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Harvard grads: "I went to school in Boston"

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by CaNEM, Oct 18, 2002.

  1. CaNEM

    CaNEM Senior Member
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    Every time you ask a graduate of Harvard undergrad where they go/went for their undergrad, they say "I go/went to school in Boston." You have to follow up on the question to actually find out they went to Harvard.

    Any Harvard students or grads here who can shed some light on this? Is it true that at the school, they actually tell you to say "Boston" rather than Harvard?
     
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  3. xaelia

    xaelia neenlet
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    In casual conversation, I consciously avoid specifically saying I went to Stanford if it doesn't sound too awkward; I'm sure they're trying to avoid the same problem of potentially seeming pretentious from the name-dropping.
     
  4. cabruen

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    Weird that you mention that. I attended MIT, but I whenever I am asked where I went to college...I just answer "in Boston". Almost everyone else I know who went to MIT does the same thing. You quickly learn that you don't want to deal with people's reponses like "ooohhhh, math genious.". Maybe Harvard Medical School people have the same issue.
     
  5. tBw

    tBw totally deluded
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    I wasn't a Harvard u/g but I did used to work there and when people ask me why I came to the U.S. I still say "I was offered a job in Boston...."

    If you want to know why people do this try telling a few people that you went to Harvard. There are usually a couple of reactions to this - usually involving assumptions about how stuck up you are, what a brain-nerd you are, how much money you must have oozing from your trust fund, and how it is fair game to be completely rude to you as you are some hoighty-toighty HARVARD person and they are speaking on behalf of the common man...or they can just be completely intimidated. Now speaking personally, none of these things are true of me (I'm far from rich, my family live off givernment assistance, I'm not the sharpest knife in the draw, etc) and none of these options make for a smooth social interaction, so you rapidly get tired of any and all of these responses (if you are normal and don't *try* making people think you are either rich or super-smart - which certainly some people do, but then they normally say they went to Harvard....)...and you just start describing it as "Boston". 99.99% of the time you get away with it too ;)
     
  6. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member
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    Totally weird, but 100% true. I don't think I've met a Harvard undergrad who doesn't pull that "I went to school in Boston". Then you have to pull that whole, "BU? Brandeis? MIT? Northeastern?"

    I don't get it. But, b/c it is so rampant, maybe I guess if I went there, I would have that mentality, too. However, from the receiving end, I'd say it is more trouble to just say Boston, b/c everyone knows A school in Boston or A person who goes to school in Boston, and then you have to do that whole "BU? ... etc." spiel.

    Simul
     
  7. wolferman

    wolferman Member?
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    Dudes,

    I didn't realize that this was as widespread as it is, but I do it too. I don't like to mention it because of the name dropping aspect, but also because it often derails a conversation. I can't tell you how many times I've had conversations where I'm mentioning something that I did or saw while at MIT and the conversation gets sidetracked the moment I say the school name. So, it's just easier than lauching into an explanation that, yes I did go there and no I'm not telling you my SAT scores, and no I don't know your brother's friend's cousin who happened to go there.
     
  8. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member
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    A lot of Yale kids I've talked to say, "Connecticut" or "New England" often. It's so you don't look like a tool. :)
     
  9. S.c. Cdc28p

    S.c. Cdc28p Member
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    Of course no one from the school asks students to say "Boston" rather than Harvard. If asked directly "where did you go for undergrad?" I would not hesitate to say Harvard because if I didn't, the questioner would inevitably follow up with "which school?". In fact, I think that it's pretentious to answer "I went to school in Boston." That answer doesn't serve any purpose but prolong an unnecessary conversation.

    (And we don't want to get mixed up with that vocational school down the river. ;) .... j/k!)
     
  10. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member
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    I always liked the MIT joke about why it's called Hahvahd Bridge. :)
     
  11. Nefertari

    Nefertari Undercover Premed
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    Yeah, better to be modest than to sound like an ______ .

    Btw, does anyone here watch "Amazing Race" on Wed nights? God, those 2 Harvard girls are so annoying--I hope they get eliminated soon. Probably b/c of people like that that makes Harvard folks more modest.

    Also, Harvard doesn't have the best reputation because through their schools of government & business, they've educated so many corrupt elites @ the world, as well as dictators & their children.
     
  12. Street Philosopher

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    I agree. When someone says they go to Harvard, I'm like ok cool. But when you say Boston it's sorta like teasing the other guy. Mildly annoying.
     
  13. xaelia

    xaelia neenlet
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    Well, here's an interesting question...from which undergraduate schools to people avoid name-dropping by giving a dodgy, geographic, answer when possible?

    Yes:
    Harvard, MIT - "I went to school in Boston."
    Yale - "I went to school in Connecticut."
    Stanford - "I went to school in the Bay Area."

    No(?):
    Brown - "I went to school in Rhode Island."
    Dartmouth - "I went to school in New Hampshire."
    etc.
     
  14. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    I think it's to avoid being pretentious. During medical school and during my residency interviews, when people asked me where I went to medical school I'd say I went to school in Baltimore.


    Now I don't care and just say Hopkins.
     
  15. The Hulk

    The Hulk Official Green Monster
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    well, lets look at the two options, shall we....

    1) Person A: Where did you go to school?
    Person B: Oh, I went to Harvard.
    Person A: Oh, to HAHVAHD.. oh, I went to hahvahd, oh lah de dah, I think I'm so special, I think I'm going to rule the world, I think I'm the greatest human being on earth... blah, blah, blah

    2) Person A: Where did you go to school?
    PersonB: (Shuddering) Well, I went to school in Boston
    Person A: Where in boston?
    Person B: To Harvard
    Person A: (smiles) oh, good for you... (while thinking inside.. "what a pretentious prick, pretends he/she is embarassed just so they can spell it out for me and make it into a bigger deal than it is")

    my point is that its a loose, loose situation:(
     
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  16. S.c. Cdc28p

    S.c. Cdc28p Member
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    Have you been at Harvard? Ever taken any K school or B school classes? Known any student at these two schools? Worked with the professors there?
     
  17. 11000

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    i have to disagree with my buddy random access (by the way, how's everything going with you? say hi to everyone for me)

    i don't understand why it is pretentious/tool-like to directly answer people's questions when they ask you where you go to school. number one, they assume that you went to college, and are asking which school you went to. therefore, replying that you "go to school in connecticut" does not answer their question.

    and if people find you pretentious SIMPLY because of where you chose to go to college, then it seems to me that they were not asking the question good-heartedly for the information, but rather in a competitive spirit. i don't like that.

    yes, there are a few pretentious people at yale (a minority of people, from my experience). but stating that you went to the same school as a few pretentious people, in an honest answer to an honest question, does not make you one of them.

    best of luck to all applying to med school!

    remain well,
    swaroop
     
  18. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member
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    That's actually how my parents' friends ask it, well a lot of them. :)

    Of course my dad also talks too much. The Blockbuster guy when I gave him my card said, "oh, I talked to your dad! You go to ~~~~, right?"

    The Blockbuster guy?? :confused:
     
  19. atsai3

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    http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=254659

    Harvard Crimson/Fifteen Minutes Magazine
    Thursday, October 17, 2002
    The Power of the H-Bomb: Does it help or hinder the mack?
    By IRIN CARMON
    Crimson Staff Writer

    -----------

    From an earlier article by Hayley Kaufman in the Boston Globe, 9/5/02:

    "I go to school in Cambridge" is code for "I go to Harvard." Harvard students and alums are the only people in this college-choked town who categorically refuse to name their alma mater the first time they're asked. They're trying to be modest, so you should try not to gag.

    http://ae.boston.com/calendar/features/boston_newcomers/go.html
     
  20. MSTP boy

    MSTP boy Senior Member
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    i think it somewhat ironic that students go to big-name schools to pad their resume, but then end up scared to utter the name in public. :)

    Taoist saying: for every gain, there is a loss...
     
  21. eschauberger

    eschauberger Some Guy
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    I think this is somewhat analogous to people who grow up in small towns near larger towns. We often tell people we are from the larger town if there is a great chance the person has never heard of the town. Except in this case, instead of having to spend 5 minutes simply explaining it's proximity to the larger city anyway they are trying to avoid coming off like a smart snob.
    I'd hope though that Harvard students wouldn't go around Boston telling people that they go to school in Boston because it just begs the question--"ok, where?!?!" This would be just like someone in my hometown asking me my address and me telling them I'm from the larger city ("We come from France" just popped in my head for some reason).
     
  22. doepug

    doepug Senior Member
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    Hmmm.... do you have a chip on your shoulder?
     

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