What Some Harvard Students Don't Know …

By Jordan R. Robbins

Two Hospitalizations in Five Months: What Harvard Insurance Did that Mine Did Not

What some Harvard students might not know is this is the first time some of their peers have experienced medical relief in the form of health insurance.

Thankfully, I was very healthy during my adolescence and young adulthood. I rarely fell ill, was only hospitalized once (for a possible case of rabies from an animal bite… sorry, neighborhood dog), and never broke a bone.

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Harvard’s Prison Investments are a Divestment From Its Low-Income Students

What some Harvard students might not know is how Harvard’s investment in private prisons is an active divestment from the prospects of some of its current and future first-generation and low-income students.

At the age of five, many students begin to practice their writing skills by using guided exercises in a workbook. They follow the dashed lines that form the lip of a “P”; steady the lines at the top and bottom for an “I”; or lift before closing the circle to make a “C.” Meanwhile, when I was that young, I was writing full-page letters at my kitchen table for what seemed like hours.

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Being Blue-Collar at a White-Collar Institution

What some Harvard students don’t know is that going to college was never the only clear option for some of their first-generation, low-income peers.

The idea of “real work” is passed down within the family, which forces FGLI students to reconcile the premise of educational mobility with family values. Some first-generation college students come from families that would never define pursuing a post-secondary education as “work.” Instead, the mindset of starting from the bottom and working to the top is instilled as the most valid form of both social and economic mobility.

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Exploiting Adversity for Gain

What some Harvard students don’t know is how the lived experiences of first-generation, low-income students are often exploited.

Higher education is supposed to be the equalizing step between low-income students and dreams of financial security; however, while visually appearing equal, there are covert ways that the application process is actually anything but. Before they even arrive on campus, FGLI students are often forced to internalize the idea that their traumas are all they have to sell to admissions officers, creating a psychological barrier between them and others at higher education institutions.

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