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Given the recent debate over the future of Harvard's sister institution, it seems an apt time to reflect on that all-important Radcliffe institution: the Radcliffe T-shirt.
The Radcliffe T-shirt, a. k. a. the laundry shirt, is something for which we at Dartboard feel truly grateful. While we would, of course, never be so lax in our housekeeping as to need a laundry shirt, we praise Radcliffe for dramatically curtailing the number of topless appearances in class.
Furthermore, the Radcliffe T-shirt is a unique article of clothing. It's one of the few things we ever get from the University for "free" (you know you paid for it somehow).
But these practical implications obscure the most important function of the ever-present garment. The Radcliffe T-shirt provides the most useful analogy for a Harvard education: someone throws it at you when you aren't prepared for it, it's one size fits all and you do with it what you will.
A Brown undergrad Dartboard knows commented that Harvard men seem to wear the shirt more than women. We wrote off the comment, assuming it was because guys don't do their laundry as often. But it isn't. It's about fit. Those of us who are 5'1" and female find that the shirt hangs somewhere near the kneecaps. It makes a great nightshirt. Much like the shirt, the Harvard education is about adapting the less than ideal for our own purposes. So as you ponder the future of Radcliffe, remember she provides the shirt that helps you better understand your Harvard education.
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