This University and its faculty have no more important goal than helping you in this quest. How? It's hard to say. Fires can't be controlled. Passions can't be predicted or planned. You are all different.
But I give this advice:
First, follow your passion, not your calculation. What you will remember of your time here will be the special experiences, the things that really catch your imagination. Choose courses that cohere. Follow a program towards your objectives. But most importantly, do what catches your imagination. If there is something you really want to do, some curiosity that you want to pursue, make sure that you do it, and don't let anything stand in your way.
Second, the faculty is here for you. There is no more important responsibility for any of us as members of the faculty than teaching and working with you, the students of Harvard College.…I promise you -- I promise you that you will find faculty very willing to respond to your interests, to your curiosity, and to your invitations. Do not feel that you are ever wasting anyone's time pursuing your curiosity or your interest. That is what we are all here for.
The last thing I would say is focus on ideas. This is an extraordinary, rich, and diverse community. There are enormous opportunities of all kinds -- extracurricular, athletic, social. Those experiences will have a huge impact on many of you. But I hope that none of you will lose sight of how special this time in your life is. It's a time to learn. It's a time to expose yourself, as you likely will only do during this period in your lifetime, to ideas that are completely different from what you have done, what you have seen, perhaps even from what you will see.
You can focus on ideas. Remember that faculty is here for you, and pursue our passion. You, too, can be lighted on fire during your years here.