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I'm sorry, where do you go to school again?

So you’re proud of being fluent in our school’s jargon and sounding like a proper upperclassman. Reality check: although you might as well get a language citation in Harvard, the skill of juggling terms like “proctor” or “SOCH” will not earn you points in real life.

Sadly, outside of our little bubble these terms have little relevance, so your use of college-specific lingo is going to result in either confusion or rolled eyes (they get that you go to Harvard). So start transitioning to real-world language to accommodate people who still say “finals clubs” and ask about your "major". Or double down on these obscure terms if you want to be that pretentious a**hole whose every fifth word is "Harvard".

Concentration and secondary

Although these terms are beloved trademarks of our school, people in the real world use words like “major”, “minor” and “course of study” to describe their academic specialization. But if you want to confuse or humblebrag, by all means tell them about your History of Eastern Slavic Literature secondary (you are sooo interesting).

Harvard Time

An important thing to remember—the real world does not operate on Harvard time. Seriously, your supervisor is not going to accept it as an excuse when you’re smug about being 7 minutes late.


Hate to break it to you, but nobody cares that you were punched by both the Porcellian and the Owl. You’re lucky if anybody has even heard of these frat surrogates (pray they actually saw the “Social Network”).


The timeless joke of “anything is better than HUDS food” is not going to make anyone chuckle (actually, that is true even at Harvard). So, please leave dining hall jokes to us.


Don’t disappoint the general public by revealing that we are not actually taught by Harvard’s world-renowned faculty. Although these professors are usually listed as course instructors, TFs are the actual teachers. Still, maybe it’s a good thing Mankiw only graced us with his presence like two times this semester?


Even upperclassmen forget about the torture that is Expository Writing immediately after freshman year. Don’t count on anyone outside of Harvard even remotely understanding the term.

Q Guide

Unfortunately, you can’t angrily decide to give your superiors a bad Q score every time they annoy you.

These obscure terms (plus many more) are a dead giveaway of your Harvard-ness. Seriously, your “I go to a school near Boston” won’t fool anyone unless you ditch the lingo.