Greetings from Cape Kirkland

Category Student Voices


Portrait of Jake
Jake Schwencke Class of '21
Authored on November 06, 2020


Senior year was destined to look differently than we had anticipated. 

The pandemic hit during the peak of junior year, when we seemed to finally have a firm grasp of the campus, our work, and the incredible people within it. I was in the midst of directing a short film, rehearsing for Harvard’s dance/fashion show Eleganza, and making some of the greatest memories with my friends yet. Senior year was about to be the grand finale to four jam-packed, transformative years.

Over the course of the quarantined spring and summer, Harvard announced students’ limited return to campus. With a limited number of students able to return to campus, the weekly Zoom calls with my friends turned frantic. We scoured listings on Airbnb, VRBO, and Zillow, searching for any possibility of simulating a final college experience together. Before long, Cape Kirk became a reality: A six bedroom home just a 10 minute walk from the beach in beautiful Falmouth, Massachusetts. 

Car Dashboard

En Route to Falmouth

We made sure to set up wifi with impressive bandwidth to host up to six zoom classes at once. Since then, we’ve mastered the art of Zoom classes: Finding our favorite Zoom spots, determining if someone is in class or just working on their computer, and mastering the art of muting yourself right before people start laughing in the kitchen. 

Unlike our normal dining hall set up, we’ve taken on a weekly cooking schedule, taking turns as head and sous chef for 6/7 days of the week. I think I’ve discovered a love of cooking. Recently, we’ve gotten fancy -- Taking on meals like chicken parm, risotto, salmon, you name it. 

Our First Trip Grocery Shopping

We’ve also stayed connected with the virtual Harvard community, taking part in zoom events with friends and tutors, Kirkland’s online photo competitions, and tuning into virtual workshops. A few weeks back, we won a photo contest and were sent two packs of L.A. Burdick’s chocolate mice! Crazy good. 

The experience in the house has successfully simulated the best version of the college experience we can get as pandemic seniors, but has also provided us with an experience we couldn’t have gotten in a normal year of college. 

Shadows on the beach

Trip to the Beach!

Our home cooked meals bleed into 3 hour conversations at the dinner table. Our zoom fatigue has been channeled into hours of snacks and chatting in the kitchen. We’ve had countless BBQs, workout sessions, dance parties, late nights, and even experienced this week-long election together.

The Cape has allowed us to slow down and really reflect on ourselves, each other, and college in general, being less distracted by a normally non-stop campus. Although different than we expected, this semester feels like a middle ground between our last year in college and the first year on our own. 


Our Front Yard Fire Pit

It has been a semester unlike any we could have expected, but in a way, one that I think is helping me transition toward life after college, nonetheless. And on top of this, we still have one more semester to go. I look forward to Harvard welcoming seniors back on campus for the spring, because after this experience, we’ll be returning with a new appreciation for it all.

Cape Kirkland Squad

Cape Kirkland!

Jake Schwencke Class of '21

Hey! My name is Jake, and I am a rising senior at the college. I live in Kirkland House, pursuing a joint-concentration in Art, Film, Visual Studies (Film track) and Neuroscience.

Student Profile
Portrait of Jake