Sean Palfrey's 100 Things


Photo by Dina Rudick / Boston Globe

Sean Palfrey's 100 Things to Do in Adams

Stressed, tired, bored, sad? - No, no, you’re in ADAMS! - There’s amazing stuff to do!  Take one of these a day and you’ll be well in the morning!  Dr. P.

  1. Paint a mural on a theme by Bosch or Pooh in the tunnels.
  2. Debate a timely topic with an eminent member of our SCR over lunch on Wednesday, then walk out early to get to class.                
  3. Dress up for Housing Day and celebrate those lucky few who made it into Adams house.
  4. Come to at least one Life Seminar, if not all of them, and dream up new topics that Harvard has never taught.
  5. Read a book in the famous Apthorp House Bathroom Library, or better,
  6. Read all the art or children's books in the Apthorp Library.
  7. Come to Faculty Deans' Teas (all of them), in fact,
  8. Join our Apthorp House Culinary Team and bake for a tea or two or three.
  9. Play IM sports (all of them, even those you've never heard of).
  10. Listen to Thesis Show presentations this Spring and sense the greatness that awaits you.
  11. Play a fugue on the great organ in the LCR.
  12. Perform at Drag Night, flinging all your inhibitions to the winds.
  13. Listen to, or read, a part in a Winnie the Pooh Reading at the Winter Feast.
  14. Freeze a friend in a snow ball fight in Randolph Courtyard, and drink hot chocolate in front of Apthorp fires afterwards.
  15. Play right field in a student vs tutor softball game.
  16. Travel the world via and 
  17. Host a Shakespeare play reading in the Pool, recreating the era of greatness when casts performed naked in those hallowed waters.
  18. Never miss a Smoothie Brain Break, or, in fact, never miss any Special Brain Break.
  19. Babysit for an Adamsbaby, discuss life or style with Luca, or take on Jack Palfrey in whiffle ball in the Courtyard if you dare.
  20. Pig out at Chocaholica on Valentines Day (and get there early because the most sketchy pieces go fast).
  21. Remember our mottos (all of them), and live and die by them, but consider new ones as well for the new world
  22. Stay up all night long, then eat breakfast at IHOP after helping HoCo run a house event.
  23. Work or play on cold Sunday evenings at Apthorp House in front of our fires.
  24. Find 13 stained glass windows in the house, and two dragons.
  25. Watch a ridiculous movie all the way through at a Carpe Noctem.
  26. Say BOO to Hanuman the Bali Monkey god as you enter Claverly.
  27. Have a Fireside Chat in front of FDR's fireplace
  28. Sit on FDR's very own toilet in B-17 if there is no one sitting there at the time.
  29. Learn to salsa or waltz before a dance and amaze your friends.
  30. Act the part of a randy housemaid in one of our annual French farces.
  31. Stumble into someone else's entryway study break and go back to work feeling well-loved and well-fed.
  32. Make friends with our elves, and grow a veggie or two, in the name of self-sufficiency and to the greater glory of a green Adams
  33. Pray to the elevator god in Claverly and hope you're heard this time.
  34. Check out the Edward Penfield paintings of his imagined 'college life' on the Coolidge Room walls.
  35. Admire close up (without touching) the real gold leaf in the Gold Room and dizzy yourself in the patterns of the moorish ceiling of the grand staircase.
  36. Hang out in the Claverly Keep, beyond the Mountaineering Club, down the stairs, under the unicorn tapestry ...
  37. Dream of Pompeii as you tread the cracks in the mosaic floor in G entry
  38. Hang out in the ArtSpace with some most ingenius friend and plan your first art show in the Squash Courts.
  39. Carve an amazing pumpkin for the Halloween Pumpkin-carving contest, and while you're in the mood,
  40. Organize a formal croquet or bocci match in the Courtyard, complete with all white garb and perhaps some boaters, sun bonnets or parasols
  41. Explore the Faculty Deans' costume closet and borrow a top hat, fishnet stockings, or an eye patch (but bring it back, clean, on pain of death).
  42. Scare the living daylights out of innocent school children in the Adams House Halloween party for Cambridge kids.
  43. Conjure up the Apthorp ghost, or find him company in the dusty reaches of some tunnel.
  44. Read the sassy Abigail's banter with her husband John under their portraits in the Dining Hall.
  45. Take a game of pingpong off one of the Faculty Deans Palfrey or Tai Chi Master Yon Lee, in fact,
  46. Learn Tai Chi from the cool and dangerous Master Lee on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
  47. Translate the Chinese text on the Keily Conservatory wall and heed its wisdom.
  48. Listen to a concert in the Lower Common Room or the library.
  49. Listen for the cry of our hunting hawk. watch her watch you from an Adams weathervane, and feel a shiver as she swoops.
  50. Zen out amidst the silver patterns of 19th C tea paper used as wall paper in an Apthorp closet.
  51. Submit a photograph for enlargement and display on the walls of the Small Dining room, Claverly, or elsewhere.
  52. Rummage through some long forgotten books in the Adams House Stacks
  53. Sculpt and show off your ripped abs in the Adams House gym.
  54. Find every kind of ball imaginable in the Apthorp Ball and Games Closet
  55. Check out the steam tunnels, where to enter is to die (of dust inhalation or hyperthermia).
  56. Watch a meteor shower from the tower.
  57. Make the singing bowl sing in the silence of the Apthorp Library.
  58. Write, produce and perform a one act play in the Kronauer black box theater, all in 24 hours.
  59. Print a love poem in the Bow and Arrow Press.
  60. Admire the 1920s graffiti of girls and boxers and flappers in the Apthorp House attic, and even,
  61. Write a paper on Apthorp's time as a prison for Gentleman Johnnie Burgoyne, or barracks for Revolutionary soldiers.
  62. Lead Adams House to its second ever Straus Cup IM Championship.
  63. Snowshoe with the Outing Club to the top of Mount Adams and fly our flag there for the world to see.
  64. Dress up with your blocking group for dinner some night, invite a tutor or professor, and revel in your pajama-clad friends' look of embarrassment or envy, or even,
  65. Make a celebration of it and arrange a Schmoozing with the Stars with some stars - amazing as it seems, they'll come.
  66. Build a boat to cross the River Stix, solve the murder of Colonel Mustard, dance in Hogworts Great Hall, or lead a Revolution at an Adams Formal .
  67. Feed a lion and face a Shaolin warrior at Chinese New Year
  68. Square dance in the Dining Hall till your feet go numb
  69. Watch a curious wood sprite near the Spirit House in Randolph Courtyard
  70. Count our gargoyles
  71. Find serenity in the little quiet space in G entry
  72. Dream an outrageous fantasy and make it happen on Fantasy Night
  73. Challenge Gary to a game of pool or even restart his annual pool tournament
  74. Revive whatever version of the famous Adams Raft Race the stodgy powers that be begrudgingly permit
  75. Find and admire Peter Sellers', Seamus Heaney's and Robert Frost's signatures hidden in Adams House, and find a first edition of the Voyage of the Beagle, complete with maps
  76. Follow all the rules of the Swimming Pool, then break a few, just for fun.
  77. Find the entrance to the solarium that used to be,and help plan its rebirth.
  78. Have some portraits taken by the Faculty Dean himself
  79. Unstress in the Seamus Heaney Suite, write poetry, dream, take many deep breaths and forgive all your tormenters their transgressions, just for a little while at least
  80. Speak several (not just your favorite) languages at the tables in the DH and discover who in our house speaks the most
  81. Apply for a fellowship you never thought you'd get and go somewhere amazing, then
  82. Come back and discuss what it really means to be a global citizen
  83. Make a table, decorate a guitar, build a bar, or simply learn to retrieve your favorite ring from a bottomless sink drain in the Apthorp Shop at a Life Seminar or with a friend
  84. Find Theodore Roosevelt's crib, Johnnie Burgoyne's and FDR's signatures
  85. Daydream in the Washburn Gallery and follow the moose tracks to your own magic mountain high
  86. Build an Eiffel Tower using the 3-D printer in the ArtSpace
  87. Laser cut a unicorn or dragon in your doorway sign in the Design Lab
  88. Discuss climate change with an ambassador during a Fireside Chat in the FDR Suite
  89. Gobble with the turkey in Randolph Courtyard


Amazing as it seems, there are things outside of Adams House that can and should and even must be done:

Explore the campus as you have now explored Adams House. Meander along the Charles, Check out the other ends of Cambridge, of Boston, of New England. Run, walk, kayak or canoe, or take the T to the end, and see what's there:  

Sail the Boston Harbor Islands, walk the Freedom Trail, smell the flowers in the Arnold Arboretum, walk the paths at Worlds End in Hingham, find model boats and world famous paintings at the MFA, ride the Swan Boats, shop on Charles St and Newbury St, be amazed by the murals in the Boston Public Library and the gold-domed State House, sail at Community Boating, ride the Carousel at Oak Bluffs, explore quaint fishing towns on Cape Ann, go claming with Judy (or at least eat clams at the original Clam Box in Ipswich), be scared in the Salem Witch Museum, walk into a different time and place in the Yin Yu Tang Chinese house inside the Peabody Essex Museum of the China Trade, check out the courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, swing through Fenway Park, take a Duck Tour and quack your way around Boston, watch the sharks nose to nose at the Boston Aquarium, eat and shop in Quicy Market, wander the colonial cemeteries of Boston, and find the Palfrey plot in the Mt Auburn Cemetery, (add your favorites here....)

                        Okay, so it might not be quite 100 things but there are more...