Harvard may have won the No. I spot in U.S. News and World Report'ssurvey of America's top 10 colleges, but the school does not fare as well when it comes to the "social life" category.
The typical Harvard social life complaint, according to Barron's Top 50: An Inside Look at America's Best Colleges, goes something like this; "No one has relationships here; it's all one-night stands after too much Bud and play at sympathy over a Husky Club at the Tasty."
And according to Lisa Birnbach's New and Improved College Book, the worst thing about Harvard is that the "social life sucks."
This is not news to Harvard undergraduates. Currier House T-shirts this year boast, "At least we got screwed freshman year."
Despite Harvard's low social life ratings, many first-year students come to the College with high hopes for an active life and maybe even a relationship here or there.
"I had hopes," says Eliot Z. Fishman '92. "I definitely was looking forward to having a relationship here."
Jill S. Oxley '92 says, "I was planning to be more social than I had been in high school. I wasn't thinking of Harvard as being any better or worse for relationships. It was just a different environment."
After the novelty of college life fades, however, Harvard as an institution may seem less sympathetic to undergraduates looking for love. Students seeking a relationship face many challenge, including a demanding academic schedule and time-consuming extracurriculars.
"There are a lot of demands on your time-from academics and extracurriculars," says Jessica I. McBee '92.
Even the nature of life at the College may threaten relationships. According to The Insider's Guide to the College 1992,life at Harvard "is fast-paced and intense. Most students arrive at Cambridge with definite goals in mind and are willing to work hard to achieve them."
Harvard's social habits are representative of its diverse student body. But many complain that there is "no middle ground" here. Relationships are characterized by the two extremes: the one-night stand or the three year plus commitment.
For example, Mark J. Mindich '92 says he has been reduced to scamming, even in the spring of his senior year.
"I thought senior year was supposed to be better. I haven't really found one person to go out with. This spring, I'm no longer looking for that, It's more a scamming type of thing," says the Eliot House resident.
In contrast, McBee, who has bee seeing her boyfriend for three and a half years, says that her relationship has "helped her get through Harvard at times."
The two extremes, however, are probably not a product of students discontent, Assistant Professor of Sociology Victoria D. Alexander says that in the late '60s and early '70s, there was a change in the way couples view relationships.
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