Please Stop Sneaking into My Dorm, I Can Tell You’re a Tourist


Due to the exorbitant amount of tourists on campus, Harvard keeps certain buildings on lock-down to prevent “tourist snooping,” a common curse of the Harvard student. All dorms are only accessible by Harvard ID-carrying students and Annenberg, the freshmen dining hall that resembles Hogwarts, has signs posted on every entrance informing trespassers they will be prosecuted, whatever that means. While these signs (and the guard at the door who checks every entering person’s ID) might stop camera-touting tourists from actually walking into Annenberg, it does not flummox them in the least. They still manage to lurk in the entrance and watch me eat my oatmeal, or somehow find the back entrance and attempt to sneak in that way. A piece of advice to back door-entering rebels: no one enters through that door, so if you choose to “sneak in” via that door, you will be noticed immediately. The ingenuity of these stubborn visitors is impressive, I must admit. I’m not sure how, but some of them manage to find the 2nd floor balcony of Annenberg. I don’t even know how to get up there! Heck, I didn’t even know it existed until I saw a flash and looked up mid-bite to see a horde of tourists with Nikons going click-crazy on the tables of hungry Harvard students.

While some tourists wistfully debate sneaking in and never follow through, others decide to seize the day and attempt the impossible: sneak into a Harvard dorm to see what the rooms look like. On move-in day, I propped the entrance door open for FIVE MINUTES, enough time to lug my suitcase up to the 2nd floor and come back for the big box. Somehow, in that small interval of time, illegal actions occurred. As I trekked the staircase Round II, I bumped into three girls. They seemed nice enough, greeting me with smiles and “Hello’s”, so I asked them what pre-orientation program they had done. (At this point, only pre-orientation kids were on campus). They awkwardly looked around before one girl finally responded, “Biology.” ……There was no Biology pre-orientation program. Upon hearing this valuable tidbit of information, two of the three girls hauled butt out of the building while the 3rd informed me that yes, they had snuck in to see what the dorm looked like, and they were just tourists. Goodness gracious. I had left the door open for five measly minutes. So if the tourist influx rate is 3 every 5 minutes, my dorm would’ve held 36 trespassers in an hour’s time.

Just yesterday I saw a man and woman (both obviously too old to be students) casually stroll up to my dorm, look around discretely, and yank the door open. Well, tried to. The door was locked, of course, as you and I know, but he didn’t. Seeing the ID swipe pad, the man tried tapping it with his finger, pushing it with his thumb, and attempting all sorts of silly maneuvers to magically open that door. Being as sneaky as possible, I made a bee-line for the other door (just a few feet to the right of “his” door) to sneak inside. To my dismay, his tourist senses were on high-alert and he scented my Harvard ID card and its door-unlocking capabilities. Within seconds of me taking out my card, the man was directly behind me, casually scratching his ear and looking off into the distance (and inching in closer and closer to the soon-to-be-opened door). With the swipe of my card, I rushed in, swung around, grabbed the door handle and pulled the door closed in his face. Unfortunately, the door was one of those slow-closing doors so I couldn’t just slam the door and be done with it. No, no. I had to slowly pull the door towards me as he glared at me through the glass pane. Sigh, it’s a tough life, always being on alert for trespassers.

So what exactly did he miss out on? Allow me to share. Perhaps by sharing some photos, I can prevent future stalkers from breaking into my dorm.

I live in Weld. According to the official tour that passes by my room every hour and shouts out cheesy jokes, JFK lived in Weld and an elevator was built where his room used to be when it was renovated. There’s a punchline for that random tidbit, but I’m going to save you from its cheesiness.

Hang Out Zone
2 desks and my plants!
my desk to the right (mid-post on the laptop)
my poster collage (in progress)

My suite includes two doubles (one of which is partially mine), one single, and our common room, which- due to the many desks that we must put in it since our rooms are too narrow for them- is quite crowded but somehow managed to accommodate a couch. Impressively, we have only owned the couch for a total of three days and have already broken it. We bought silly posters and brightly colored flags to hang around the room, and I bought four little plants at the plant sale for us to tend to! Four of the five of us (the other girl already has a bamboo in her room so she did not qualify) are competing to see whose plant will die last. (We obviously have very little faith in our plant-raising abilities). I have plastered the hallway wall of our common room with posters I find on boards around campus. (I probably shouldn’t be taking them but I do it sneakily so it’s ok). It’s only been a few days and I already have most of the wall covered!

You don’t get any pictures of my actual room yet because my roommate is asleep and I don’t want to creep her out. That’s understandable.


  1. Hey Caroline!
    Your new digs look great. Very cozy and will get more cozy as winter weather sets in. Enjoy the beautiful New England Fall.
    PS I note Madallyn’s dad is also Harvard–’81. Are they related to the famous Durgin Park in Boston?

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