How Harvard Has Messed Us Up for the Real World

By Arianna R. Kahn

Here at Harvard, we are taught by some of the best professors in the world, lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the hardest working and most engaged students. We are getting ready to become productive members of society, to make a difference as leaders. Some of us will go into public service, some into medicine, and many will work in finance or consulting. But, as much as we love it here, life at Harvard doesn’t always translate well for the real world in so many ways.

1) Not all food is unlimited

As much as we critique the interesting options HUDS provides, it is always useful to be able to go back for more when needed. Unfortunately, back in the real world, not all food is served in the buffet style that we live on. As much as we love covering our trays (if we use them) with Red Spiced Chicken, Cuban Sandwiches and bowls of TomBasRav, once outside the bubble, most dinners probably won’t provide the Freshman 15 experience you can get with a swipe.

2) Non- HUDS late night food doesn’t always mean burritos and burgers

It may be confusing to think, but when some folks are hungry, they don’t immediately decide between Tasty or Felipe’s. Depending on where you go, you can have more or less places to eat at 3 a.m. in the morning after a long night of.. studying.

In fact, some people also cook for themselves with their own kitchen (which is uncommon if you don’t live in DeWolfe). In real life, not everything has to be fast food, or made in a kitchen which you share with at least 10 other people.

3) Not everywhere runs on Harvard Time

At this point of the year, being seven minutes late to class and other Harvard events is more than a guideline. It is a way of life. However natural it may feel now due to the Harvard way of life, showing up seven minutes late to everything else is going to land you in hot water with just about everyone, whether it is future jobs, dates, or family meetings. And they definitely won’t appreciate it if you try to tell them it’s just a Harvard thing.

4) Not everyone gets the Harvard slang you know

Being at Harvard introduces to a whole new world of vocabulary, just when you thought just dropping the “H word" was elitist enough. Despite our hope that everyone will always understand us when we talk about life in Cambridge, mentioning terms and phrases like “getting Quadded,” “comping,” and “punching,” you’re more likely to get blank faces.

For example, we have concentrations here, not majors. We have secondaries, not minors. You know how pretentious it makes you feel, but you always have to pause when someone asks you what your major is, and you have to make a judgement call on whether or not to correct them.

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