How To: Actually Get Something Out of Virtual Visitas
For another year, Visitas is being held in the comfort of your own home. What could be better than listening to how ~transformative~ your years at Harvard will be while chilling in your pajamas in bed? Although it may be tempting to sign into Zoom and podcast the sessions as you do something else (maybe listen to the new Taylor Swift album?), we compiled a couple things that hopefully will help you actually get something out of Virtual Visitas.
Icebreakers And Possibly Friends
Yes, there will be breakout rooms and yes, there will be icebreaker activities. Having an interesting fact about you or where you come from can hopefully ease some of that awkward breakout room tension. If you see someone who looks cool and you’d like to be friends with, don’t be shy! Shoot them a Zoom DM and ask for their number or socials! Everyone is looking to make new friends so they're probably as scared as you are. Don’t be afraid to join group chats, join the smaller group hangouts and even plan to go to events with people! Buy into the hype of the event you’re attending and don't be afraid to actually participate.
Is it a friendly virtual hangout or a mutually beneficial networking meeting? At Harvard you’ll never know. Although there is no substitute for meeting someone for a coffee in the Yard, we have the next best thing. In the case “let’s Zoom sometime!” becomes an actual meeting, here’s how to make a lasting impression on your fellow peers. Dress almost-but-not-too-casually in your Harvard sweatshirt, make sure your Harvard banner is visible in the background, and name drop all the club events and people you’ve met. Extra points if you practice in the mirror how to look casually aloof as you mention how you interned at Google, saved the turtles, and was class valedictorian in your senior year. Don’t be shy to humble brag, that’s the Harvard way! And remember, these networks — oops, friendships — are going to be lifelong, so be sure to add them on LinkedIn!
Facebook and Freebies
Facebook groups don’t have much going for them, but once in a while you come across a diamond in the rough and find some cool events with free merch or food. To stay updated on all the events, join all the Harvard Class of ’25 Facebook groups, GroupMe(s), and Instagram pages. You can also make your own smaller groups as a way to keep in contact with people throughout Virtual Visitas and beyond. Harvard College’s main Instagram account is also a good stop to stay updated on general news and updates. And of course, follow flyby at @flybyblog to keep up with our Guide to Visitas!
Concentrations and Labs
Are you already wondering which classes you should take in the fall? Have you heard the horror stories of CS50? Is there a research lab you want to join? Look no further! Be sure to stop by the events on academic advising, research opportunities and concentrations (fancy Harvard speak for major) to ask all your burning questions on whether or not you should take Math 21a, Chemistry 15, and Physics 19 all in one semester while being a research assistant at a lab (spoiler, you shouldn’t). To get the most out of the sessions, take notes, have some questions ready, and even sign up for drop-in hours. If you have no idea what concentration or classes you want to take, that’s also okay! You will have plenty of time in the fall to decide which classes to take, so don’t stress.
In high school, you probably played a sport and a musical instrument, did mock trials, and still somehow had time for five other activities. Many try (and fail) to keep the same I’m-in-ten-clubs energy, but very few (read: none) maintain it. Clubs are a great way to meet new people, especially cool upperclassmen. Attend a variety of club events, even the ones that just seem remotely interesting. Step out of your comfort zone by attending a dance event, see what pre-professional clubs have to offer, meet new people in cultural groups, and explore different niches! Don’t know what club events to attend? Have no fear! Simply open the Visitas calendar or The Hub, close your eyes and blindly point at your screen. You landed on flyby? What a coincidence!
Once your GCal is full and overlapping with events, you are ready to take on Virtual Visitas and actually leave better than you came. But, make sure to not overextend yourself! Be reasonable, but also remember that you’re at Virtual Visitas to explore and learn — don’t overcommit, and allow some space for spontaneity. Have a great Visitas!