College Connections: Luke Albert at Harvard College

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Which college has graduated more presidents than any other university? Founded in 1636, Harvard College is the oldest American institution of higher learning and has graduated eight U.S. Presidents, eight signers of the Declaration of Independence, thirty-two heads of state, and forty-nine Nobel Laureates. Harvard is one of the most well-known, prestigious, and selective colleges in the world. Harvard College’s Class of ’22 had 42,742 applicants and only 4.59% students were accepted, including former Casady class president, Luke Albert (’18).

Luke is hopeful, compassionate, and competitive. His passion for politics is infectious, and his concern for others inspiring. He has been successful at Casady and now Harvard due to his tenacious work ethic and competitive drive. He graciously took time during his busy schedule to reflect on his experiences at Casady and share helpful advice for college.

What was the most important lesson you learned as an Upper Division student?

Luke: Casady taught me how the most difficult tasks cannot be tackled alone; you’ll find questions to answers you never thought of from others, and you’ll get your best work from yourself when working with others. It’s no coincidence that a lot of my favorite classes heavily incorporated group work, but collaboration extended well beyond the classroom to the locker room and the concert hall, as well, in my time at Casady. I now approach all my academic endeavors in college working with others. I study in groups. I peer review papers. I get more from reading material through discussion. In all of my work and pursuits, I’ve discovered the best way to seek them out is not alone thanks to my time at Casady.

What classes at Casady were the most beneficial to you, either preparing you for college or perhaps being inspirational for a new field of study?

Luke: My junior year English class with Dr. Hubbell pushed me to be able to successfully write at the level I need to today. I think it also prepared me for the work and methods I needed to undertake for college-type courses. APUSH with Dr. Shreve-Price gave me a really great foundation for manifesting a healthy academic reading load into gained and usable knowledge. Additionally, it really inspired my interests in not only American history but also issues of government and race much like my AP Government class. I had a lot of really beneficial classes that I loved like all of my Spanish classes, as well, so I could go on. However, the teachers were the difference makers for me. I was lucky to have so many teachers that were mentors, friends, and advisors. Above all, they genuinely cared about me and that made all the difference towards my success in high school.

What, if anything, do you wish you would have done differently while at Casady?

Luke: This is a great question. I don’t have too many regrets. I wish I did Science Olympiad during my freshman year (I did it in 7th and 8th grade, then took a year off before resuming as a sophomore). I kind of wish I committed to another sport besides football for all four years. I also kind of wish I tried to do a speech program of sorts, but I already had a lot on my plate. I definitely wish I did more to make the school politically active in some capacities, like more institutionalized voter advocacy. Students graduate Casady and are thrown into college campuses where people actively and openly express and engage in their political passions. I also think strong voter advocacy in high school leads to better, more consistent voters in college.

What is your favorite Casady memory?

Luke: Wow, this is tough. I really loved all of senior year [such as] the camaraderie and all the festivities and emotions that come with it. There were a lot of memorable trips too, like the Costa Rica trip with Señor Chaverri after 8th grade, or the Italy trip with the orchestra in my freshman spring. My last football game as a senior was something I’ll never forget. It was our best game that season and one of the most fun and emotional nights I had at Casady. Thinking about Casady and all of my best memories involved dear friends. I think that’s what I love most about it. Casady gave me relationships that have brought me so much joy and will last my lifetime.

What advice do you have for UD students preparing for college?

Luke: Enjoy your time now. It is one of the more special and memorable stretches of time you’ll have. Don’t worry or think too much about college. When college finally comes around, dive head-in and learn and explore a whole new environment as well as yourself. For those trying to figure out where they want to go and preparing as such, be yourself, as corny as it sounds. Don’t try to manufacture yourself. Find a school where you envision yourself well. Challenge yourself with a new environment. If you show who you are through your time in high school, then I am hopeful the right school will answer. 

Describe your school’s personality and what attracted you to your college. 

Luke: I’m not sure my school has one coherent personality between the different components that make it up, but it certainly has a signature characteristic: demanding. My school is demanding no matter what type of student you are or what you do, and that environment attracts a student body that is really ambitious in different ways. 

What are some fun traditions at your school?

Luke: Hahahaha, my school has some interesting traditions that I probably shouldn’t mention. One really great one is that we have a huge rivalry football game. Whether it’s home or away, people get really psyched for it, and it’s a lot of fun. Another is Housing Day in March where first-year’s are sorted into the Houses in which they’ll live for the next three years barring a successful housing transfer. It’s really fun, happens all day starting really early, and contains some smaller fun traditions within it.

What is your major/minor and what do you want to be once you graduate?

Luke: My major is Government, pretty much Political Science, and my minor is Ethnicity, Migration, and Human Rights. I want to go into law, particularly defense, reform, and voting rights, and also politics in different capacities.

What has been the greatest challenge for you while at college?

Luke: I think the greatest challenge has been finding my way and balancing academic and extracurricular pursuits. Both can be a lot and take away from the other.

What do you enjoy most about your school?

Luke: I enjoy the people. The faculty are incredible, but the students are really awesome. They are extremely diverse and come from all sorts of walks of life and parts of the world. I’ve probably learned the most just from being with and around my peers.

How are opportunities such as internships and study abroad woven into the curriculum?

Luke: Internships are very much an expected part of student life as well as a supported one. It’s really integrated into what a student interacts with on a daily basis, but the school does a pretty good job of providing resources and opportunities for students.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the Casady community?

Luke: I know since I have graduated, many faculty and other students have moved on as well. I just hope everyone is great, and I wish everyone the best. Casady is a special place and school, and keep pushing it to do even more and be even better.

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard is just across the Charles River from downtown Boston. Harvard’s undergraduate school, Harvard College, has 6,699 students, and its graduate schools have an additional 13,120 students. Freshmen live at the center of campus and upperclassmen live in twelve undergraduate houses, each with their own unique traditions.

Harvard was named after its original benefactor, John Harvard, who bequeathed his entire library and half his estate. Only one book from his original library survived a fire thanks to one student who had snuck the book out.

There is a lot of history and some fun facts with our country’s oldest college. Harvard’s first baseball team was formed in 1862 and practiced on Cambridge Common, the same place where General George Washington had taken command of the Continental Army. Some of the sidewalks in Harvard Yard are believed to be dented in by cannonballs that were thrown out of the dorm windows during the Revolutionary War. 

Harvard’s mascot is John Harvard, and their team name is the Harvard Crimson. When it comes to sports, Harvard’s most famous athletic event is the football game against their rival Yale, and is known as “The Game.” The Crimson have many football traditions, including singing the school’s fight song “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard” in both Latin and English in the locker room after every victory. Go Crimson!