Where did you go to college?

Boston.

Nice, I went to college in Boston, too! Where in Boston?

Cambridge.

Ok. But which school did you go to?

Harvard.

Oh… [Insert awkward reaction here.]

Every Harvard grad I know – myself included – hesitates before saying “Harvard.” We went to one of the best universities in the world, and yet we hide it.

Around campus, there’s no hesitation before dropping the H-bomb. But outside of this bubble, the simple name elicits an number of unpredictable reactions.

Some people find it intimidating. They assume that you’re “wicked smaht” and avoid any deeper discussions with you. Some people put it up on a pedestal. They’ve never met anyone that went to Harvard and they treat you like an elite class. Some people hold it against you. They assume that you think you’re better than everyone else and they judge you before you speak again. Some people immediately insult you. They went to Yale.

Eventually, everyone gets over their initial reaction. Harvard students and grads are, after all, just normal people. But it is those first 15 seconds after dropping the name that fuel every Harvard grad’s hesitation.

I’m proud of my alma mater. I just don’t bring it up unless necessary.

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