THE BLOG
12/14/2012 05:14 pm ET Updated Feb 13, 2013

Home From Harvard for the Holidays: Revisiting Relationships With Family and Friends

Wednesday, December 5, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
5 Linden Street

How do I talk about Harvard at home? Will my friends and family think I've changed? Will I still fit in? This workshop provides an opportunity to describe and explore your experiences and questions as you anticipate going home.

-- "Upcoming Offerings from the Bureau of Study Counsel," the Center for Academic and Personal Development at Harvard University

* * *

Welcome, everyone. I am C. Eliot Winthrop Adams, your superiority therapist. Before we begin, I want you all to know that your net worth and final club memberships are totally confidential. Now, then, is there anyone who -- yes?

Hi. My name is Jocasta and I'm... I'm a Harvard freshman.

That's great, Jocasta, thank you for sharing. What's on your mind?

Well, I... I have this boyfriend. We met when we were at a study group in Exeter last year, mapping out our first multinational takeover. I love him, but lately I've been having my doubts. You see -- he's at Yale now.

Oh, my. Well, I can understand your concerns.

I mean, it was one thing when we were on an equal footing. But lately it's been so hard. Whenever we're together, I get the feeling that he's just not on my level anymore. Whenever he mentions Morey's or Bones, I feel so sorry for him. He's trying so hard to impress me. But how am I supposed to tell him that I'm a Nobel finalist? Or about the gold crown they gave us on the first day?

Jocasta, Jocasta, get a hold of--

The worst part is wondering how I'm going to bring him home to my parents. They had their hearts set on me marrying a legacy. They spent a fortune on my genetic pre-screening. I jus -- I just can't --

Jocasta, Jocasta, listen to me. It's okay to cry. Well, actually, it's not. But that can wait. Right now, I think this young man has something to say.

Yes, hi, my name is Dunster and I think I can help you, Jocasta. Are you with me?

Hi, Dunster. Well, no, not really. My friend Cobina told me about you. You're the one who didn't make president of the Crimson, aren't you?

Er, yes. But that's precisely why I can help you. Obviously, I have issues of my own. And I had it even worse than you do at home. Let me guess -- your father is the next president of the United States?

Yes, and my mother recently solved the unified field theory. It turns out that Einstein was wrong.

Well, unlike you, I had a lot to overcome. I don't tell this to many people, but my father is just a tenured professor at Princeton. And my mother's folks came over on the boat that followed the Mayflower.

Oh, dear. How on earth did you talk with them about your new and better life?

I started slowly. To begin with, I didn't mention the word "Harvard." I just talked about "The Yahd" to sort of break them in. Then I started referring casually to various Kennedys whose paths I'd crossed.

But how did you... I mean, when did you finally --

Have the intervention? It was right after the Head of the Charles. My folks came home one day and there were all my fellow members of Porcellian in their living room to tell them I was no longer their son.

If I may break in here, I can say from experience that many young people feel as you do, Jocasta. Let me reassure you that there's no need to feel guilty that no one out there is as good as you are.

I know, I know. But all that talk about "diversity" the admissions office kept drumming into us -- it just makes it that much harder to understand.

Don't worry, Jocasta. Before long, that Yalie will be just an unpleasant memory, and you'll have chalked it all up to the follies of youth.

Well said, Dunster. And remember -- at Harvard, feelings are never "right" or "wrong." They simply don't exist. Okay, have a great break.

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