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March Madness

Any Harvard student will tell you that within the spring term, the month of March is easily one of the most eventful times of the school year. The weather is finally starting to warm up a bit, seniors are finishing their theses, and the campus is filled with students discussing Housing Day news and spring break plans. For me, all the happenings throughout the month of March are a perfect example of the “work hard, play hard” attitude that many Harvard students possess. While Harvard can be challenging, it is filled with many exciting moments.


Being in the middle of the spring term, March is often when students will be working hard on midterm papers and studying for exams. Harvard does a great job of organizing study breaks across campus to make sure students can take time for themselves and enjoy free food and fun activities. As a member of Student Mental Health Liaisons, I participated in a campus-wide wellness study break in collaboration with several peer counseling groups on campus featuring pizza and burritos from popular restaurants in Harvard Square.

When it’s time to buckle down and get work done, you’ll usually find me working in my house’s dining hall or in one of Harvard’s many libraries. At the moment, I’m working on a midterm group project for one of my favorite classes this semester, Global Health and Health Policy 70: Global Response to Disasters and Refugee Crises. For this assignment, we were tasked with interviewing a former refugee to assess the effectiveness of humanitarian and aid groups on this individual’s wellbeing to better understand what migration and resettlement looks like for many refugee families. I’ve really enjoyed this project-style midterm since it’s been highly personal and engaging while still requiring us to develop a strong understanding of the strengths and limitations of humanitarian aid when responding to crises.

Housing Day

In a nutshell, Housing Day, one of our “Harvard holidays” is the day when freshmen discover which upperclassman house they will be living in for the next three years. Current students in each of the twelve upperclassman houses go all-out to show their house pride and welcome the new members of their communities by “storming” into their dorms and delivering their welcoming letter early that morning.

Housing Day 2017
Above: Housing Day 2017

Housing Day is also the only time of the year when I look forward to waking up before 6am. Being a proud member of Eliot House, I was up bright and early in full Eliot gear. This housing day, Eliot house distributed newly designed house shirts, blue vuvuzelas (resembling the trunk of our elephant mascot), and bandanas to new and current Eliot residents.  My roommate, a senior member of the Eliot housing committee, was selected as a letter carrier to lead a pack of Eliotites to the yard and deliver the good news to anxious freshmen. The day ends with freshmen receiving free house swag and a welcoming dinner in their new home.

For both freshmen and upperclassmen alike, Housing Day is a great way to end the week before the beginning of spring break.

Spring Break

Harvard students come up with a variety of ways to spend their Spring Break. While some students make vacation plans to places like Cancún, Amsterdam, and Dubai, others use this time to volunteer with groups like Habitat for Humanity or the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. Many students decide to stay on campus for break, and for low-income students who qualify, a stipend is provided to cover the costs of meals while dining halls are closed. Many students who stay on campus for break will use this free time to explore Boston or take a day trip to nearby spots like Provincetown or Salem. Missing my family, I decided to enjoy a restful week back home in sunny Florida.

Whatever house you get into or whatever your spring break plans may be, the month of March is easily one of the most exciting times to be a Harvard student.

About the author

Hello there! My name is Alvin Gordian-Arroyo and I am a senior studying Human Evolutionary Biology. I am also pursuing both the pre-med track and a secondary concentration in Global Health and... View full profile

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