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5 Things I'm Looking Forward to Sophomore Year

As my summer working with the Harvard First Generation Program comes to a close, I am realizing I’ve spent a lot of time in blog posts, newsletters, and on social media reflecting on my freshman year experiences. Tonight I’ll take the T (subway) to Riverside Station, hop in my dad’s car, and begin the ninety minute drive to spend a few weeks at home before embarking on the next chapter of my college experience: sophomore year! Here are, in no particular order, the five things I am most excited about going into my sophomore year.

1. House Life

While freshmen at Harvard live in dorms in and around Harvard Yard, sophomores, juniors, and seniors live in one of twelve upperclassmen houses. I will be living in Winthrop House, which is one of the nine dorms along the Charles River. The recently renovated house features a beautiful dining hall and library, as well as a rooftop common room, a yoga studio, and an art room with a 3D Printer! I’ll be living with my best friend/freshman roommate and I’ll be working just a few steps away from my dorm in the Winthrop Grille. I’m excited to put my waitressing/cooking experience to good use managing a restaurant and to put on fun events for the people in my house!

Aerial view of Winthrop House

Photo Credit: Courtesy of

Above: Winthrop House

2. Taking Social Studies 10

While I planned on majoring in Social Studies my entire freshman year, Social Studies 10 this fall will be my first class with faculty from the Social Studies Department. Because my high school was relatively small, the only opportunities I had to explore the social sciences were in three history classes and one government class. Social Studies 10 will be a challenging course with a lot of reading, but also a really great opportunity for me to get a foundation in social theory and social sciences that will help me throughout the rest of college.

3. Building My First Set

Something that I really enjoyed in high school but didn’t intend on getting involved with in college was theater. Before coming to Harvard, whatever time outside of school I didn’t spend working was spent working on shows at my high school and in my community. First semester I held to my plan but second semester I ended up stage managing and performing in a show on campus and loved it! I really got along with the people I met in Harvard’s theater community, so when a friend from that show reached out to ask me to be the co-technical director and set builder for a production of “Romeo and Juliet” this fall I said yes immediately!

Ally sprawled out on the ground
Above: I played a small part in the show I helped stage manage, Operation 1600!

4. FGSU Board

I didn’t know what being a first-generation college student meant before I began my college applications. Only when I began visiting campuses and researching the admissions process did I learn that, because my parents did not go to college, I was a first-generation college student. While this was pretty common in my hometown, I soon learned that it’s much less common at Harvard, and so once I got to campus I found myself joining the First-Generation Student Union to meet and build community with students from similar backgrounds as myself. As the group’s new Secretary, I’m excited to meet and support incoming first-gen students as well as help advocate for first-gens on campus!

5. Seeing My Friends & Making More!

This is a pretty simple one: I miss my friends! I spent my freshman year making amazing friends from across the country. While I’ve been spending my summer here in Cambridge, my friends are home working in Louisiana, teaching children in India, and doing all kinds of things around the country and across the world! The first thing I’ll be doing when I’m back on campus this September is setting up lunches so I can catch up with all the lovely people I’ve been missing.


About the author

Hello! My name is Ally Scharmann and I’m a sophomore from Western Massachusetts living in Winthrop House. I plan to concentrate in Social Studies with a secondary in History of Art and Architecture... View full profile

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