What Some Harvard Students Don't Know …
What some Harvard students might not know are the fears other students may have around developing substance dependency issues.
College, for many, is our first time away from the pressures of home. As a result, students often experiment with substances. In a survey of 400 people, 82 percent stated that it is even normal to experiment with alcohol or drugs in college. Few would argue against social drinking. However, this leaves students like me who have had negative lived experiences with drugs and alcohol in an awkward position.
What some Harvard students might not know is how some students have experienced traumatic loss, impacting their psyche and interaction style with other students.
January 2020: My father suffered a sudden stroke in Phoenix, Ariz. I was living in Indiana. Per Arizona law, without a spouse, adult children must make any medical decisions for an adult patient unable to make or communicate health care treatment decisions for themself. Thus, my sister and I booked an immediate flight to Arizona. After a week in the hospital, he was deemed brain dead. He never spoke a word during that week or showed signs of awareness. We were left with the final decision to call his death, determine whether he would be an organ donor, and book a flight back home, all of which occurred in the span of twelve hours.
What some Harvard students might not know is how unconquerable the social scene at Harvard can appear to first-generation, low-income students.
From networking to forming new connections to making new friends to simply finding affinity groups and outlets for side-passions, studies show that social integration for FGLI students is difficult, which makes sense considering how interconnected finances and sociability can be. Since closeness arises somewhat out of a sense of shared experience, it is often harder for low-income students to feel like they can connect with a large portion of Harvard’s student body; a large portion of which does not necessarily share the same financial worry.
What some Harvard students might not know is this is the first time some of their peers have experienced medical relief in the form of health insurance.
Thankfully, I was very healthy during my adolescence and young adulthood. I rarely fell ill, was only hospitalized once (for a possible case of rabies from an animal bite… sorry, neighborhood dog), and never broke a bone.
What some Harvard students might not know is how Harvard’s investment in private prisons is an active divestment from the prospects of some of its current and future first-generation and low-income students.
At the age of five, many students begin to practice their writing skills by using guided exercises in a workbook. They follow the dashed lines that form the lip of a “P”; steady the lines at the top and bottom for an “I”; or lift before closing the circle to make a “C.” Meanwhile, when I was that young, I was writing full-page letters at my kitchen table for what seemed like hours.