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A Senior Reflects, One Last Time

This is the last time I will be writing a blog for the Harvard First Generation Program. I joined this incredible program in the fall of my sophomore year, after having spent a summer with the Harvard College Connection. As a first-generation student and immigrant myself, the words “college graduate,” let alone Harvard graduate, remained dim in my reality. No one in my family had done it. Though the list of potential colleges was endless, I lacked resources and the knowledge to apply, and frankly the confidence to do so. With the support of family, friends, and teachers, I made it.

The last four years have been a journey. A beautifully chaotic and meaningful journey. I’ve discovered passions, changed my mind a million times, and met the most brilliant and kind beings. All here, at Harvard.

Above: Freshman move-in day.

Freshman. Moving into college, a “new home,” was frightening and exciting. I remember all the ‘firsts’ quite vividly–the first time I took a challenging course and received a grade I didn’t expect. The first time I had to adjust to a new environment and new people. But the first year also had a lot of beauty and discovery. Such as meeting my roommates, the first meal in Annenberg and stroll through Harvard Yard. The first few friends I made and kept and the first sight of snow against the dreamy lights of Memorial Church. Year 1 was one of challenges, learning, adjustments, and a lot of growth–through the good and bad.

Above: Excited rising sophomores.

Sophomore. I left the comfort of freshman year advising and housing, and perks, to enter a new chapter of the Harvard story. House life. Lowell House, with its welcoming courtyard and chiming bell tower, became my home for the next three years. My friends and I rarely ventured out–the dark wood-paneled library was our nighttime getaway, our quaint little rooms were tranquil covers, the trees and changing leaves were the calm welcome after a long day, and the dining hall (affectionately called “dhall”) was where we we ate, laughed, cried happy tears, and studied a lot. That was the place to be on any given weeknight. And that was the place where physical nourishment met relational and emotional nourishment through so many friends.

Junior. My thoughts moved to one thing–the internship search. Though I worried about what summer plans, my year wasn’t just about that. It was a year of being truthful about what I wanted to do. Harvard allowed me the opportunity to explore concentrations, organizations, career paths, and interests. Harvard even provided for me as I bobbed about different dreams, with summer stipends and incredible support. Year 3 wasn’t easy, but it opened the door to many wonderful  “what if’s.”

Above: Just some of the best.

Senior. I’m two months out from graduation. The final meal, stroll through Harvard Yard, and conversations in the dhall. I’m not sure I’ve grasped the fullness of what this means. No more move-in days and carrying heavy boxes up to a new dorm room. No more reunions after summers that are seemingly too long. When I look back at my Harvard experience, I’m thankful for the learning and knowledge I was exposed to. But I am most thankful for the people–the house tutors and deans, dining hall workers, custodians, professors, new faces from many dhall nights, teaching fellows, and my dearest friends and cheerleaders.

You made the past four years the best years yet.


About the author

Hi! My name is Gaby and I am senior in Lowell House, concentrating in Government with a secondary in Psychology. I’m originally from Brazil, but have spent most of my life in Florida and... View full profile

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