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Kirkland-Eliot Fire Does Not Interrupt Evening Existential Crisis

"Part of the kitchen burned down today," read an email from a student sent over the Kirkland House list. "Just like my dreams."
Cambridge, MA — Though students briefly evacuated Kirkland and Eliot Houses on Monday evening after a small electrical fire broke out, the situation reportedly did not impede students’ regular evening existential crises.
 
Lon Doggins ’16, an Eliot resident who was in the dining hall at the time of the evacuation, said he was picking at his food and wondering if this is all there was when the alarm went off. “I didn’t think it was a real fire, honestly I wasn’t sure if anything was real at that point. Then a staff member told us to leave, and I thought, 'I wish I could.'”
 
The students were able to evacuate to the courtyard.
 
“On the way out you could see smoke coming from the kitchens,” said Lisa Lee ’18. Lee noted she was briefly afraid of breathing in the harmful smoke, until she realized it didn’t really matter anymore. “I wasn’t accepted to any a cappella group again this year. I always thought of myself as a singer. Now, I don’t really know."
 
According to many students, though potential bodily and structural harm should give them some perspective on what really matters, the fire left them more lost than ever. 
 
“I had a problem set I had to get done,” Eric Shaan ’17 said. “So I ran up to get it. Then it hit me. Do I really value a pset over my own life? Is that who I am now? Is this what Harvard does to people?"
 
Shaan paused to gaze up at his dorm window. “Do I even like chemistry? I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to consider whether I actually like it. I mean, I’m not really that great at it. My roommate’s better. I’m President of the Chemistry Club and I don’t even know why I’m studying it. Is being a doctor what I want to do with my life, or is it just what my parents want me to do?”
 
Chris Collins ’17, who was sitting on the porch in the Eliot courtyard, said he enjoyed watching the fire trucks at work.
 
“I love fire trucks,” said Collins wistfully, who added that he frequently watches firefighters at work in his home state of New York. “At least I used to. I wanted to be fireman when I grew up. I thought they were so brave.”
 
Collins stared down at the gravel beneath his feet. 
 
“Yesterday I signed on with BCG."
 
Image source: Nathan Wert/Wikimedia
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