What it’s like coming to Harvard from an underprivileged background

It’s a ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ for the underprivileged

It’s safe to say that many Harvard students feel proud of attending the institution of any man’s dream – when the bolded “congratulations” on the acceptance email made contact with our eyes, it was like love at first sight.

To the socioeconomically privileged, this love is reciprocated constantly. The tools needed to heal wounds are there, at their disposal. It’s a love that guarantees later-life success, and both parties benefit. Over time, it becomes like that of a stable marriage, yet somewhat lackluster of a “spark” that invites true feelings of passion.

Those on the opposite of the socioeconomic spectrum experience a similar love at first sight. The feeling is very hard to be described by mere words – but it’s like a sort of adrenaline that rushes through the heart and veins, of tears of joy, and the warm embrace of family and friends. There’s a feeling of immeasurable accomplishment within oneself, and the fiery flames of ambition and revolution unite Harvard with the student.

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Yet there is mutual hurt. This “spark” of love becomes obscured by the force of their privileged counterparts that enjoy the maximum benefits of Harvard’s “affection”. A sort of neglect is experienced by the underprivileged. But regardless, when there is hurt between Harvard and the student, the difference between this end of the spectrum and the former lies in having the tools that help heal the wounds.

The ruptures begin. For the less privileged, the wounds are not healed and they persist, and they are not able to find stability. Like wounded soldiers, this sort of patriotic love for Harvard lives on until the last minute, but the body can only resist so much. Despite all the pain that many have experienced at Harvard, that appreciation still exists. The gratitude for opening endless doors of opportunities is the spark that keeps this love afloat. It’s the dream of a better life and future that keeps these Harvard hearts alive and battling until the last minute.

When our time at the college is coming to an end, it seems like ends meet. The feeling of having survived a challenging environment is bittersweet, because it can’t ever be completely sweet for the underprivileged. Now somewhat aged and free of so many obstacles in the beginning, a love that had been obscured by empty lust and social stigmas can finally be lived out, but perhaps too late and on the verge of the exit door. When new generations of underprivileged Harvard students take the campus by storm, it can be difficult to say that “it was worth it,” or that “Harvard is the best decision to make.” After all, people say that no true love is perfect, but is it always worth the suffering?

For the underprivileged, Harvard may be like a true love, but it will be masked in a time of cholera for us, like in Gárcia Márquez’s novel. Perhaps time will heal the sickness, and the love will blossom.

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