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100 Things to Do Before Leaving Harvard

To better understand the collective “Harvard college experience,” we asked a cross section of undergraduates and alumni to list things one should do—or should have done—before that final senior procession into the Yard. Their answers ranged from a sneak peek inside the Porcellian to a romantic starlit picnic in the Stadium, from a daring foray into physics to illicit after-hours grilled-cheese sandwich escapades in the dining hall or a cozy dinner with friends at your House. The commonalities may surprise you. It seems that however paths diverge upon graduation, the experiences framed in Cambridge remain eerily similar from generation to generation. Take a look at the list and tell us what’s missing.

Illustrations by Lynne Foy

 

• Finagle your way into the Lampoon building

• Attend the office hours of a professor you find intimidating, or ask him or her to dinner

• Visit “the vault” at Herrell’s Ice Cream

100 Things to Do Before Leaving Harvard• Tell a tourist the three lies about the John Harvard statue

• Climb on the giant rhinos at the Bio Labs

• Spend dawn on or along the Charles

• Sample the goodies at Mike’s Pastry in the North End

• Plan a tryst in the Widener stacks

• Write a thesis

• Take a class in Sanders Theatre

• Eat outdoors at Upstairs at the Pudding (before it moves)

• Play the bells at Lowell House

• Go to New York City if you’ve never been before

• Sleep so late you miss a section, and lunch illustration of picknicking students near the stadium

• Dawdle over a fudge sundae at Billings and Stover

• Tour the House of the Seven Gables in Salem

• Get to know a graduate student in your field of interest

• Reward yourself: visit the Arnold Arboretum

• See the Gutenberg Bible in the Widener Room

• Attend a Kuumba concert

• Take a class with fewer than five people

• Get into Annenberg Hall after freshman year

• Take a Crimson Key tour and ask unanswerable questions

• Nap under a tree in Radcliffe Yard

• Explore Widener Library, from level D to the sixth floor

• Eat a $3 lunch at the Chinese food truck by the Science Center

• Shop a class you’d never think to take (you might be surprised)

• Skinny dip at the MAC

• Take a “gut”

• Down a Scorpion Bowl at the Hong Kong

• Work as a research assistant

• Cook dinner with friends in your House kitchen illustration of 'Make Way for Ducklings' statues

• Stop by during President Rudenstine’s office hours (soon!)

• Hear a free midday Flentrop organ concert at Busch Hall on spring Thursdays

• Try out the movable stacks in Pusey Library

• Relive your youth: dress like a Goth and hang out in the “Pit” at the Harvard Square T stop

• Get out of the Square

• See the dunes on the Cape, the mountains up north, and the rocky shores of Maine

• Buy a cheap plane ticket and go to Europe (even if only for a week)

• Attempt to sneak into the Porcellian

• Have your picture taken with the Make Way for Ducklings statues on Boston Common

• Take: Gen Ed 105, Social Analysis 10, a drama or poetry class, “Justice,” and “Sex”

• Tango by moonlight on the Weeks Bridge

• Have a burger and lime rickey at Bartley’s Burger Cottage

• Run naked across the Quad during Primal Scream

• Relive American history at Plimoth Plantation and in Lexington and Concord

• Study Welsh

• Go to a telescopic viewing night at the Harvard Observatory

• Read a book for pure pleasure

• Sneak into the dining hall to make grilled-cheese sandwiches

• Attend morning prayers

• Attend a political event at the ARCO Forum

• Go to Tommy’s Pizza at 2 a.m.

• Look at first editions of your favorite classic works at Houghton Library or see the only book known to have been John Harvard’s

• Drink extra-rich hot chocolate at Burdick’s

• Meet a dignitary

• Take a nighttime stroll to smell the lilacs along the streets around the Radcliffe Quad

• Get a free massage at University Health Services

• Forget yourself and dance with abandon to ABBA at a party

• Ice skate on Frog Pond at Boston Common

• Sunbathe in the Yard

• Study abroad

• Go to the IHOP at 2 a.m. after clubbing on Lansdowne Street

• Collect free toys at a recruitment fair (and find a job!)

• Visit “Harvard Hill” at Mount Auburn Cemetery

• Navigate Filene’s Basement during the lunch-hour rush

• Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

• Help tourists—photograph them in front of the John Harvard statue

• Walk the Freedom Trail

• Spend an hour reading foreign newspapers at Out of Town News

• Win a free meal at Vinny Testa’s

• Play in the Tanner Fountain next to the Science Center illutration of student streaking

• Bike the circuit along the Charles River from the Larz Anderson Bridge to Watertown Square

• Go to one black-tie function (don’t forget Keezer’s)

• Pull an all-nighter

• Grab the MBTA at 11:30 p.m. to get a last-minute postmark at the 24-hour post office in Boston

• See Casablanca at the Brattle or The Rocky Horr or Picture Show at the Harvard Square Cinema

• Experience Thoreau’s old haunts at Walden Pond

• Get a haircut at La Flamme

• See the glass flowers and Nabokov’s butterflies

• Buy Harvard doohickies for all your relatives

• Have a senior-year lunch with your freshman roommates

• Window shop along Newbury Street

• Spend the summer in Cambridge

• Start a new student group illustration of student 'power lifting'

• Visit the chapel at the Business School

• Rate the street performers in Harvard Square

• Check out all the Houses, especially their theme parties

• Kayak, row, or sail on the Charles River

• Comp something

• Watch Love Story, even without the Crimson Key Society

• Attend a ping-pong tournament, tiddlywinks game, or croquet match

• Volunteer your time for a worthy cause (give blood!)

• Ask someone out on a date

• Exercise something other than your mind and eyes

• Join a rally

• Attend concerts in Jordan and Symphony Halls

• Picnic in the Stadium under the stars

• Hear a sermon by the Reverend Peter Gomes at Memorial Church

• Wake up in time for Commencement