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Harvard University

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Harvard is amazing because of the opportunities each student has the chance to take. I do think, however, that every applying student has a right to know what Harvard is really like. If you think that getting accepted was the challenge, you are sorely mistaken. There are so many opportunities at Harvard, but not one comes easily. You have to work hard to be noticed among the student body, and your success in high school is probably nothing special here. It can be exhilarating going to school with some of the brightest minds in the world, but more often than not I find myself drowning in this heaving, colorful student body of intelligence and talent. The competition is nothing you have ever encountered - it is blood red, quick, and painful, and I advise you to be very cautious about not getting too caught in it. I'm glad I chose Harvard, really, for only one reason: I'm going into business and the only way to get noticed in that career is the more prestigious the university. However, if you're looking into a different kind of career, where the name of your university doesn't make or break you, choose your second or third choice. I sometimes seriously consider transferring to my other choices, Dartmouth and Northwestern, but I can't. The competition has sucked me in too far. Good luck at Harvard.

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Man, filling out this survey has made me realize how miserable my Harvard experience has been so far. Coming to Harvard, I thought everyone wanted to be the best mathematician, physicist, psychologist, economist, historian, etc.... that they can be. But then I found out that many people are just here because society has made college degrees necessary to get good jobs. Some people will spend as little time as possible on classes so that they can pursue their ambitions in some non-academic field, such as sports. You know what, I think my problem is just my freshman rooming assignment. I happened to get roomed with athletes and theater people, and no scientists. So it was tough when I would stay up late doing math problem sets and I would see my roommates bringing dozens of friends over and drinking. If I had been roomed with nerds, maybe I wouldn't be so bitter.

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Despite all of the wonderful opportunities it provides, Harvard can have the tendency to make everyone feel insufficient. Next to students who are saving baby seals and starting AIDS research programs in Africa, it can be difficult to feel like you belong. If you're attending here, one key to success is shelving these insecurities early on by telling yourself you own your place in the class and finding a few good friends who will remind you of that when you're down. Hopefully, Harvard is ultimately a place that teaches you to stop comparing yourself to others and set your own standard as the goal.

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