My only reaction to this was, “how on earth am I going to be able to remember all their names and make friends?”

The first few weeks at Harvard were overwhelming in so many different ways! First, I think it was the size of the class. Second, it was the nervousness and anxiety stemming from my physical presence at the premises of Harvard, and the resulting sense of self-doubt as to whether I actually deserved to be there!

I was on campus one week ahead of most other students to take part in the pre-orientation activities. That week, I was introduced to a few hundred students, and the number did not seem that staggering. The registration week, however, was quite a shocker.  The week saw the campus filled with thousands of students. I could not digest very well the fact that there would be more than 1600 students in my class. My only reaction to this was, “how on earth am I going to be able to remember all their names and make friends?” Basically, I was worried that I was going to be a loner!

Interestingly enough, the feeling of loneliness, the feeling of being in a foreign country, and the weird feeling of actually being at Harvard vanished quicker than I thought it would. Thanks to my roommates mostly! I had roommates from Louisiana, Texas, California, Virginia, and Connecticut. They all made me feel at home. Their unfulfilled curiosity about Nepal provided me the opportunity to be able to at least emotionally connect with my country every now and then. In the process of getting to know them, I found out how they too, like me, were new to the place and the people. So in some sense, we were all in the same boat but our group efforts quickly helped us to get around to the place and make friends.

Harvard is a diverse institution in every sense. Not just intellectually but also socially, economically, and culturally. Many a times, I would find myself sitting in a dining table with people from seven different nationalities –Bulgaria, Pakistan, Kenya, Australia, Germany, Brazil and of course, America. Some of my closest friends were internationals, and so it was very common for me to be seen hanging out with people from at least three different nationalities.

I was blown away by the opportunities available at Harvard. Students have to have the interest, and Harvard makes it all possible. In spite of the hundreds of classes and the innumerable number of extra-curricular activities that you can take part it, a student can design his course of concentration and initiate his own activity of interest. The good part is that such classes and activities do not have to be restricted to the campus alone. They can extend to other parts of the US or even abroad, and Harvard will find a way to cover the expenses. Given the investment that it makes on its students, and professors, I do not even question the intellectual prowess that it commands amongst the educational institutions.

 Sometimes, it occurred to me that the intellectual ambience was a little too intense at Harvard. If it was the hard-work that got me into Harvard, it is also there where I learnt the true meaning of hard-work. During the week, it was very common to see students returning from libraries at the wee hours. I found this very strange at the beginning but got used to it slowly. After all, I had to abide by the campus norms! That being said, weekends were always fun-filled. No weekend went by without an event (usually it was more than two or three) taking place. There was always something to look forward to after the week’s hard work.

No amount of description is enough to describe the greatness of Harvard. Not only was I often awestruck by the knowledge of the professors but also inspired by the drive and ambition of the students. I learnt a lot from taking classes with the Nobel Prize winning professors (or would-be Nobel Prize winners). I was also equally inspired by the students’ unconventional approach to doing things. Most students cared not just about their academics but also discussed ways and took initiatives to make a difference in other people’s lives across the world. Many a times, I spent hours wondering how all these students are going to be leaders in the future, and how grateful I was for the opportunities that Harvard provided to me. Harvard was truly a home away from home for me. Thank you HARVARD!