Dear Harby

Harby, Satirical Advice Columnist

This month, as Dear Harby is enjoying a well-deserved October break amid the dunes of Cabo with her counterparts from the Law (Dear Torty), Design (Dear Artsy), and Divinity (Dear God) schools, we wanted to pass along a bit of Harbus humor history. Eleven years ago, one enterprising HBS student set out to examine life at our dear institution through a new lens, and for posterity’s sake we re-print it here, so that you may bear witness to the travails our ancestors endured, and marvel at how drastically things have changed since the Bush Administration. Enjoy, and see you next month!

50 Reasons why HBS is like High School

By The Harbus
Originally Published April 23, 2007

(Disclaimer – I am British, so my view of American High School Life is pretty much formed by American Pie, Beverly Hills 90210 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, my American friends assure me that the comparisons still work)

  1. Having a car on campus elevates your status immeasurably.
  2. At least 50% of your conversations involve the attractiveness or otherwise of your classmates.
  3. Doing something cool only counts if someone from school saw you do it.
  4. People will make assumptions about you based on which t-shirt you wear.
  5. Gossip travels really, really fast. Tell the person standing next to you who you hooked up with last night (invent someone if necessary) and by the time you have finished reading this article the sushi chefs in Spangler will know about it.
  6. We have quizzes.
  7. Everyone who is single keeps forgetting that you can meet people outside of school.
  8. We have lots of formals.
  9. People spend the first ten minutes of each formal being polite and then everyone gets drunk, dances badly and tries to hook up with inappropriate people.
  10. Being allowed to write on the chalkboard is a big deal.
  11. People make assumptions about you based on what you drink in class. (Coffee is much cooler than Mountain Dew, for instance, especially if it is from an off-campus coffee shop, proving that you have a Life Outside School).
  12. At any costume party there is a group who seems to have been told that the theme is ‘Slutty’.
  13. Everyone is deeply suspicious of faculty members who try to be ‘friends’ with their class.
  14. We have cycle stands outside.
  15. Every once in a while you catch yourself in class thinking ‘What the hell am I doing here?
  16. Your grades seem important at the time, but will become completely irrelevant as soon as you leave.
  17. People make assumptions about you based on rumors.
  18. We are supposed to study.
  19. It is always slightly surprising to see faculty members outside of class.
  20. It is downright disconcerting to bump into one of your professors in the gym.
  21. We eat in a cafeteria.
  22. Who you sit with in the cafeteria is vitally important for your social status.
  23. It is not just who you sit with, but who you are seen to sit with that matters.
  24. We have School Pride.
  25. Everyone knows who the rich kids are.
  26. Any journey with more than two classmates in the car feels like a road trip.
  27. Free beer will increase attendance at pretty much any event.
  28. All International students have an air of mystery.
  29. The Europeans always have more sex than the Americans.
  30. Loud people command respect, even if what they say is often dumb.
  31. We take team sports far too seriously.
  32. We have a prom.
  33. People will make assumptions about you based on what music you listen to.
  34. Your ringtone matters.
  35. We have lockers with combination locks. (I have not yet seen anyone sticking pictures of their boyfriend/girlfriend inside the doors, but I’m sure it happens.)
  36. We have cliques.
  37. Everyone denies being cliquey.
  38. We have mysterious invitation-only balls that are just like all the other formals except about a third of your friends aren’t there.
  39. People make assumptions about you based on what you do over the summer vacation.
  40. It is really important to look good in your Yearbook photo.
  41. People pass notes in class.
  42. The top three topics of notes passed in class are: how bored you are, the relative hotness of other people in the room and how much you would need to be bet to get the word ‘penis’ into a comment.
  43. Flip Cup is considered a reasonable answer to the question ‘what game shall we play?’ in any situation.
  44. People do keg stands at parties.
  45. People make assumptions about you based on what you write in the school newspaper.
  46. It is considered acceptable to discuss your classes at social events, even in front of people who are not at school.
  47. Vampires frequently break in and kill all the minor characters who weren’t in the last episode (Er.)
  48. Everyone is worried that their parents will do something embarrassing if they introduce them to their friends.
  49. People have photographs of you doing things that you probably shouldn’t have done.
  50. One day you are going to look back on those photos and feel very nostalgic.