Better Left (Un)Said
Freshman fall marked my first encounter with the study of economics. I barely understood anything from the textbook I occasionally read and the problem sets I passed only by the grace of God. The authority with which my classmates spoke convinced me that the population of idiot island was one: me. I wondered: Had everyone taken microeconomics before? Or was their command of entirely new academic territory a signal of my accidental admission here?
As in any good Catholic institution, instructors prepped for us for the heterosexual (and, in our case, upper-middle-class) life cycle. Accordingly, a statistics teacher informed us that numerically, STEM fields offered the best prospects for finding a husband. A drama teacher warned us that a woman should never marry a man prettier than her. Our school’s strict principal allowed us to write in our yearbooks that our dream futures involved marrying a lacrosse playing all boys’ prep school graduate and raising two children in the suburbs.
How would you describe Harvard students? Those aspiring to join our ranks might call us smart, the best and the brightest. We might like to think of ourselves as ambitious and hardworking. After three years on this campus, I Iament the reality unbeknownst to or ignored by both parties: Harvard students are exceptionally rude.
At worst, I find these modes of communication mildly irritating, mostly off-putting. At best, I appreciate the explicit signal warning me that I should never be friends with their proponents. As a senior, I’ve become accustomed to the student body-wide obsession with social climbing and status as reflected in everyday conduct. But one common question has unwaveringly irked me: What do your parents do?