（又：我寒假见过这孩子，聪明过人，却非常谦和，他share他的成长经历给我，第一，boyscot 对他帮助很大，第二，妈妈从小就很放手，让他有充分的自由成长空间。看他最后一句：Also, I like to tell people that Harvard students are actually quite normal!）
What is the name of the institution you attend and what year are you currently at the school? Additionally, please provide any information pertaining to your relevant background i.e. high school, ethnicity and gender. All of your answers to the questions below will greatly help parents with prospective students separate the reality from myth of different colleges.
Harvard University ‘14
Male, Asian-American, born and raised in the US
Bayeare High ‘10
1. What were your expectations of your college in terms of its academic and social culture? How did your time at this institution stack up to your expectations?
I didn’t really have many expectations, so I’ll elaborate more on my experiences in the other questions.
2. In your personal experience, what is the drug scene (excluding alcohol) at the college like? Please give estimates of the percentage of people that use them. What are the disciplinary actions taken towards student who are caught using substances?
I don’t know anyone personally who uses drugs, so it’s very difficult for me to estimate the percentage of people who use them. I’m sure there are plenty of statistics online. The only statistic I’ve heard of is that possibly up to 25% of students here at Harvard use Ritalin. It seems far-fetched to me, but then again, I can’t really identify a drug user amongst my friends.
3. In your personal experience, what percentage of people drink on a regular basis (at least once or twice a week) at your college? What are the disciplinary actions taken towards students who are caught drinking?
These statistics are readily available online. I believe the percentage is about 40%, although I’m not completely sure. It’s generally pretty easy to get alcohol if you want to. As far as I know, you just need to find a dorm party with some alcohol. I don’t drink myself, so I’m not too knowledgeable about the drinking scene.
Harvard has an amnesty policy, which states that if you have a friend who needs to be taken to the hospital due to drinking, you can take him to the emergency room without consequence to either of you.
4. What are some of the most significant differences between your college and high school experiences?
Lynbrook High didn’t have as much drinking as college, since we were all Asians who focused heavily on academics. And the drinking that did occur was far removed because the drinking usually happened far away from my house. Now in college, you can find drinking close by since we all live in dorms near each other.
Of course, college is much bigger with much more people. College also has many more resources to offer, giving you the ability to do much more than before. College also gives you much more freedom to structure your time. You can choose your own balance among a wide variety of activities: academics, extracurriculars, friends, starting a business, exercising, studying abroad, etc.
5. What do you like most about your college? And conversely what do you enjoy the least about it?
For my college in particular (Harvard University):
What I like most:
–Amazing people to learn from. Your personal development is heavily influenced by your peer group, and at Harvard, it’s harder to find a better set of peers anywhere else in the world.
–Mountains of resources. If you want to do something, then you can make it happen at Harvard. Here, you can find all the right connections, all the right people, and all the right talents to turn your idea into reality.
–Flexibility. Harvard is very flexible with what you want to do. Very little is set in stone, so you have nearly complete control over your own life.
What I like least:
–The student population is quite homogenous. Harvard (as well as all other top-tier schools) makes an effort to create a student body that comes from a huge diversity of backgrounds, but in the midst of that diversity, there is also a notable similarity, because in order to get into Harvard, you must fit into a certain mold. You must be very analytical, you must spend a lot of time on academics and extracurriculars, and more. As a result, you won’t find very many radical thinkers, or any kind of person who spends a significant chunk of their time devoted toward something strictly non-academic. You lose a valuable perspective from a different angle.
6. What are some of the most important things you feel students should know or do going into college? What about going to your college?
College is a means, not an end. I think far too many students treat college as a destination, rather than just the beginning of a journey into life. Many students will sacrifice something they truly enjoy just because society tells them that going to Harvard or some other top-tier university is the only path to happiness and success. It’s not true. Academic institutions like Harvard only value analytical intelligence, when there are so many parts of people that are also beautiful. Don’t give up a part of yourself to fit into a mold. Begin your journey in life now.
Also, there’s no need to figure out your life so early! If you know what you want to do with your life by the time you’re 30, you’re in really good shape. In fact, if you ever discover your life’s calling, then you’ll be luckier than most people on this planet.
Also, I like to tell people that Harvard students are actually quite normal!
Share the joy