{shortcode-3d70cd10fa350905568267f8eb70637ec3fe286d}Welcome to Harvard, Class of 2027! As you take your first few steps on campus, there's a lot awaiting you here, and it can honestly get very confusing very quickly. Here at Flyby, we offer you an important resource: our annual breakdown of Harvard lingo for the Class of 2027!

The Yard

Your one-stop shop for all things Harvard: the statue, freshman dorms, the President’s office, genetically-engineered grass and too many tourists.

The Houses

During their first year, students are randomly assigned to one of 12 upperclassman Houses, each equipped with a dining hall, gym, library, plenty of amenities and House spirit. But really, there’s no best house… (except for Mather ;))

The Quad


Located in Radcliffe College’s former residential campus, the Quad is home to three Houses: Cabot, Currier, and Pfoho, and is known for its amazing food, spirit, and Housing Day videos.


Harvard’s secret partnership with Meta to sequester the CS concentrators. Also has been called “The Cheese Grater” due to its exterior. In reality, the Science and Engineering Complex is home to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as well as some really cool amenities (did someone say Peloton bikes?).

Dhall (dee-hall)

Short for dining hall. That’s pretty much it.


An affectionate nickname for Annenberg Hall, the freshman-only Harry Potter-esque dhall that you’ve seen in all the promotional materials. Get ready for some of the highest highs (fried chicken sandwiches) and the lowest lows (molasses ???? chicken) of your first-year dining experience.

Memorial Hall

The big brick and stained glass building that contains practically all you need: Annenberg Hall; Sanders Theatre, a site for performances like Cultural Rhythms and CS50; multiple classrooms on upper and lower levels; grab-and-go dining options; and the Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub, a popular spot for trivia nights and wings.

HUDS (hudds)

Harvard University Dining Services. The 2023 HUDS revamp was an overhaul of the dining menus that showed just how little college students require to feel happiness.

Cabot Science Library vs. Cabot House

Cabot Science Library is a studying space within the big concrete-glass building in the Science Center Plaza and will be the site of many (many) late nights. Cabot House is 20 minutes away in the Quad. Read your emails carefully.


Your first-year residential community which includes 20-30 freshmen in the same floor or area of the dorm.


A graduate student or member of Harvard staff who is your live-in resource for all things Harvard, including emergencies, support, academic advice, and free food.

PAF (paff)

Short for Peer Advising Fellow, a PAF is an upperclassman who does not live with you but is a great resource for advice on classes, campus life, and extracurriculars.

Rakesh / Dean Khurana

Dean of the College and everyone’s favorite Instagram influencer / adopted dad. +10 if you can get on the ‘gram during Visitas.


Our quirky little way of saying “major”.

Secondary field

Because we’re sometimes too quirky, this is how we say “minor”.

Double vs. joint

Both refer to studying two fields. Before Harvard approved double concentrations last year, joint concentrations were the only way to concentrate on two areas of study, culminating in a thesis that combines your two fields of choice. A double still allows you to study two fields but without the requirement of a thesis. It’s still new, we’re all figuring it out.

Pset (pee-set)

A pset, or problem set, is a collection of questions typically assigned by STEM classes that can take you anywhere from two hours to two weeks to complete.


Time outside of lecture to ask questions, get help on problem sets, and feedback on essays. If you take any math from Math M to 21B, we’ll be sure to see you in the Math Question Center (MQC) Sundays through Thursdays from 7:30-11 p.m.


TF: Teaching fellow. Usually a graduate student that will help teach the class or grade your coursework.PSL (peer study leader) and CAs (course assistants) are undergraduates who have previously taken the course and can help answer questions or clarify concepts


Why reinvent the wheel when 2022 Ellen explained it so well? Canvas is the app that ruins your day when you find out your midterm scores have been released. Canvas is a central platform (both a website and a mobile app) where your instructor will post course-related documents including assignments and syllabi and where you turn in your homework (and find out how well you did on it).

Q Guide

With a more devout following than the Bible, the Q Guide publishes student rankings and evaluations of past and current courses. We took these classes so you… still have to, but at least you know what to expect going into it (and build your coping mechanisms now)!

The T

Our favorite-by-default transportation system. Extensive? Sort of. Functional? Sometimes. Cheap? Eh. At least it gets you where you need to go… usually.

Jefe’s vs Felipes

The age-old debate between two classic fast-casual Mexican establishments and the most-asked icebreaker question. If you’re stuck on what to order, we HIGHLY recommend the nachos from Felipe’s and the quesadillas from El Jefe’s.


Just when you thought applications were over… psych! Many (but not all!) extracurriculars have a process to join called “the comp”, which can stand for anything from “competitive” to “completion.” Don’t worry though; plenty of incredible extracurriculars have absolutely no barriers to entry!

Women’s Center

Located in the basement of Canaday, the Harvard College Women’s Center provides space and programming designed to explore gender and women’s issues and build community. Plus, there’s free tea!


The Office of BGLTQ Student Life, fondly dubbed “Quoffice”, is located in the lower level of Thayer and is a resource and community to celebrate and support LGBTQ+ students across campus.

Flyby vs Fly By

Flyby is us. We are Flyby, the blog of The Harvard Crimson. We are cool. So cool. Fly *SPACE* By is the grab-and-go lunch service provided under Annenberg Hall for those who only have 15 minutes to eat between classes. Flyby is for everyone <3.