In October 2013, the Harvard Admissions Office released a video that made a bold claim. “Anything Could Happen at Harvard,” they said. Anything. And maybe they weren’t lying. From bomb scares to upset UC elections, 2013-’14 proved as eventful as the first 10 minutes of the average “Scandal” episode—not that you’d know it from the admissions video.
If you’re unimpressed with the ’90s Microsoft Movie Maker editing that can definitely happen at Harvard, the Admissions Office has someone up its sleeve ready to dispel your cynicism and wow you with his appearance: Matt Damon, formerly of the Class of 1992 and star of “Jersey Girl” and “We Bought a Zoo.” Apart from proving that Harvard still has the cachet to attract celebs (Tyra, Tyga), Matt’s appearance is a little misleading. “He gave me a flat A in the class, which is a big deal,” he says of the playwriting class in which he began “Good Will Hunting.” Apparently no one told him about grade inflation.
If Matt Damon doesn’t impress you, Jeremy Lin ’10 in his Harvard Basketball finest, also makes an appearance. Lin also wants you to know that anything could happen because of Harvard. You could become “an economist, a politician, or even a professional basketball player.” Maybe you could, Jeremy, but the rest of the student body is going into consulting.
But Harvard is definitely more than its famous alums, and they want you to know that the experience you’ll have here is truly unique. Anthony the freshman wakes up every day and can’t believe he’s at Harvard. He eats in Annenberg. He visits other Harvard schools and thinks the Medical School is “pretty cool.” He gets to work with his professor on research projects. Anthony’s experience is truly unique because the rest of us only interact with our professors at faculty dinner or that one awkward time we go to office hours and run out of things to say after five minutes. Plus, we rarely venture outside the college campus. Anthony, you’re killing it.
And Anthony isn’t the only one. The Admissions Office may have selected culturally and socially stratified students for the video (there are 12 students and a Tommy Lee Jones ’69 voiceover to tell you how diverse Harvard’s student body is—all 50 states and over 100 countries if you were wondering), but they’re all of the same enthusiastic ilk.
Then again, maybe the exclusion of student activism, Houses without hot breakfast, and realistic portraits of the student experience at Harvard wasn’t intentional. Anything, even mistakes, can happen at Harvard, right?