With so many research, extracurricular, and club activites available, some students feel like they are not achieving enough or doing enough. Almost all students are involved in at least one activity, but many want to do more. However, homework and studies demand a large time commitment, so it is very difficult to squeeze in everything you want to do in your time-restrained schedule. Although students recognize that their time is being well spent in studies, there is a bitter-sweet feeling about not being able to do other things that may seem equally rewarding.
The social scene is dominated by "Finals Clubs" - they are like Fraternities but predate them and are much more exclusive - you must be invited in. There are female Finals Clubs but they usually don't have buildings. There is only one Fraternity that has a house and it's far away from campus, so these Finals Clubs are the only places to go sometimes on weekends. What is bad about them is that they don't allow male non-members in, so it's hard to hang out with your male friends if you plan to go out dancing.
The worst thing is not pressure from others, but internal pressure to do well. Everyone is at this school for a reason; every person is smart, talented, and has made a contribution in some area. Students have to adjust from being at the top in high school to being "average" and challenging themselves in new ways to stay on par with everyone else. It's very stressful at times. Another challenge is there are so many opportunities so it's difficult to choose a certain thing to do or one's major.
There's a lot of pressure. Pressure to do well in classes, have lots of friends, go to lots of parties, get a great job, get into grad school, do impressive things over the summer, save the world with your extracurriculars. I'm embarassed to admit when I spend a weekend reading a book and catching up on classwork. I feel like a loser because I have a part-time job instead of being the president/treasurer/whatever or some high flying club. Everyone buys a suit during their freshman year.
The school is overwhelmingly liberal. Being conservative makes you feel more alienated than being homosexual. People are fairly intolerant of political differences of opinion. For a school that promotes tolerance, it seems hypocritical that conservatives are almost entirely shut out. It does a disservice to the students to not provide them with good academic representatives from both sides of the aisle.
The lack of advice when you first get to Harvard. It's like you've grown up in this remote country and, moving into this mammoth and complex city, have no idea of how best to assimilate yourself and take advantage of all of the opportunities around you. By the time you understand the "ins and outs" of the University, you are about to graduate.
Students get caught up in campus life so much that they have no lives outside of what goes on at campus. This makes being on campus significanly less interesting by making the students more petty and superficial and makes making close friends on campus more difficult since they leave campus so rarely.
I believe the least favorable aspect about my school is that Harvard does not offer on-campus housing during the school year for Harvard Extension School students. This may be inconvenient for me at times, especially when I relocate to Boston temporarily to study during the fall or spring terms.
That students who take their classes solely on campus tend to snub distance option students as inferior. I also dislike that distance students can't live in dorms for a semester if they wish to take their classes in person. Otherwise, I have no complaints.
Especially during sophomore year, students often feel isolated and overworked -- they call it the "sophomore slump" -- and it's tragic to see people suffer but think that they're alone (and therefore not seek help).