BOSTON UNIVERSITY—Of the 35 universities located in the Boston area, Harvard University is one of the most well-known. Being the oldest educational institution in America, the prestige that students gain from receiving Harvard degrees is common knowledge. Such prestige is why Linda Miller—grandma of BU student Jason Miller—was overjoyed for her favorite grandson back in 2015. Why? She heard that he was going to college in Boston. The only problem? Jason goes to BU.
In what is probably the most interesting thing that a student from CAS has ever done, Jason Miller (CAS ’19) has been living a double life for the past three years. Although in reality he is a BU political science major, Jason shamelessly bleeds crimson for his annual birthday call to his grandma.
Why? He “forgot” to correct her when she assumed that he was accepted into Harvard toward the end of his senior year of high school. He has miraculously kept up the charade throughout all of the major family holidays for the past three years.
Jason insists that his grandma’s incorrect knowledge of what college he actually attends started out as “a complete misunderstanding.” In reality, talking to his proud grandma is the only time that he doesn’t feel subconscious judgment from his relatives for going to a college in Boston that isn’t MIT or Harvard.
“The first thing that Gram did when she found out the big news was send over a hand-knit crimson sweater with the Harvard insignia on it. She was just so impressed that I would be attending a school so elite that they couldn’t even be bothered with something as frivolous as a school mascot. She has arthritis! If I told her that I actually go to BU, then all that work would’ve been for nothing. I mean, scarlet and crimson are close enough, right?”
The Black Sheep asked Jason about how he continues to pull off his deception after this initial “misunderstanding.”
“It’s easy enough during phone calls. I’ve had to keep up with Harvard’s football team over the years just so I could tell Gram how ‘we’re’ doing. But I guess it’s a good thing BU doesn’t have a football team, otherwise I might’ve gotten them confused.”
However, it gets a bit trickier for Jason during the holidays. He has to keep up his charade in person for extended amounts of time all while trying to keep his parents from figuring out what’s going on.
“I’ve sort of developed a character for myself when I’m talking to my grandma. Every time before I go home for the holidays, I rewatch The Social Network. I also rewatch that one scene from Good Will Hunting to really channel a privileged upper class intelligence. Gram is so happy when I talk about all the incredible things that I’ve been learning there. It’s actually really stressful sometimes going to Harvard!”
Still, Jason believes that there is some good that has resulted from his little white lie.
“It’s weird. Whenever I wear my Harvard sweater when I go out, so many girls from BU actually talk to me. It’s also been really nice being able to inflate my grades for a change!”
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