Chibueze Nzekwe, Sara Dahiya, Nathan Le.

Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

The best thing I’ve done since return to campus

Students share the highlights of the semester so far

4 min read

What’s the best part of being back on campus? Some say it’s the people. Others say it’s the museums or just the feel of being in a classroom again. Now that students are back, the Gazette asked a few to talk about their best experiences since resuming — or, in some cases, starting — in-person College life.

Dine with strangers

Kayton Rotenberg ’23

As a first-year student, Rotenberg loved to meet new people in the dining halls. That hasn’t changed. “Literally just today, I sat down with some people that I hadn’t met before,” said the Leverett House resident. “It’s really nice after being home a year and a half to meet different people with different stories and interests. I’m always just so excited to meet new people. It’s my favorite thing on earth.”

Kayton Rotenberg.

Join an existential book club

Etai Clyde ’25

Clyde joined the Precipice Reading Group run by the Harvard-MIT Project on Existential Risk. The group gathers to discuss a book by Oxford University philosopher Toby Ord called “The Precipice” about existential risk and the future of humanity. Clyde, who’s from Robbinsville, New Jersey, said he enjoys “seeing the different viewpoints that people bring to the table about the direction our world is going and what we should do about it.”

Etai Clyde.

Eat Nigerian food and play ice-breaking bingo

Chibueze Nzekwe ’25

Nzekwe enjoyed an event hosted by the Harvard College Nigerian Student Association in September. “There was food, and we played a bingo game where we got to know each other,” said Nzekwe, who is from New Haven, Connecticut. “I got to meet a lot of the other Nigerian and African students.”

Chibueze Nzekwe.

Get the bands back together

Nathan Le ’21

This Lowell House resident from Los Angeles often can be seen around Cambridge with his cello on his back. He’s happy to again be making music with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and the Brattle Street Orchestra, among other groups. “It’s something that we weren’t able to do for one and a half years over the pandemic,” Le said. “It’s really great to just be able to do those kinds of things again.”

Nathan Le.

Sit in an actual classroom

Naomi Freilich ’23

Freilich’s favorite thing about being on campus is simple: getting back into a physical classroom. “There’s just something different about being in a classroom with your peers versus seeing them on a screen,” said Freilich, a junior from New York City.

Naomi Freilich.

Connect with professors

Alejandro Jimenez ’22

Taking Zoom classes from inside his family home in Washburn, Missouri, Jimenez always wondered what it would be like to meet his economics professors in person. Now that he’s back on campus for his senior year, he finally got to do that. “That’s the best thing I’ve done — meeting all the professors that I knew over Zoom and getting to know them on a deeper level,” Jimenez said. Were they everything he pictured? “Well, you know, you expect people to be taller or shorter,” he said, grinning.

Alejandro Jimenez.

Catch up on art museum exhibitions

Soren McLeod ’21

Since he was a first-year student, this Montana native’s favorite place on campus has been the Harvard Art Museums. Coming back after 18 months, the museum was one of the first places he visited, said McLeod. He and a group of friends went to see the exhibits that went up right before the pandemic and they’d missed the chance to view. “Being in the building again was really sweet,” he said.

Soren McLeod.

Go on a pledge-night scavenger hunt

Melanie Munoz ’24

The sophomore from Long Island, New York, didn’t have to think for long when asked about the favorite thing she’s done. She pledged for the Oak Club, one of the College’s recognized on-campus social clubs. “We went on a scavenger hunt throughout the School and then we all met up at Elliot at the end of the night.”

Melanie Munoz.

Soak up the Yard

Sara Dahiya ’25

The first-year from India’s favorite experience so far is walking through historic Harvard Yard and talking to people there. “It’s just being there and realizing that we’re here. Just taking a moment and being grateful for that.”

Sara Dahiya.