Like any Yalie, I hate Harvard. I hate it, and I hate everything it stands for. It’s dreadful and disgusting. There is nothing redeeming about it.

I just feel that my critique could be somewhat stronger if I could get someone to tell me who or what Harvard is, precisely.

Generally speaking, I consider myself an observant person, so I don’t think it’s my fault, exactly, that I haven’t figured out what Harvard is yet. After all, the first time I ever heard the word was my freshman year, when I overheard my friends talking about it.

“Yeesh,” my friend Jean-Cristophe said. “I can’t believe how uppity Harvard is.”

“I know, right?” I said, wanting to sound smart and “in the know.” “She’s the worst.”

From this experience, I quickly gleaned my first piece of information in my long and ongoing quest to find out the identity of Harvard: if Harvard is a person, they do not use “she” pronouns.

Here are some other things that, from painstaking trial and error, I have discerned that Harvard is not:

-a brand of chewing gum

-a children’s toy, like a Matchbox car or non-toxic crafting dough

-the pen name of a reclusive novelist


-the subtitle of a “Fast & Furious” sequel

-youth slang for Connecticut Limo

-a very irritating, small bird that you can cook over a fire for dinner or fun

-an upscale brand of spork for sit-down restaurants

-Yale Daily News columnist Cole Aronson ’18

-a sort of “viral challenge,” like when I drank a gallon of milk so that people would think I was cool, and then I vomited all over the china hutch

-a tiny child with veiny, adult-sized hands that it uses to strangle geese

This is all very frustrating, because I want to be able to hate Harvard in the same way that all my friends do. Sometimes they have parties and don’t invite me, and I wonder whether it’s because I don’t know what Harvard is. Maybe Harvard is a crazy and dangerous drug that they are all taking, or a fun yet edgy website like Club Penguin or

As one would expect, I have done some research on the internet on the Harvard phenomenon. Most results seem to be forums where people are very scared about Harvard or are very angry at Harvard. They are never very clear on what Harvard has done to them, though. Maybe Harvard is an autoimmune disorder of some sort? If so, I feel that my friends’ jokes about it are wildly inappropriate.

Sometimes, I see people wearing shirts that say Harvard on them. I always make a point of asking these people, very politely, what precisely Harvard is. Unfortunately, their answers are never very helpful. “Harvard is an idea,” they say sometimes. “Harvard is a community. It’s all of us.” I assumed, for a little while, that this meant that Harvard was the pitch-black existential despair that lies at the bottom of the deep pit of the human heart, or maybe a new marketing campaign for deodorant, but I can’t get anyone to confirm or deny this.

I have tried so many things. I am so tired. I have prayed to every deity I know of, asking for answers, for peace from this question that plagues me. I scheduled an informational interview at Bridgewater for the sole purpose of asking the interview guy whether Harvard was a dabbing dance or maybe a type of parkour. He just laughed and asked me why my transcript said I had failed microeconomics three times in a row. I have written no fewer than nine unanswered We the People petitions asking President Obama to, for the sake of transparency, finally define the term “Harvard” for the American people. There is no rest from this. No one will tell me what Harvard is.

But. Anyhow. It is now the time of year when everyone is supposed to be mad about Harvard. This may be because Harvard is a type of really ugly tree fungus that is only visible when the leaves fall off, or possibly because it has something to do with municipal elections.

So, with that in mind, I would like to express, from the bottom of my heart, my sincere and unmitigated hatred of Harvard, and would ask that, if anyone would find the goodness in their heart to tell me what kind of thing Harvard is, or honestly even whether it’s a noun or a verb or maybe an adjective, I’d really appreciate it.