Get Lit
Back to Index
Get Lit
Can't Miss Events

Opening Days Dance

Mom and Dad dropped you on campus and here you are, itching to get lit. Look no further than ~Opening Days Dance~ which is quite literally your first chance to live on the wild side on campus (unless you’re a pro and have done something shady during Opening Days on campus). Whatever your style, pregame appropriately and make your way over to your first real college party at the Northwest Labs and wait in an obscenely long line of obscenely eager freshmen to get in. Here are a few pro-tips:

Don’t pregame aggressively. Reach that optimal buzz you heard about in Harvard Proof and stay there. Come next spring, you don’t want to still be shying away from the stranger who took you to the bathroom when you needed to throw up and walked you back to your dorm after your first party everrrr. 

Don’t dress up. The number of kids that show up in high heels and fancy button downs is ridiculous. From now on, you only dress up for formals or Goldman Sachs recruiting events, ya hear?

Don’t hook up with your entrywaymates (aka dormcest).This is the road to social suicide. Snag your first chance at the your neighbor across the hall and you’ll never ever be able to cross paths again.

The Game

You see people selling tickets for campus sports events in the dining halls all the time. Have you ever bought a ticket? No. Unless you play a sport, your significant other plays a sport, or you’re part of the dance team, you’ve probably never been to a game, and you just dodge the people trying to sell you tickets so you can carry on with your life. You’re not alone. We’re pretty sure 50% of campus would rather take a swift slap to the face than endure any sort of sporting event.

However, even if the idea of delving into Harvard’s athletic scene event melts various parts of your cerebellum, there’s one game that exceeds all expectations. No student, no matter how lazy can get away with avoiding the festivities of The Game (huzzah!). One Saturday a year, you bundle up, party it up, and watch the Harvard Football Team thoroughly hand Yale its ass, and then some. For a school that can sometimes put the “no” in “fun,” The Game is easily one of the top three events of the year.

Every year, the game switches off between Harvard and Yale (this year it’s Yale). When it’s here, we get to tell Yale students how awful we think they are to their faces under the protection of other Harvard alums. And, if the game is at Yale, we get to try to avoid getting shot in New Haven. All of it is pretty invigorating and you’ll never feel more like Jason Bourne in your life (unless you do get murdered, which could be a downer).

We think The Game is particularly important for campus-wide morale. There’s no better form of team building than making random friends at 11am while you down hot dogs and, finally, you’ll have the opportunity to use your engraved flask without looking like a complete dick. Some hard facts:

Dress warm. If you don’t wear thick socks/a sweater/a hat/maybe a scarf/ gloves/the fur of a woolly mammoth, you will legit die. Particularly in Harvard’s stadium, which is essentially a glorified wind tunnel. Except this year it’s hosted elsewhere, but either way—you’ll fucking freeze.

Don’t party too hard. Inevitably somebody starts “celebrating” at 8am and ends up in an ambulance by 9:30am. Don’t be that person or you’ll live in infamy for the rest of your college experience. Or at least, the remaining three weeks of the semester. Same thing.

Yardfest

The bass is pumping. The people are sweating. A “fairly well-known” headliner is yelling. All this, and you’re standing (swaying?) in the same spot you crossed on your walk to section yesterday. This is darty szn; this is Yardfest, one of the several days a year Harvard manages to turn a blind eye to shenanigans, funnel a ton of money into setup, and actually throw a school-wide party. Find yourself sipping an electric blue concoction out of a red solo cup in a walled-in backyard, the music so loud you’ll hear shouts of “Down in one!” and “Funnel!” Hours before the concert was set to begin, it seemed the entire school had spilled out onto Mt. Auburn and JFK Street, leaving behind final projects and papers in favor of final clubs, Hawaiian shirts, and never-ending debauchery. Who knew Harvard could be fun?? Eventually, the fun merges from backyards and courtyards straight into the Yard for the main event. Here are some pro-tips for survival:

Don’t wear white shoes.That is, unless you really want them to be brown shoes. The combination of people stepping on your limbs + occasionally wet mud doesn’t bode well for those Converse.

Prepare to be pushed. Maybe it’s just a concert thing, but when two thousand people are standing in a giant clump, things are bound to get…pushy. You’ll be shoved right, left, down, behind the back, skip, skip, reverse, Uno. Wait. Nevermind.

Skip the concert? Honestly, people have way more fun from 9am-6pm of Yardfest than they do at the actual concert. When it comes to the concert, you can just not and say you did and you’ll literally miss nothing. Unless we get Fetty Wap. Go to Fetty Wap.

Freshman Formal

Essentially Opening Days Dance’s more mature, tuxedo-owning older sibling, First- Year Formal occurs in late April or early May, so you have just enough time to find a date for your sad, pathetic self. It was traditionally held at a nearby, unnamed hotel until one particularly sloppy year (read: pee. Pee everywhere). The event was then moved to a giant outdoor tent in the Science Center Plaza for the Class of ‘18 and on. Everyone gets dolled up, has a classy dinner in Annenberg (tablecloths? living like a king!) and then most definitely does not drink because the Yard is dry. It’s a nice way to say goodbye to your first year, and hopefully your last awkward middle school dance. Here some tips to ensure you have your best First-Year Formal evvrrrrrrrr:

Dress nicely. Technically you’re supposed to wear a tuxedo (which probably 40% of kids do) but you’ll be totally good if you wear a suit instead. Just don’t wear that Spiderman onesie. Or do, and be turned away at the door, only to sneak back in and start violently twerking on the dancefloor, only to be forcibly removed by security. Not worth it. Plus it’s super easy to get your stuff dry- cleaned at HSA Cleaners.

Go stag. Some people will ask a date, but the vast majority don’t. Like, it’s the end of the year. It should be pretty clear by now that the concept of a “date” does not exist in a place where people fantasize more about 4.0s than other human beings. 

Don’t try to sneak alcohol in.They’re actually SUPER strict about this. That flask in your back pocket? Good as gone. Or, you know, don’t drink at all, because the Yard is dry...

Next article
Francesca Malatesta,  Editor in Chief
francesca.malatesta@hsa.net
Jessica Luo, Publishing Director
jessica.luo@hsa.net
Katie Nguyen, Studio 67 Managing Director
katie.nguyen@hsa.net
The Unofficial Guide to Harvard Copyright © 2019 by Harvard Student Agencies, Inc., Burke-McCoy Hall, 67 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from Harvard Student Agencies, Inc. Photographs reproduced with permission from Austin Eder, Ronia Hurwitz, Lance Katigbak, Mark Kelsey, Cindy Niu, Winnie Wu, and Christina Yee. Printed in Canada by Friesens Corp. The Harvard name and/or VERITAS shield are trademarks of the President and Fellows of Harvard College and are used by permission of Harvard University. LEGAL DISCLAIMER. Although every effort was made to ensure that the following information was correct at the time of going to press, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any part for any loss or damage caused by errors, omissions, or any potential travel disruption due to labor or financial difficulty, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.Printed in Canada by Friesens Corp. The Harvard name and/or VERITAS shield are trademarks of the President and Fellows of Harvard College and are used by permission of Harvard University. ADVERTISING DISCLAIMER. All advertisements appearing in Unofficial Publications are sold by an independent agency not affiliated with the editorial production of the guides. Advertisers are never given preferential treatment, and the guides are researched, written, and published independent of advertising. Advertisements do not imply endorsement of products or services by Unofficial Guides, and Unofficial Publications does not vouch for the accuracy of information provided in advertisements. If you are interested in purchasing advertising space in an HSA publication, contact: Studio 67, 67 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA, or studio67.hsa.net.