Quora Repost: CS and Friends?
This is an answer to the Quora question "Are studying Computer Science at Harvard and having friends mutually exclusive?"
If you're not signed up on Quora, though, you can't read it, so I've reproduced the text here, mostly so I can reference it in Some Friendly (College) Advice. If you are a Quora user, here are the links to the original question on Quora, and my answer there.
In a word: no. In three words: haha, really no.
I've taken CS50 -- which is the hardest CS course most Harvard students will take -- and CS161 -- which is the hardest CS course at Harvard, full stop. 161 (Operating Systems) more or less ate my life (it didn't help that I was taking five courses that semester), and still I found time for my friends. When I was going into my third 20-hour coding day (you learn, eventually, that all-nighters are just inefficient), I would still take time to eat dinner with my friends -- and they were the ones that helped me get through that hell.
More than a few of my closest friends are people that I've met while working on some CS project (CS@Harvard is almost compulsively partner-oriented), but even so, it's not like I've only got a circle of CS friends; I'm one of two CS concentrators in my eight-person blocking group.
At the end of the day, CS might eat your life, but it won't eat your friends. They'll be there for breakfast after your all-nighter, and they'll be there to drag you to a party the weekend after your project is due. And, if my experience is any guide, you'll find people in the trenches with you who become some of your very best friends, when all is said and done.