The Real 3 Lies of Harvard

By Tina Chen

If you’ve ever been on a Harvard tour, you’ve probably heard the tour guide refer to the John Harvard statue as “The Statue of 3 Lies.” (Bonus points to you if you know what these lies are). While Harvard is an exciting place to be, it also comes with its bulk of challenges to overcome and myths to debunk. Here, Flyby shares the real three lies of Harvard that we’ve learned over the course of our years here thus far.

Lie #1: You need to commit your whole heart and soul to one passion.

My friend says this all the time: “Normalize not having a passion.” As an incoming freshman, it’s okay to know what you want to study and have a four-year plan saved on your phone; it’s also just as okay to not have any idea whatsoever. The best part about Harvard is arguably the ability and opportunity to try new experiences that you probably wouldn’t have the chance to do so elsewhere. Want to take a random class in some obscure niche field? No time like the present! Not sure if you want to try a new extracurricular activity? Give it a try, you never know! And hey, so many students come to college intending to do one thing and then change their minds multiple times over the course of the next four years. No matter what you have planned — or don’t have planned — Harvard is a great place for you to pursue new adventures and explore new passions.

Lie #2: You’re definitely going to meet your best friends and soulmate in your freshman fall semester.

Freshman fall is an exciting but overwhelming time — you will be meeting new people every day, in classes and dhalls, at parties and events. You have probably heard from at least one upperclassman that they met their blocking group and person they are currently dating in their first week of college. For every person who says this, there is another who will say that they struggled to find their footing socially in freshman fall, and it took them a while to find their core group of friends. Remember that everyone’s experience is different, and focus on having a good time with your new peers. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and on every interaction you have. Be open to meeting new people in new situations. It will work out, even if it at first doesn’t feel like it!

Lie #3: You’ll get to do everything you want to do at Harvard.

Harvard offers incredible opportunities! From internships in Spain to clubs that host formals on islands and boats, there are things you can do at Harvard that you truly cannot do anywhere else. What they don’t tell you is that there are more things that you can sign up for — more clubs, more jobs, more courses — than you’ll ever be able to do during your short time in College. Don’t let this deter you from enrolling! Coming to Harvard will truly open the door to this excess of opportunities for the rest of your life. However, make sure you’re not too hard on yourself when you can’t join a hundred clubs in the first semester or go to the seven parties being thrown on a Saturday night.

Now that you know the truth, will you still say yes to Harvard? We hope so! Want to learn more about this school and all of its quirks and perks — read more articles on our Guide to Visitas feature as well as on the rest of the blog!

FeaturesFlyby BlogVisitasFeatures and Series

Harvard Today

The latest in your inbox.

Sign Up

Follow Flyby online.