall 2018. These requirements, which include a four-course General Education requirement, a three-course distribution requirement, and a quantitative facility requirement will now take effect in Fall 2019. We believe the extra year will allow the revitalized Program in General Education to launch with a larger number and broader range of exciting new courses. In the meantime, you will continue to have the flexibility of either graduating under the older General Education requirements or taking courses in the current Program in General Education as you plan to fulfill the new College requirements. You will also continue to have the option to take a broad range of departmental courses to fulfill some of the current General Education requirements. For more information, please see Advice for Students on the Gen Ed website, which offers specific advice for each class.
I want to thank you for all your contributions to Harvard College thus far. Each of you makes this place the unique and thriving community it is, and I feel privileged to be on this journey with you. I look forward to seeing you on campus in the coming weeks.
Danoff Dean of Harvard College