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I went to Harvard. Why you shouldn't go.

This is a couple years old but it's important. It's confirmed what I've always felt -- that getting into Harvard is just a box checking exercise

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by Anonymousreply 49January 14, 2022 12:44 PM

The older I get, the more I realize school is what you make of it. I’ve known people who went to colleges I hadn’t heard of or no college at all, but were lifelong learners and took a lot more initiative than I did in educating themselves. I missed a lot of opportunities because to me they were just assumed.

So, Harvard would have been valuable for self-starters because of the chance to learn from absolutely brilliant professors and make social connections with powerful people (or soon to be). But if your goal is really learning, you can achieve that in a lot of different environments.

by Anonymousreply 1January 11, 2022 2:31 PM

Thank you OP for posting. Stephen Black is an important voice.

by Anonymousreply 2January 11, 2022 2:34 PM

[quote] lifelong learners took a lot more initiative than I did in educating themselves. I missed a lot of opportunities because to me they were just assumed.

Could you expand on what sort of opportunities you missed, and what initiative was lacking? AFAF..

by Anonymousreply 3January 11, 2022 3:01 PM

[quote] we were and are white cisgender straight men, the most privileged class in America.

That line from the article in OP's link tells you everything you need to know about the author and the article. It even comes with a "trigger warning" at the beginning (yes, he actually uses those words).

by Anonymousreply 4January 11, 2022 3:23 PM

If the education of comparable to what you would get at any top 250 school, that isn’t a reason NOT to go to Harvard. It would only be a reason if the education was worse.

The whole point of going to Harvard or a similar school IS the privileged classmates. Even if you are just some schmuck whose parents are dentists you can make contacts that will smooth your path. Sure, it won’t be as smooth as the paths of the children of presidents and CEOs, but it will be smoother than the path of your cousin who went to UC Irvine.

by Anonymousreply 5January 11, 2022 3:24 PM

I went to Harvard for a year (Harvard was a family tradition), a miserable year freezing in the Harvard yard. My cousin (female) was at MIT down the street, and it was worse there. She transferred to Cooper Union (which was free at the time).

I transferred to Berkeley and those were some of the best years of my life. My life was in no way impacted by this. I went to med school and top residency. I have 2 former roommates that are doctors, none are going to win Nobels.

by Anonymousreply 6January 11, 2022 3:28 PM

This I think is also true of Oxbridge. My former best-friend (like a sister, really) of long years went there from our grammar school, and she came back with a massively-inflated ego and sense of entitlement. She wouldn’t even deign to talk to people she was once friends with.

by Anonymousreply 7January 11, 2022 3:28 PM

^^it was Cambridge she attended, I should mention. For veterinary medicine.

by Anonymousreply 8January 11, 2022 3:29 PM

I went to Princeton, not that dramatically different than Harvard.

There were some kids, like the author, who focused on the privilege and decided they were not worthy and didn't fit in.

There were other kids who were not hung up on it and they had a much better time. They focused on the things they had in common with their classmates, not the things that made them different.

At the end of the day though, the Harvard name is going to open a lot of doors and for that alone, it's worth going if you get in

by Anonymousreply 9January 11, 2022 3:33 PM

Oxford and Cambridge admissions place far more emphasis on ability and achievement than the admissions at prestigious US schools. And athletics and legacy status don’t really come into play. Obviously, people with money and their own Oxbridge educations are going to know to help their kids work the system, but overall it’s much more transparent and fair. So I would assume that the undergraduate education provided is more rigorous (since the students are all qualified), albeit more narrow. Obviously being a vet doesn’t make you an intellectual. But she’s probably a good vet.

by Anonymousreply 10January 11, 2022 3:36 PM

A friend of a friend went to Harvard and said it wasn't worth it at all. She wishes she'd gone to a school that paid more attention to its students rather than cramming them into large lecture halls. She says Harvard is fine for graduate school but not undergrad.

by Anonymousreply 11January 11, 2022 3:57 PM

Also, FWIW, in 2022 all of the Ivies have heavily cut back on admitting legacies (unless the family are big donors) and pretty much can make the class look like Noah's Ark

Athletes do still have preference though and the Ivies all still have the sorts of sports (squash, lacrosse, field hockey) that are pretty limited to high schools with upper middle class student bodies.

But one of the reasons college admissions freakout is at such a high level in certain sectors is that all of the things that used to (more or less) guarantee admission are out the window, especially legacy, while being the first kid in a family to ever go to college is now a huge plus.

by Anonymousreply 12January 11, 2022 3:59 PM

I get all that, but the reality is a Harvard degree does pay off in important ways.

by Anonymousreply 13January 11, 2022 4:06 PM

[quote] Obviously being a vet doesn’t make you an intellectual. But she’s probably a good vet.

Yes, R7/R8, that is true of my friend in this case. Outside of biological sciences, she’s actually of rather average intelligence, and has what I would describe as surprisingly poor literacy for her profession and age group. At school I used to correct and write her essays all the time. She also hasn’t a lick of taste, and though blessed with a naturally good singing voice isn’t much for the Arts either. Luckily, she’s a dab hand at badminton and she’s very forthright in a butchy way, which impressed or intimated the professors who interviewed her for admission, I imagine.

by Anonymousreply 14January 11, 2022 4:41 PM

^^^of course I meant to type ‘intimIDated’. Can’t stand typing replies on iPhone...

by Anonymousreply 15January 11, 2022 4:42 PM

Just read "Part 2" of the piece at link.

The guy would have been miserable wherever he went to school. Or, more accurately, he should have gone someplace like Oberlin.

TL;DR is he got caught up in the Finals Club recruitment because his older brother had been in one and eventually got blackballed. These articles are his revenge.

This sentence pretty much sums up who he is (and why I suspect he may be a Datlounge Maiden Aunt)

[quote] I began swigging shots from the communal bottles, fears of germs and oral herpes be damned.

He also disses FDR for saying he enjoyed his time at a Finals Club over 100 years ago, and then goes into a whole lengthy rant about how they encourage rape culture.

He is also recently gay. His bio says he came out at age 35 and in the article at the link (from 2019) he explicitly refers to himself as straight.

by Anonymousreply 16January 11, 2022 4:47 PM

The author admits that he looked the other way when it came to displays of casual racism, misogyny, etc in the Fox Club until he was unceremoniously cast out. I suspect these articles would not exist if he had eventually been allowed to join.

by Anonymousreply 17January 11, 2022 5:15 PM

R4 is a mediocre white man mad that the mask has been ripped off.

by Anonymousreply 18January 11, 2022 5:25 PM

There is a qualitative difference between schools - both in terms of the contacts you make and the caliber of discussion in the lectures.

I went to a top school for undergrad. Then attended a state university while working full-time to take 2 classes a term (fall, spring, summer) for 3 years so I had a solid foundation for grad school (econ and business classes like marketing, accounting, and finance). I breezed through the state university classes with less effort than I expended in high school. By the end, I had enough credits in the undergrad business school to have a BA degree in business if you combined it with the prerequisites I had from my original undergrad degree.

Frankly, I laugh out loud when I hear people whining about how difficult it is to work full-time and go to school. I could easily have finished an undergrad degree in five years or less at an average state university with a 4.0 gpa (as I had with the classes I took during those 3 years).

by Anonymousreply 19January 11, 2022 5:36 PM

This guy needs an editor.

Ivy League schools have turned into a bastion of "woke" indoctrination that is now infecting corporate America, with "state your pronouns", chainging the Gay/Lesbian groups to "Queer", and the TRANS taking over all aspects of LGBTQIA+.

I"m actually kind of embarrassed to be an Ivy alumnus now.

by Anonymousreply 20January 11, 2022 5:47 PM

The author of this article sounds like an obnoxious whiny person desperately scrambling around for something to be oppressed about.

Here he comes out as "queer".

[queer]I am queer.

[queer]I am a thirty-five-year-old cisgender queer man.

[queer]I’m sharing this part of me publicly for the first time.

[queer]It took thirty-five years for me to come out.

[queer]It took almost that long for me to accept my own queerness. Ironically, being in a stable, loving relationship with a woman — the first real relationship of my life — allowed me to confront my queerness.

[queer]Until the moment I post this, the only person who knows that I’m queer is my partner, Jame.

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by Anonymousreply 21January 11, 2022 5:47 PM

lol, I must have copy/pasted the word queer. Anyhow, the post reads better like that. DL should at some point get a proper quote function.

by Anonymousreply 22January 11, 2022 5:48 PM

Here the queer author kisses his female partner as he publicly comes out as "queer".

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by Anonymousreply 23January 11, 2022 5:50 PM

I went to Stanford undergrad and then went to Harvard for a PhD. Stanford was a major disappointment. Like Harvard, way too many legacy kids, but also very few people who were as bright as you might expect -- the school has a weird anti-intellectual vibe, and if you were caught reading a book for fun instead of playing frisbee you were considered weird. So the students tended to hide their intelligence. Regardless, most of them seemed to want the dullest careers possible: everyone I knew became a white collar professional of some sort, doctors, lawyers, accountants, hedge fund managers; all successful, none interesting.

Harvard grad school is obviously different than undergrad but at least there was no anti-intellectual bias. We had to deal with undergrads a lot though and they were the most entitled group of people I ever met. They were, however, smart, and not in any way interested in hiding it.

You go to a good school not for the education -- as pointed out, the top 150 schools or more will pretty much give you the same basic lessons -- but for the contacts you make in life. And for the people you want to meet. I should have gone to Bard, or Reed, or Oberlin.

For meeting people who will run the world, however, Harvard is indeed useful.

by Anonymousreply 24January 11, 2022 5:52 PM

I've been to Harvard, but I've never been to me.

by Anonymousreply 25January 11, 2022 5:54 PM

[quote] Regardless, most of them seemed to want the dullest careers possible: everyone I knew became a white collar professional of some sort, doctors, lawyers, accountants, hedge fund managers; all successful, none interesting.

How do you know those aren't interesting careers to them? Just because those careers are not your thing, why shouldn't they be theirs? (I do not have any of those careers, btw.)

by Anonymousreply 26January 11, 2022 6:02 PM

You can't make this shit up

Our erstwhile Harvard-hating author is a college admissions counselor who was, it seems, in deep with Harvard Admissions and trading on it big time.

[quote] Stephen is an extremely experienced mentor for students and has put that expertise together with his experience on the Harvard admissions board to be an admissions consultant for Admissionado, where he helps college applicants get into schools all over the world.

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by Anonymousreply 27January 11, 2022 6:18 PM

Wow, R27. Exposed! What a fraud.

by Anonymousreply 28January 11, 2022 6:20 PM

[quote]I went to Harvard...I have 2 former roommates that are doctors....

Oh, dear.

[quote]I went to Princeton, not that dramatically different than Harvard.

Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 29January 11, 2022 6:25 PM

They are coming out with so many promising treatments for Asperger's Syndrome.

by Anonymousreply 30January 11, 2022 7:30 PM

R19. You obviously weren't double majoring in biochemistry and the classics at Berkeley because I can assure I worked damn hard to get Phi Beta Kappa there.

by Anonymousreply 31January 11, 2022 7:40 PM

Harvard was not the place for him obviously. But why get involved with the final club/frat crowd at all. Some of the essay is ok but then it vears off into rape culture,etc. I'm not saying that isn't a problem but is that major issue at Harvard? If you read all his essays, they're mostly about his various health issues, his trauma, his friends who are abused, etc. with lots of trigger warnings. He seems like a mess without much insight into his own issues Just lots of buzz words.

by Anonymousreply 32January 11, 2022 8:08 PM

R27 you know, I had wondered if his MO for writing such a piece was nefariously to put prospective candidates off applying. Seems my intiution may be correct.

by Anonymousreply 33January 11, 2022 8:44 PM

"But why get involved with the final club/frat crowd at all. "

Because again, the education at Harvard isn't really different from any good university, what makes it special is the chance to make contacts among the rich and social elite. And how do you get to know the social elite and the children of the rich and powerful? You join the clubs and frats! And you accept that they aren't going to really accept you as an equal, because your plan is to capitalize on the relationships rather than making actual friends!

None of this is new, BTW, I had a relative who went to Harvard in the 1950s and spent the rest of his life being disappointed that it didn't automatically make him rich and powerful. Yes, he's been moderately successful, but then so were his brothers who went to in-state colleges. Maybe his mistake was coming home to the midwest, where he couldn't capitalize on whatever social contacts he'd made.

by Anonymousreply 34January 11, 2022 9:09 PM

Radcliffe girls are easy.

by Anonymousreply 35January 11, 2022 9:19 PM

At university I made a similar mistake, not socialising enough or with any savvy.

Spent most of the time locked in my dorm/house and crying in the dark, made no friends, and missed a lot of classes too. If you can believe it, I didn’t even have sex once! I was miserable and very alone in the new city—lovely a place as it was—a day’s travel away from the home I’d never really left. My rural roots and provincial education as well as my naïveté stood me out from all the other students, and I was teased and excluded as well as treated with suspicion by them—I was bullied in high school too, but this was worse.

Many kids thrive when thrown in the bigger pond, but I just floundered and almost drowned. I went home a year early, and moved back to my old county where I went to high-school and had my first jobs (then made the mistake of remaining there another several years, but that’s another story).

Ultimately I shouldn’t have gone away to school when I did, as I went in a very depressed state, full of ennui and going through grief at the time, plus I had no career plan or life direction for my studies or work life to follow. I just went because it was what was expected of me, and because everyone else I knew my age from home and school was going away too. If I could go back and do it over again, I’d wait and work in my hometown for three-to-five years after high-school, and then apply and attend a university (as a mature student) with a specific plan for what I wanted to do and why. I feel so guilty some days (especially given what university students are going through right now with the pandemic) that I wasted a perfect opportunity to make friends and have fun and get my own life on my terms, all because I was in such a dark place and wouldn’t get help.

Technically, I can still get government financial aid for one final year of education if I want it, so I suppose I could get closure that way. Sadly, what I want to do doesn’t really call for a degree or more schooling!

The whole ordeal is like unfinished business that is haunting me to this day. It’s the worst when higher education comes up in conversation, as I never have anything but negativity to contribute to the discussion, despite my having gone to a good university for three years.

by Anonymousreply 36January 11, 2022 9:21 PM

R4 and people who complain about "trigger warnings" are the ones who are terrified of right-wing boogeymen like "critical race theory"

by Anonymousreply 37January 11, 2022 9:24 PM

^^want to add the happiest, most sociable, and most active and fulfilled students at my university seemed to be the older/mature students, the 25+ crowd. I think that many teens and early 20s people of the most recent generations are not mature enough to cope with independence right after high school.

by Anonymousreply 38January 11, 2022 9:24 PM

R32: You must have missed the statistics in his essay indicating that rape culture is a problem.

Harvard as being better (academically) for grad school than undergrad is an observation that has been around for many decades, along with the idea that Harvard could be characterized as difficult from an admissions standpoint but not very difficult to graduate. Harvard opens doors but so do a lot of place, particularly ivies and for grad school places like Oberlin, Williams, Reed, etc. as well as the highly ranked state schools and the rung of places below the Ivies like WashU, Duke, etc. There also are places that have "a good name", although they're not that great academically like the weaker Big 10 schools and a lot of the classic safety schools.

by Anonymousreply 39January 11, 2022 9:44 PM

This guy tries to dress Harvard down but I'll bet he has a Harvard bumper sticker on his car and a Harvard tie that he wishes he could wear more often.

by Anonymousreply 40January 11, 2022 9:56 PM

[quote][R19]. You obviously weren't double majoring in biochemistry and the classics at Berkeley because I can assure I worked damn hard to get Phi Beta Kappa there.

LOL - based on your reading compehension skills, r31, I can see why you probably would have a problem at any school, let alone a top one.

However, if you'll notice, I was actually saying that there is a qualitative difference between the "top tier" schools and other schools. They are, in fact, more difficult and provide a better education. Lectures are more in-depth, discussions are better, exams are more difficult, grading has a higher bar, and the absolute amount of material covered is significantly more.

As I noted, it's quite possible to attend a state university without much effort. While attending a better school, like Cal, is actually difficult.

by Anonymousreply 41January 11, 2022 10:15 PM

R37 still thinks "trigger warnings" are a thing. News flash: no one uses that term anymore.

by Anonymousreply 42January 13, 2022 11:15 AM

R40 🎶”he jumped like a Yale man!”

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by Anonymousreply 43January 13, 2022 11:18 AM


by Anonymousreply 44January 13, 2022 1:10 PM

Imagine dropping 200 grand to hob nob with a bunch of spoiled brats and do a series of box checking exercises.

by Anonymousreply 45January 13, 2022 1:23 PM

Harvard is what you make of it.

by Anonymousreply 46January 13, 2022 1:24 PM

Straight white man of means begs younger people not to attend his Alma Mater, so as not to dilute the exclusivity or sully the purity of his overpriced degree.

by Anonymousreply 47January 14, 2022 10:40 AM

Well he identifies as Queer now, R47.

by Anonymousreply 48January 14, 2022 12:42 PM

Tell the author about trigger warnings being over.He includes them at the beginning of his writings.

by Anonymousreply 49January 14, 2022 12:44 PM
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