As we waited on the fifth floor of Canaday, peering out the window, my blockmates and I jumped every time a group of upperclassmen got near the dorm.
It was Housing Day, the Hogwarts fairytale day that every first-year student waits for with nervous anticipation and excitement. This was the day when we all would learn which house we would be living in for our remaining time at Harvard, and we all couldn’t wait to find out which one it would be. Some of us were hoping for a River House, coming with scenic views of the Charles and proximity to all the Square. Others kept their fingers crossed for quad housing, excited for the close-knit community and the cozy, homey vibe that comes with distance from the Yard. Still, others were unbiased either way. However, regardless of this, one thing was certain - we couldn’t wait another second longer.
Finally, we heard a group stomping up the stairs, and the ruckus getting closer and closer to us. Pouring into the room, they all shout, “T-H-R-O-P! You just won the lottery!” We were all in shock - we stood there in disbelief, so quiet that they thought we were crazy. “Did you hear what we said?” they asked, looking at us in confusion as we stood in utter silence. Of course, we heard what they had said, but it wasn’t until they left the room that it finally hit us - we would be living in Winthrop House for the next three years! Screaming and laughing for joy, we all jumped around in the small Canaday single, giving each other hugs and celebrating this moment.
For me specifically, Winthrop had been the house I had helped clean during my time in Fall Clean Up. FCU is one of the many pre-orientation programs for first-year students to get accustomed to life on campus as well as meet some of their peers. After spending so much time in this house during my first week on campus, coming full circle to now living in this same house with some of the people I had met during that time was a surreal feeling.
The rest of that day was a blur. After classes finished, we went to Winthrop, where we hung out in the courtyard facing the river. After having our first meal ever in the house’s dining hall, we went on a tour of the house. From the Rooftop Commons that offer a view of all of Cambridge to the serene Winthrop Library, I was shocked by the many things this house had to offer. Finishing off the day by attending the Stein, which is essentially a study break hosted by the Winthrop Housing Committee, I was even more excited to become a part of this community.
Now, as the COVID pandemic continues and students remain virtual, we are celebrating Housing Day virtually for the second year in a row. As upperclassmen such as myself get ready and excited to welcome new students into the house community, I also reflect more and more on what it means to be a member of this House. During this past year, virtual events hosted by the House, such as debate watch parties and a Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting, have allowed me to spend time with and get to know fellow Winthropians. In addition to the wider community, my blockmates have become some of my closest friends, which is crazy to think about considering the fact that some of them met each other the day we submitted the housing form. Today, Winthrop has become like a second home to me, and I can’t imagine myself being a part of any other community, especially during a virtual academic year.
At the end of the day, all of this has shown me that it truly is the people in the house (including yourself!) who make that house and its community. No matter which house you may end up in, the people you live with will become the part of this experience that will stay with you no matter what. So good luck to everyone on this upcoming Housing Day! And may the Sorting odds be ever in your favor.