An unforgettable experience

In times of uncertainty, one must make an effort to turn moments of restlessness into reassurance.

Laurinne Eugenio, Editor-in-Chief

To welcome admitted students, Harvard College will host an in-person Visitas weekend from Apr. 24 to 25. After a six-hour flight, my parents and I arrived at Boston Logan International Airport where we were greeted by cold and windy weather. Immediately after leaving our luggage at the hotel, we took a 15-minute bus ride to Harvard College. 

It was our first time visiting Cambridge and walking around campus. We acted like tourists because we were unfamiliar with the city; we couldn’t resist taking photos and buying merchandise that showcases “Crimson pride”. 

The day after, I walked with my parents toward Radcliffe Yard—about a 10-minute walk from the main campus. I started off Visitas by checking in where I received a lanyard that included a nametag, swipe card and emergency contact information. Admitted students have access to a Visitas schedule where various events and activities are offered for every hour-block period. Students can then craft their own unique schedule filled with events they are interested in attending. 

Since the next event I wanted to attend didn’t start until a few hours later after check-in, I decided to go on a walk with my parents to the famed Charles River near campus. This choice was partly motivated by the fact that I didn’t want to spend the few hours of downtime by myself and actively looking for new people to meet. 

The walk was peaceful and I was able to appreciate the scenery, nature and architecture of the school. It’s a beautiful campus and I can’t get enough of the red-colored bricks that dominate many of the school’s buildings. I felt restless, too afraid to step out of my comfort zone and meet new people by myself. In other words, I felt reliant on my parents’ company and guidance.

An hour passed by and I got text messages from fellow San Diegans who also received admission to Harvard; they asked if the people in the group chat would like to meet up during Visitas. I met them last Monday during an admit reception hosted by the Harvard Club of San Diego. I felt relieved knowing that I would finally see familiar faces. 

I bid my parents farewell and walked to the Science Center Tent to meet with my San Diegan friends. We ate lunch together and toured around campus, including Harvard Square. We also attended a library tour of Widener Library as well as an Extracurricular Fair. Something notable that happened during the Extracurricular Fair was when I saw a Bonita Vista High alumna and current junior at the college, Raquel Rivera. We gave each other a big, warm hug and at that moment, I felt like I was home. 

I ended the first day of Visitas by attending a prefrosh welcome by Harvard Philippine Forum (HPF). HPF is a “close-knit family of Filipinos, Filipino-Americans, and friends that celebrates and shares the vitality of Philippine culture and tradition with the Harvard community,” according to HPF’s official website. Upon entering the room, I felt anxious because I no longer was with my group of friends—I was alone and reticent. 

However, sentiments of unfamiliarity and uncertainty were relinquished and instead replaced with feelings of reassurance. The club members, especially the club’s president, welcomed me with open arms and a wholesome heart. I no longer felt scared, I felt at home.

Then, it was night time and my parents picked me up from campus. On the way to the hotel, I reflected on how the day went and shared with my parents some of the activities I did. They smiled and nodded in relief. As protective parents, letting me explore campus by myself was a little unsettling for them because they have been by my side ever since we arrived in the city. 

Moving forward, as my senior year comes to an end with only approximately a month of school remaining, I will make an effort to live every moment to its fullest so that I would have fewer regrets when I move across the country. There is no doubt that being thousands of miles away from my family and friends and living in a completely new city would be difficult. However, I will remain resilient and aim to transform moments of fear into fulfilling and unforgettable ones.