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Study Breaks

“How do you handle the competition with other students?”

Well, I consider the greatest competition with other students being who can spend their Crimson Cash in the best way after forgetting about it until the last week of freshman year.

I recognized before even stepping onto campus that I didn’t want to compete with my peers and I was happy to find out that neither did most of my classmates. I think of Harvard as cooperative, not competitive.  I can always reach out to my friends for help and they explain things to me in ways I understand since they know me really well. One of my favorite things about college is living and working with my friends. Even when we’re cramming the night before a midterm, we don’t let each other get too stressed out and always make sure to take study breaks.


Our train of braiding each other's hair makes for a great break from working on our written responses for class.
Above: Our train of braiding each other’s hair makes for a great break from working on our written responses for class.

I met a lot of my friends when we started working together on math problem sets. There’s something about taking study breaks to grab hot chocolate after every practice exam we worked on together that solidified our friendships. It also comes in handy having friends to rely on for pep talks during midterms week or long problem sets.


As you can tell, my friends and I really value food and find ways to incorporate it into relaxing study breaks as often as possible.
Above: As you can tell, my friends and I really value food and find ways to incorporate it into relaxing study breaks as often as possible.

As a sophomore, I see my friends around even more. In my global health class, I was excited to see so many friends. I catch the morning shuttle to class with my friends and our schedules line up so I usually grab lunch with a few of them, too. Since most of us live within two minutes of one another, it’s easy to find a common room or table in the dining hall to take over at 9 pm for studying.


I love studying with friends in my dining hall, especially since there's usually snacks left out for us.
Above: I love studying with friends in my dining hall, especially since there’s usually snacks left out for us.

Of course, we do plenty more besides homework. While Harvard students definitely know the importance of learning and getting our work done, we also know that it’s important to enjoy yourself and have fun with friends. That’s why my study group has our ritual of ordering pizza and taking video game breaks or running to the dining hall to grab food.


My friends and I take breaks to play Super Smash Bros. when we start getting stressed or tired of studying.
Above: My friends and I take breaks to play Super Smash Bros. when we start getting stressed or tired of studying.

Coming into Harvard, I worried about struggling in classes and finding people to work with. One of the first things I learned at Harvard was how much I enjoyed working with friends and how easy it was to reach out for help. While I might complain about my classes from time to time, I have them to thank for meeting such great friends.

About the author

Hello! My name is Hunter and I’m proud to call myself a first generation college student here at Harvard! I’m a sophomore in Pforzheimer House studying Biomedical Engineering and writing for... View full profile

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