by Richa Chaturvedi ’18
This weekend, students from all over the world are coming to campus for Visitas, Harvard’s admitted student weekend. You can see them grouped in front of the John Harvard statue, loitering outside of Canaday, or sitting in on a class at the Science Center. It’s a weekend of firsts for these students: first friends, first time getting lost on the way to Quad, and, most importantly, first time eating at Annenberg.
I remember my first time walking into Annenberg. It was overwhelming and exciting, much like the rest of my Visitas experience. I walked in to the Berg (which I was too scared to call it at the time in case I sounded like a try-hard) and felt like I had truly made it. I had a very basic meal – spaghetti and tomato sauce – because I have this theory that you need to start at the basics to really get the sense of a place. I stayed there for hours, meeting new people and basking in the light of the stained glass windows.
But when I came to school that fall, I slowly began losing that wonder. Instead of looking up at awe, I would groan when they ran out of carnival cookies and run to Expos. I would be there, but never be there, taking it all in.
Yesterday, I spoke with a pre-frosh who had just had her first meal in the Berg. She spoke of it as a thing of beauty, as if it was magical. Her food was amazing, she met so many people, and she even proudly recounted ordering from the grill (something I finally got the nerve to do freshmen fall). It reminded me of the wonder I felt the first time I was there, living those experiences, taking my first bites of HUDS food, and freaking out when I realized I could even have Coke with my breakfast. It’s funny to think about how much has changed in all of our lives since the first time we ate at Annenberg. That’s why I think Visitas is timed perfectly timed. Sitting in between midterms and finals, when we’re really feeling grumpy and tired, it reminds us of that wonder. At least it certainly did for me.