Karr gives up scholarship for Harvard campus


Courtesy of Mia Karr

Mia Karr (right) receives the Virginia Association of Journalism and Journalism Education Association award for Virginia Journalist of the year in 2015.

Although the move from Harrisonburg, Virginia to Cambridge, Massachusetts was daunting, Mia Karr, a junior at Harvard University, appreciates an academic challenge and getting out of her comfort zone.  

“I applied to a lot of out of state schools because I really wanted to experience something different. I liked the idea of going to a school where I didn’t know anyone even though it was really scary. I didn’t take applying to Harvard very seriously because I didn’t think I was going to get in, but I kinda felt like I might as well because I really liked Boston, so I was like ‘oh that seems like a really good reason to apply.’” Karr said, “I got in and I was kinda freaking out because I hadn’t been expecting or planning for that possibility. I just feel very lucky because there is so much luck involved. I’m glad that I took the risk of going there because it’s definitely been a very eye opening, once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Even though her original plan was to go to UVA because of a scholarship she had received, she hesitated on the offer and decided to chose Harvard instead.  

“I strongly considered going to UVA, which is also a great school. I think my main reason for not going there and choosing Harvard instead was just because I wanted to do something that was very new and very different and would push me out of my comfort zone and out of my bubble,” Karr said. “UVA is also an hour from home so it’s not exactly that.”

During the year, Karr writes for Harvard’s newspaper ‘The Crimson.’  She has written on ‘The Crimson’ the past two years and as of January she will become an associate managing editor for the ‘The Crimson.’

“We start our year term in January and I did two of those as a writer and then your third one, which we’ll start in this January, you become an editor and it depends on what editor position you have. We don’t actually have an editor in chief,” Karr said. “At the very top of our management structure we have a president and a managing editor and a business manager.  They all have slightly different tasks but they are sort of the people in charge of the whole building and then below the managing editor there are the two associate managing editors. I am one of the two associate managing editors.”

For ‘The Crimson,’ Karr got to interview an economics professor right after he had gotten a nobel prize. She thinks that it “seems impossible,” that ‘The Crimson’ prints out a newspaper Monday through Friday and a graduation issue called the Commencement issue.  

“Every year at the end of the school year so in may, ‘The Crimson’ produces a commencement issue. Commencement is what we call our graduation,” Karr said.“We produce this really long maybe a hundred page, color, print edition where we write these big stories that tackle big questions or sort of analyze big events that have happened of the course of the year and so that’s really hard because we have to pull together this massive thing in a week and a half. Everyone is working around the clock. We’re there from 9 A.M. to midnight for five days but that’s also a lot of fun.”

Karr lives on campus, as most students at Harvard do. As it is cheaper for most to live on campus. She lives in an upperclassmen dorm called the ‘Adams House’ with three other roommates.

“I live in the Adams House. How Harvard housing works is freshman year you live in a freshman dorm and you’re randomly assigned to a freshman dorm. After freshman year you get together with a group of up to 8 people and they put your whole group into one of twelve houses, they’re called, houses are just bigger dorms and you live there for the next three years.  This is my second year living in Adams,” Karr said.“It’s really nice. It’s very old, so the floors creak. It also has its own library which is really cool, it has its own dining hall where I eat all my meals. That’s a really nice way to make friendships in the house. I have a bedroom there, I live with three roommates, in one suite. We each have our own bedrooms and then we share a common room and a bathroom. It’s pretty nice housing for juniors and then I’ll even nicer housing when I’m a senior.”

As for her experience at HHS, she has expressed much gratitude for her time spent here as a student.  

“I think HHS is a special place because it’s kinda hard to see when you’re there, but I think going to college and getting more perspective and being with people who came from so many different backgrounds,” said Karr. “I feel thankful that I had the opportunity to be here and have the really passionate teachers that I did and be exposed to so many different types of people from different places. I think that’s a pretty unique opportunity.”

Although she wishes she would’ve been less stressed about college while at HHS, she knows that it’s always good to go out of your comfort zone.

“In highschool I was very stressed about college and I thought about that all the time. I think I would say that I didn’t expect to go to Harvard and then it worked out really well,” Karr said. “It would be nice to tell someone that even if you don’t go to a college that you always assumed you would go to and you go somewhere that’s out of your comfort zone, it’ll still have the potential to work out and be a really good experience. I’d tell myself to stress less, probably.  I don’t know if I’d listen to myself.”