What to Look Forward to as a First-Year at Harvard

Category Student Voices


Samia Afrose Class of '25
Authored on January 16, 2024


Congratulations on getting into Harvard! I remember feeling a wave of emotions - excited, nervous, grateful, fearful. It is okay to feel this way as this is a commonly shared experience when transitioning into college. As you prepare for your first year at Harvard, here is a list of some events to look forward to: 

  1. Convocation
Class of 2025 gathering at Widener Steps for class photon at Convocation

Convocation is a formal welcome for the first years as they embark on their journey as a student at Harvard. Students will meet in front of their first-year dorms with the people in their entryway in semi-formal/formal clothing and take pictures. Afterwards, students sit in the hundreds of seats laid out in Harvard Yard and listen to speeches made by the president of Harvard, deans, and other faculty members. Finally, everyone gathers in Widener Steps to take a class photo. There are also identity-specific Convocations including, but not limited to Arab convocation, Black Convocation, and First-Generation, Low-income(FGLI) Convocation.

  1. Crimson Jam
Nick Youre performing at Crimson Jam
Picture Credit: @harvardceb | Instagram

This is one of the Harvard College Welcome Back events where the gates of Harvard Yard are closed off to Harvard ID holders to enjoy a concert! In the past, they have brought artists and bands including the Social House, Nick Youre, and Giveon(virtually due to COVID). As students wait for the performance, there are Harvard student performances, games, and food that students can enjoy.

  1. Harvard-Yale Football Game
Students enjoying the Harvard-Yale Game

Thanksgiving Break is not the only thing to look forward to in November. Following up on the game, the school will host events to get students excited. Harvard has a roasting session and gives out free Harvard gear, the tailgate, and more. The Harvard-Yale game is where you will see students show the most school spirit in their school gear and colors. Every other year the location alternates between Harvard and Yale. the festivities typically begin the day before when the school, as well as student organizations, host fun mixers and events for Harvard and Yale students to get to know each other. Typically, students coordinate with students from the other school to stay the night in their dorm. Afterward, students wake up early in the morning to get ready for the big game. The stadium is filled with students and alumni cheering for their school and roasting the other(jokes of course).

  1. Housing Day
Students from Currier House holding up posters for Housing Day
Photo Credit: Dylan

Housing Day is the big day when students find out what house they will be living in for the next three years at Harvard. The day of, students will wake up early in the morning to meet with their blocking group in the first-year dorm they chose in the housing form and wait nervously for the upperclassman to storm into the dorm, also known as dorm storm. (I got Lowell House, the best house). After, the first-years join everyone else in Harvard Yard to see students in different houses compete on who has the better house. Finally, the houses host various welcome events including a tour, dinner, movie nights, tea time, and more. 

  1. Yardfest
Jeremih performing at Yardfest
Picture Creidt: Dylan

Similar to Crimson Jam, Harvard hosts another concert in the Spring semester. In the past, we have had Jeremih, Swae Lee, and Bazzi. There are performances beforehand, food, and activities for students to enjoy!

  1. Brain Break
Annenberg Dining Hall

Finally, although this is not a particular event, Brain Break is a fun break from studies late at night to meet and bond with other first-years in the Annenberg Dining Hall over various snacks. There are also Enhanced Brain Breaks typically when holidays or big events are coming up. Here is where you will have fun late-night conversations and meet some great friends. 


  • First-Year
  • Residential Life
  • Student Activities
  • Student Life

Samia Afrose Class of '25

Hi! My name is Samia Afrose.