Around The Yard: Maddy Kaplan

Returning to for a third season, "Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete" explores life away from the playing fields for select Harvard student-athletes through their own first-person narrativeFor a full list of blog entries, click here.

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Maddy Kaplan
March 17, 2017

I still remember sitting in Wigglesworth with my seven blockmates, waiting for our housing assignment two years ago.  We watched crowds of upperclassmen sprint around the yard, excited to welcome freshman to their houses–where they will live for the rest of their time at Harvard.  Some members of our group wanted the Quad because they had friends who lived there and loved it, while others wanted a river house in close proximity to the athletic facilities.  As we sat and waited, we vowed to be happy with the outcome, regardless.  

After what seemed an eternity, we finally heard a loud knock at the door.  There was no cheering, just silence on the other side.  As one of my blockmates went to open it, dozens of upperclassmen decked out in blue and white came rushing in, chanting “E-L-I-O-T, YOU JUST WON THE LOTTERY!!!”  One of the students handed us a letter that officially welcomed us to Eliot House.  We jumped with joy and hugged our new housemates.  Two years later, Housing Day is still one of my favorite days at Harvard.  And after freshman year, my roommates and I have woken up at the crack of dawn evert year since to storm the freshman dorms and welcome students to their new home.

Eliot House is one of twelve upperclassmen houses at Harvard.  Almost all undergraduate students live in their assigned house for their sophomore, junior, and senior years.  Each house is a sub-community of Harvard; from the dining hall to the laundry room, there are always familiar faces around. The houses have intramural sports teams and unique perks that foster a deep sense of house pride.  If you ask any student which house is the best, they will likely say their own house and go on to give multiple reasons why that is the case. 

My favorite part of living in Eliot is the community.  I love seeing lots of familiar faces whenever I am hanging out in the house.  My block group, named Bend it like Blockham after my favorite movie Bend it like Beckham, consists of seven of my closest friends at Harvard: one of my teammates, two of my freshman year roommates, one of my close friends from high school, and three friends I met freshman year.  We are all busy with a diverse set of classes and extracurricular activities, but at the end of the day, we are all connected through Eliot.  The Eliot community makes Harvard feel smaller and more intimate.  After a long day of classes and practice, it is nice to walk into the dining hall and catch up with friends who have spent their days at Harvard doing something completely different than me.  The house community exposes me to parts of Harvard that I wouldn’t otherwise know about.

Whenever I talk to a Harvard alum, one of the first things I ask them is what house they lived in when they were an undergraduate.  It is a unique tradition at Harvard that creates a great sense of community and pride.  It is not only a house, it is home.