Impressions of a First Year

Harvard Junior High….

Think about it. They provide an endless supply of over-cooked, cardboard-crusted, sawdust-dry “pizza” to sedate us. We go batty when the professor turns off the lights and shows a video (each time a professor shows a video, it reflexively evokes these reactions as if we have never seen a video before). The teachers still have no idea how to use a VCR. We have assigned seats. We giggle and throw things in class. We have lockers. We need to ask permission to use the bathroom during class. If you miss class, you basically need a note from your mom to prevent them from expelling you.

We have dances, and it matters who you are taking to the dance (or you can go with a group of your friends as a contingency plan). We have popular kids. Geeks. Jocks. We have the rah rah cheerleader types juxtaposed against the kid that gets hammered on weekly by the skydeck (aka the in-crowd). Rumors spread faster than the section e-mail that got sent to the RC during Foundations. It’s all about fun. We even have a Principal figure. We probably have angst even, as can be clearly seen with my column.

Is it just me, or does this sound like grammar school rather than the nucleus of capitalism for the next half century and beyond? For the international students, I recommend setting your Tivo to record a classic American Television show called ‘Saved by the Bell’, which comprehensively and tragically frames the HBS social experience within its true bounds. The film ‘Sixteen Candles’ is also an able substitute.

For you ESTJ’s out there, I know this rant at first appears to be a drug-influenced exaggeration. But through some introspection, I think we can all identify with these feelings. In other words, I’m not the only one that suddenly snaps out of this Harvard dream state realize that I’m ‘grown-assed man’ rather than a 14 year old with acne. What should we do about this? Absolutely nothing. These will be arguably the best years of our lives, as we find ourselves, almost, devoid of significant responsibility beyond class participation. They take care of us, feed us, teach us, and cold-call us (aka punish us) and it’s great. I say live it up.

Or Harvard State Penitentiary

Here’s a switch to another off the wall allen-ogy. While the school is like junior high, one might argue that it better resembles a State Penitentiary. Our minds are always focused on bars. We are isolated from the general population by a river/moat if you will, probably because we and our ideas are considered dangerous. Once again, I will tap the pizza and say that while I expect that its original destination was probably a prison, I think it might border on cruel and unusual punishment to feed it to even the worst felon. But the most prison-like institution is the study group.

The study group, just like the gang in prison, is a prisoner’s, ahem, student’s means of protection. Study gangs give you information, steal from other gangs, stake out territory (in Spangler study rooms at night), and basically all around look out for you. But more importantly, if you don’t have a study group, you are basically Andy from “The Shawshank Redemption” when cornered by the red-haired guy. Basically, there is no other option beyond eating, showering, and sleeping with your study group, or else be left alone with inmate 1592943 nicknamed (within the walls) “The TOM Professor”.

The author, Allen Narcisse, obviously has too much time on his hands, has choice words for Section I’s football team, and should be working on getting a job and the Documentum case.
Go Section J Soccer!