Mr. Increase Mather, class of 1656 and Harvard’s best president, once wrote, “A child carries a bundle up and down with him wherever he goes, and this bundle in his heart. But a bundle of what? Truly, a bundle of folly.” These words have described every Harvard class since they were written in 1695, but you guys—the class of 2010—have brought it to a new level. In short, you are the source of Harvard’s and world’s problems.
Over these Commencement days no doubt professors, family, and friends, all weak of heart, will congratulate you on a job well done. Not I. Just look at the job you have done at Harvard. You gobbled up $11 billion in stocks and hot breakfast. You lost us party grants. You did who-knows-what to the Wetu.
Harvard had dreams before you came. It dreamt of colonizing Allston with merciless engineering concentrators. It dreamt of building a science center out of stem cells. If you had not shown up, Harvard could have been a colder version of Stanford by now. But you did, Fortuna got angry, and now our red-spiced chicken is a little less spiced.
And that was just the Roman deities warming up. They continued to arrest Skip Gates, Ponzi-scheme America, and cancel Arrested Development. Not to mention childhood obesity. All because you seniors refuse to engage in human sacrifice. Are there any limits to the pain you have caused? Yes—I am not saying you are the ones responsible for making health care a pain in the butt to pass this year. Yale is responsible for that. But I am saying one of you must be a first-class sexual pervert because Providence has truly smitten us.
You seniors did not even start out as a good bunch. Within the first two years your fascination with premarital sex, underage drinking, and transferring from the Quad was unsafe. But then you magnified your perversions with Facebook stalking, checking the weather of places you have no business going to, and then more Facebook stalking. (Oddly enough, never Myspace stalking. Why?) Worst of all, some of you have started blogs, an action on par with public masturbation.
I admit that we held some high expectations for you seniors going in. You were supposed to resist traditional consulting to go into non-profit consulting. You were supposed to wrest the seat of power from old white men and give it to young white men. I was also expecting more of you to get fluent in Spanish. I guess I shouldn’t be mad, just disappointed.
There are two important pieces of advice that the Undergraduate Council and I would like to give you. The first is to view failure as an opportunity for learning. If you could learn even the tiniest bit from your colossal failures then the Valium black market in University Hall could be cut in half. Those guys really do try, but they are only human.
The second is to be popular. The Undergraduate Council has always been the most popular student group on campus. Ad-Board reform, the month of January off, 24-hour Lamont, chocolate milk in the dining halls, the 2 a.m. party deadline, $450,000 in student-group funding, the Standing Committee on Ethnic Studies, and organizing a big tailgate. These are all popular things that have made us popular. As a result our members have no problem getting accepted into our nation’s finest graduate programs and fellowships, and, more importantly, we tend to live longer.
So please take my advice, thank your family for giving you life’s greatest gift (which is either a Harvard education or unconditional love—your choice), and get out of here. Good riddance.
John F. Bowman ’11 is a sociology concentrator in Pforzheimer House and president of the Harvard College Undergraduate Council.
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