Harvard grad talks about what it was like as a low-income student: ‘I got secondhand rage’

Harvard graduate Connor Rice (@connor.rice) shared the most frustrating interactions he had while attending the university as a low-income student surrounded by wealthy classmates.

Rice is a TikToker from Derby, England, who got a firsthand education in wealth inequality while attending Harvard University. In a viral video, Rice shared some of his most frustrating interactions with wealthier classmates while attending Harvard. His video is a sharply funny indictment of how out of touch his wealthier classmates could be.

“I was fortunate enough to go to Harvard for four years on a full scholarship,” Rice shares. “Over those four years, I did write in my Notes app on my phone every time someone rich said something stupid. So let’s go through it!”

Rice starts by sharing that social clubs — Harvard’s equivalent of sororities and fraternities — cost thousands of dollars a year to be a member of. When Rice told his classmates he didn’t have the money to join one, they were confused.

“Their immediate response was, ‘I think they take Venmo,’” Rice recalls. “Bro thought I meant, I didn’t have the cash for that.”

Next up, Rice shares how embarrassing it was to be referred to repeatedly as “the neediest of students” by both the university and other students. He recalls how the university emailed him about a winter coat fund for low-income students.

“The email said it was dedicated to ‘the neediest of students,’ and while from a definitional perspective that may be true, I don’t want to be called ‘needy’ let alone ‘the neediest,’” Rice explains. “That doesn’t feel good.”

Other times, Rice’s classmates tried to show empathy by attempting to relate to his financial struggles.

“When I talked about how my family might have struggled to make ends meet at times, it would always come up in conversation, people would say, ‘My parents had a really tough time growing up,’” he explains. “I guess they were trying to relate and I appreciate that. But it didn’t really help.”

More upsetting for Rice was when he heard a classmate complaining about “poor people.”

“This girl went on a rant about how poor people are poor because they don’t work hard enough,” he recalls. “She was like, ‘My dad works 55 to 60 hours a week, and he’s built a big business for himself.’ And I’m like, ‘Brilliant, well good. What about the hundreds of thousands of single parents who work multiple jobs to make ends meet?’”

Ultimately, Rice’s experiences with wealthier students ranged from the amusingly out of touch to the upsetting. However, he says he still appreciates the education he got at Harvard.

‘Secondhand rage’

Many viewers, however, were outraged on Rice’s behalf. 

“I got secondhand rage from the story about the rich girl shaming poor people,” one viewer wrote. 

“It scares me that the rich people who are so out of touch with reality will most likely have jobs that will influence the rest,” another viewer wrote. 

“The ‘just work harder’ line gets me livid every single time,” another viewer shared. 

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