I’m a freshman at Harvard, living in the the famous Harvard Yards. From small dorm rooms to luxury commons spaces, here’s what my dorm life is like. – DAVID RAUDALES


Businessman, musician / former Full Stack Developer


I’m a freshman at Harvard, living in the the famous Harvard Yards. From small dorm rooms to luxury commons spaces, here’s what my dorm life is like.

Harvard’s dorms.

Ezekiel Wells

I’m a freshman at Harvard, and I live in Lionel Hall, which is in Harvard Yard. 
I have three suitemates; we all share a common room and a bathroom.
When I’m a sophomore, I’ill move into Harvard’s house system. 

After growing up in a suburb of Chicago, I recently moved to the East Coast to study as an undergraduate at Harvard University.

About a month ago, I moved into my freshman dorm. I’ve enjoyed it here so far and wanted to share my experience with dorm living at the college.

Almost all Harvard freshmen live in Harvard Yard.Harvard Yard on a Wednesday afternoon.

Ezekiel Wells

The land that is now Harvard Yard was purchased in 1637, making it the oldest part of the university. The John Harvard statue and some academic buildings are located here, and it’s home to most freshmen on campus.

Dorms are scattered throughout the yard, but it’s all very walkable.

I’m a proud resident of Lionel Hall, one of the smallest dorms for Harvard freshmen.Lionel Hall, a freshman dorm at Harvard.

Ezekiel Wells

Halls are the individual buildings on campus, and they house anywhere from 15 to 250 people. Lionel has about 35 residents, and we’re tucked away in a courtyard near the perimeter of campus, so we don’t get many tourists in our area. It’s very close to Annenberg, the freshman dining hall, and the Science Center, which is great for a STEM-leaning student like me. 

During weekend sports competitions, our building competes as a team against the other freshmen halls on campus. Go llamas!

I’ve gotten to know most of the students at Lionel.Getting some work done.

Ezekiel Wells

Our proctor and peer-advisor fellows host study breaks every week, bringing us together for food and activities. Harvard also pays for social events for our building. This month, we’re going to a Red Sox game against the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Because Lionel is so small, we’ve built a pretty strong community.

We can’t pick our roommates, but the roommate form tends to work out pretty well.Another freshman hall on campus.

Ezekiel Wells

Over the summer, incoming freshmen fill out a detailed roommate form that helps the school decide where students will live and who their roommates will be. 

The school tries its best to pick arrangements where students mesh well. It seemed to have worked in my case — my roommate and suitemates have been great so far.

Almost all freshman suites at Harvard have a common room, usually shared between three to five students.The common room in my suite.

Ezekiel Wells

Four people live in my suite. We use the common room to hang out with friends, keep supplies, and do work. 

All common rooms at Harvard have a desk, a chair, and a side drawer for each of the suitemates. Every suite sets up the common room differently, but it’s a private space that connects the bedrooms and bathroom to the rest of the building.

My desk is useful, but it seems like most people get their work done in the libraries and other study spots around campus.My desk in the common room.

Ezekiel Wells

Although my desk is a good place to study between certain classes, the libraries are really great; two of them are open 24 hours a day and on weekends.

Students often meet up outside their dorms to study in small groups or pairs. But if I don’t feel like leaving my dorm, I do my work here. 

My room is off the common room; I live in a double for the first semester.My bunk bed, storage, and closet.

Ezekiel Wells

Since our suite has three bedrooms, we’ll each spend one semester in a double and the other in a single. I’m in the double first. It’s on the smaller side, but it doesn’t really bother me because there’s so much to do and so many other spaces on campus that my roommate and I are almost never in the room. The singles are about the same size, and each room has a closet for storage. Some people in other dorms decided to debunk their beds, but we lack the space to make that convenient, so we’re keeping our beds arranged as pictured. 

We’re right next to a busy road, so we hear the occasional siren in the morning. The room itself is all right. It’s nothing too special and I don’t spend much time in it, but it’s a place to sleep.

Our dorm has an en suite bathroom, which is fairly common for freshmen.The bathroom that I share with my suitemates.

Ezekiel Wells

I’m glad I have a private bathroom; it’s helped my transition to college life feel more comfortable. I don’t have to carry around a shower caddy or worry about gross things in a larger shared bathroom, but it does mean my suitemates and I are responsible for the cleaning.  

It’s very common for halls to have a collective common room as well, but Lionel does not.The common room for Straus Hall, a building in Ivy Yard.

Ezekiel Wells

While we don’t have a common room, lots of other buildings do. I don’t go into these spaces much, but they provide a place to meet for activities and hangouts.

After my freshman year, I’ll move into the upperclassmen houses, which are even better.A Dunster House common area.

Ezekiel Wells

After freshman year, students move out of Harvard Yard and get sorted into houses, which are 12 communities on campus that all have their own cultures, dining halls gyms, and activities. 

Generally, the rooms and dorm life get better as the years progress, and each house has access to its own laundry rooms, lawns, and common areas.

In the spring of freshman year, I’ll participate in Housing Day.The steps of University Hall.

Ezekiel Wells

On Housing Day, I’ll be assigned a house and will live there for the rest of my time at Harvard. Although you can live in off-campus housing later on, most students don’t choose this option. Houses build a strong sense of community for undergraduates.

For now, I hope to get the most out of my freshman experience with my current resident hall and my fellow classmates.

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