Winta Haile Class of 2012
Romance Languages and Literature Concentrator
As the school year winds down, senior Winta Haile reminisces about her time at Harvard and the lessons that she's learned.
On senior spring:
“I think I didn't really understand myself until this semester in terms of what it really takes for me to do well and feel good about it.”
On life at Harvard:
“Every Harvard student feels pressure to be leading something at some point. In some ways it's a good pressure.”
“You shouldn’t lead something just to lead it, you should lead it because you feel invested in it—so invested that you want to be a part of that organization’s growth.”
“I think Harvard makes it hard to take care of yourself and your friends. There’s always this stress. Everyone here seems like there’s something looming—this pressure to fulfill expectations. To succeed in school and in other commitments sometimes feels like you’re sacrificing things."
What advice would you give your high school senior self?
“I would have told myself to be less rigid and be more open to exploring things—I came into college being like I’m pre-med, and this is how my path is going to go. It’s changed since then, but I wish I had come into college being more open minded about that change.”
On the progression of life:
“It’s really exciting. I am so eager to do something I think ill enjoy figuring out whether or not I’m right or wrong about it. I’m excited to start a path that’s not linear. It’s been a process to get there.”
On the expectation to do something great:
“It kind of implies that we should know already how our lives are going to turn out. But I think that’s constrictive—it can inhibit us from doing the best we can do."
“If you know what you want to do and you’re confident about it, do it. But if you feel like you are questioning yourself or feel like you are on a path that is more rigid, I would challenge you to explore other interests.”
“I’ve made a lot of sacrifices.”
Advice for life in general:
“Have friends that are different from you. Listen to people who are different from you but that you can still relate to—people who you will not always relate to but with whom you can exchange points of view and exchange perspectives.”
"I think the strongest friendships are the most dynamic ones. The ones in which you can talk about a lot of different things and share a range of opinions but still value one another and learn from one another, and still be grounded by the sheer fact of knowing each other and where the other person is coming from.”
"Be with friends, do something you like to do, or just take a nap—just do things for yourself.”
“Ask yourself: so what did I learn? What did I get out of college? Yeah, that was a terrifying question.”
Favorite place on campus: The Barker Center Cafe
Favorite place to eat: My house.
Favorite activity: Keychange
Best Professor: Professor Luis Fernandez Cifuentes