The Grass Is Greener

Re-selling Harvard to myself

It’s that time of year again. Mini-skirts become minier, trees splendidly secrete pollen, toes are exposed—but the unfortunate majority only experiences this budding situation through a window in Lamont between 20-page papers. From nature’s yearly cycle comes a vicious cycle: “It’s a gorgeous day, so I don’t want to do work, so I can play frisbee, so now I have even more work to do and now it is a balmy night, but I can’t go outside to play glow-in-the-dark frisbee because I played frisbee earlier, but maybe I…alas, but that it were winter again!”

With April flying by at the speed of an errant frisbee and my workload piling up as high as last winter’s snow, I found an unlikely source of motivation and existential happiness: pre-frosh.

So far, three prospective Harvard students have slept on my “futon”-—a broken, wooden frame covered by a limp, shapeless mattress—and overcome the searing back pain thereby induced to ask me why they should come to Harvard, rather than Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and every other school to which you are guaranteed admission if you can get into Harvard.

After mendaciously convincing these chipper pre-frosh that the weather is always this pleasant, I still had to convince them that they shouldn’t go to Stanford. And suddenly, I remembered a guy who came to my high school to talk about counterfeit money. “To detect counterfeit bills,” I intoned, “it isn’t necessary to learn every single counterfeiting technique—in fact, you don’t have to know any technique. You must learn everything there is to know about the real dollar—the way it feels, the way it smells, the way it tastes—and that way, when you see a fake, you’ll just know. Friends, Harvard is the real dollar bill, and Stanford is merely a photocopy made on a dime-operated copy machine at a run-down Kinko’s.”

At this point, the pre-frosh looked at me askew, as if to say, “Man, these Harvard kids are way into pretentious metaphors. What a tool. Hello Yale!” So I clarified by explaining that though I clearly have not attended any other college, over the past six months I have learned this college in and out. As the dam of experience broke, memories welled up, my Harvard stories began to spring from my mouth, and the pre-frosh discovered that I was not only a fountain of information, but a reservoir of awful puns as well.

I told the pre-frosh about directing a play that I co-wrote, taking a class on swing music, my awesome professors, the uncanny success of freshman rooming assignments, being a Jewish girl in an African gospel choir, how people at Harvard really aren’t nerds, and how Boston was great—unless you are a Yankees fan. Amidst a week of work and bustle, the rosy-cheeked high schoolers caused me to actively remind myself why I love Harvard. In disclosing to them the secrets of this brick-and-ivy municipality, I finally transcended the stack of textbooks on my desk and came to an objective understanding of my life at Harvard.

Whether or not my pre-frosh attend this springtime home of frisbee playing, sunbathing, and flip-flops, my interaction with the young visitors left me reassured that despite occasional noises about Harvard student dissatisfaction, I could never be happier anywhere else.

Oh, and pre-frosh: I lied about one thing. People at Harvard really are nerds.

Aliza H. Aufrichtig, a Crimson editorial comper, lives in Canaday Hall.