In just a few days, swarms of crimson-clad Harvard students will descend upon Yale’s campus for the annual Harvard vs. Yale football game. Although I will undoubtedly take pleasure in watching Yale destroy our rivals on the field, I’ve decided to exercise empathy by putting myself in Harvard students’ shoes. Below is my best attempt at imagining the confusion that a Harvard student endures after stepping foot on Yale’s campus. 

One cannot exist on this campus for five minutes without hearing someone mention GHeav. Thus, the first problem that Harvard students will face is the inevitable confusion regarding Good Nature Market’s nickname. Allow me to set the scene. You are a Harvard student at one of the mixers that Yalies have so graciously decided to host for you. You are having an amazing time because, duh, you’re at Yale, and before you know it, “Closing Time” blasts through the speakers. Beyond the humiliation of being one of the last individuals in a frat, you have another problem: you’re starving. You ask a Yalie for late-night snack recommendations, and — of course — they mention GHeav. Okay, great. Just put “GHeav” into Google Maps, and you’ll be set, right? Wrong. Although the market hasn’t been named Gourmet Heaven in years, the shorthand persists, probably just to confuse freshmen and visiting Harvard students. 

If you have any doubt about whether Yale lives up to its stereotype as “The Gay Ivy,” look no further than Yalies’ footwear choices. No matter where you find yourself, you are guaranteed to see at least three different iterations of Doc Martens. Never mind the fact that these shoes give everyone terrible blisters. Wear thick socks and suck it up — we have an image to uphold! Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are queer people at Harvard. But, if I were a Harvard student, I’d be confused and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of this black pleather footwear around campus. 

There is a 90 percent chance that, no matter where you find yourself at Yale, you can find a Handsome Dan graphic lurking in your peripheral vision. This is not unique to Yale. Go to Penn State, and you cannot walk two feet without seeing a Nittany Lion poster. But, for Harvard, whose mascot is… John Harvard??… the concept of school spirit is probably a bit foreign. And it’s not just pictures of Handsome Dan that Harvard students will have to face. On the field, Crimson football players will be forced to watch the slobbering beast as he supports Yale from the sidelines. 

Yalies are so much more than our affinity for GHeav, Doc Martens and Handsome Dan. But if I were only on campus for 24 hours, I’d confidently define the institution by these three obsessions. Maybe if Harvard students were here for longer, they would uncover Yalies’ complexities and nuances — you know, like the love we harbor for The Jitter Bus and the frequency with which we invoke the word “juxtaposition” in seminars. But, luckily for Yalies, the limited duration of Harvard students’ visit to campus allows us to maintain a healthy level of mystery that keeps the Crimsons wondering. 

Emily Aikens is an Associate Beat Reporter covering faculty and academics at Yale. Originally from Pennsylvania, she is a sophomore in Trumbull College studying English.