Coming Home to Harvard: Kirkland House

Category Student Voices


College student, Rhea
Rhea Class of Alumni
Authored on October 10, 2019


As I was applying to Harvard, I kept wondering what it would be like to be a student at such a historic university. I never imagined that Harvard would become my home. 

As the summer of 2019 came to a close, I couldn’t help but feel a longing to return home. To see my family and friends that I hadn’t spoken to in months. Yet, the home I longed for wasn’t the house I spent my childhood growing up in. The home I longed for was my brick and ivy home away from home - Kirkland House. 

Housing Day at Harvard is the day that first year students learn which upperclassman house they will live in for the next three years. On Housing Day 2017 I found out that my blocking group had been sorted into the smallest upperclassman house on campus - Kirkland House. Besides being located along the river near Eliot and Winthrop Houses, I knew nothing about Kirkland House.

My blocking group sat together on Housing Day 2017 waiting to find out which house we would be in

My blocking group on Housing Day 2017 waiting to find out what house we would be placed in Eli Troen '20

I had no idea that it would become my home away from home. Complete with a family that I loved to bits. The faculty deans of the House Tom and Verena Conley are the loving grandparents that oversee the house. The house administrator, manager, and resident dean are the parents who keep all us rowdy students in line. And you know you can always turn to resident tutors (your aunts and uncles) to provide you with wisdom and sound advice. For the past two years, Kirkland has been a safe haven for me to return to when I need to get away from my crazy packed schedule.

Kirkland Sophomores and resident tutors on the March birthday sports team - Sophomore Outing 2017

Each year Kirkland takes all the Sophomores and resident tutors on an outing. My sophomore year we created a sports team of people who were all born in the month of March. John Thornton Kirkland

While the thoughts of being a senior and writing a thesis have been daunting, there was an underlying excitement as I moved into my suite in my beloved Kirkland House for the very last time. After unpacking my room, I stood in the courtyard observing the faculty deans and resident tutors chatting with old Kirkland students and new one as puppies romped in the grass. A wave of nostalgia washed over me.

I’ve had both good and bad times here at Harvard, yet as I look back over the past three years, I can only be grateful for the opportunity to attend Harvard College and to make Kirkland my home. My experience has been truly transformative. As I approach senior year, I must constantly remind myself that I have just one more year to give Harvard my all before I must move on to a new adventure.

Kirkland House students dressed up for Housing Day 2019

Kirkland House students dressed up for Housing Day 2019 John Thornton Kirkland

My friend Lourdes sitting on my shoulders at the housing day rally 2019

My friend Lourdes and I at the Housing Day rally 2019 representing Kirkland House Lourdes Kaufman '20


  • First-Year
  • Residential Life
  • Student Life

Rhea Class of Alumni

College student, Rhea