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Low-Income Harvard Student Rants About The 'Stupidest' Things Rich Kids Said To Him — 'I Felt Like Oliver Twist'

Photo: TikTok; dennizn / Shutterstock.com
TikToker telling his story and the Harvard logo

It's no secret that the rich inhabit a different world than the rest of us. But if one man on TikTok's experience is any indication, you can't truly know how different it is until you step into their world.

TikToker Connor Rice had that experience when attending an elite Ivy League institution on a full-ride scholarship, and his hilarious rant about his classmates provides a glimpse into just how oblivious the rich are about how the rest of us live.

A low-income Harvard student says the oblivious rich kids who were his classmates made him feel 'like Oliver Twist.'

Rice, who comes from the UK, is the first in his family to go to college and received a full scholarship to Harvard University. "Because my parents income was below a certain threshold and we were considered low income, [Harvard] paid for the full thing," he said in his TikTok.

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Harvard of course being one of the most elite and expensive universities on Earth, with tuition and costs coming in around $78,000 per year, the vast majority of his classmates did not share his background. And that led to several ridiculous encounters between Rice and his fellow students. 

The TikToker's fellow Harvard students didn't understand what 'I don't have the money for that' even means.

One of Rice's first shocking lessons came when it was time to consider joining one of Harvard's much-vaunted "final clubs," elite and exclusive social clubs that have been likened to secret societies and provide Harvard students with lifelong connections—if they can afford to join them, of course.

Rice said, noted that it costs "anywhere from like $1000 to $3000... per semester, so twice a year, to be in said clubs." For a student like Rice, such an expenditure was "off the table." But his fellow students didn't even understand the concept. 

Rice says when he told one of his classmates "I don't have the money for that," the classmate's "immediate response was, 'I think they take Venmo bro.'"

"They thought I meant I didn't have the cash," Rice ranted, "which is a stupid fu-king thing to say anyway, because who the fu-k's got between $1000 and $3,000 in cash anyway?!" Oblivious rich kids, probably!

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The TikToker's wealthy Harvard classmates suggested he buy clothes that cost thousands of dollars. 

When the weather turned cold, low-income scholarship students like Rice received $100 grants from Harvard to go toward buying a winter coat—which Rice said he was "immensely grateful for" because he wasn't able to work for several months while waiting for a Social Security number. "I had no fu-king money and it was getting cold," he said in his video.

But once again, when he discussed buying a coat with one of his classmates, the oblivious rich kid mentality jumped right out. "A friend of mine said, just go to the Canada Goose, there's one in the square."

Canada Goose is of course world-renowned for their ultra-warm down coats, but they're also world-renowned for charging "minimum, like, $1,000 for a coat" as Rice put it. "I think they must have assumed my struggle was the fact that I just didn't have time to get [a coat]" he said of his oblivious classmate.

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Rice says Harvard University itself made him feel marginalized with the way they spoke of low-income students like him.

"Next up on my list is being referred to as 'the neediest of students'," Rice said in reference to emails he and other "needy" students regularly received from the university, including the one about purchasing a winter coat. "The email said it was dedicated, catered to, 'the neediest of students,'" Rice explained, "and while from a definitional perspective, that may be true, I don't want to be called needy, let alone 'the neediest.' That doesn't feel good."

Rice went on to say that it was partly his own personality that made the descriptor sting. "I'm stubborn as hell, and I will not say that I need it. I will say that I just really want it. I'm the wantiest of students," he joked. Still, the description of "neediest" by the powers that be left him feeling even more like an outsider. "'Neediest' just felt like Oliver Twist."

Seems it's not just the rich student who don't understand what it's like to not be wealthy, but Harvard's administration as well. 

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The oblivious rich kids at Harvard also didn't understand why Rice had to work while going to school.

Of all the stories Rice told, one, in particular, said it all when it comes to how totally out of touch many rich kids really are. 

Rice was struggling to balance the demands of his Harvard education, exams, and the 20 hours a week he had to work to survive—especially when the 20 hours proved financially insufficient, but his financial aid package precluded him from taking on more. One of his fellow classmates had some advice for him, and it couldn't be more of a facepalm.

"This guy says, why don't you just save up the money that you earn over the summer and use that to pay for things when you're back in the semester," the student said. "Thanks, economics king!" Rice derisively quipped. "Why didn't I fu-king think of that?!" He then answered his own question with what should be obvious—"because the money I would earn over the summer would be to survive over the fu-king summer!" 

There's nothing wrong with being rich, of course. But getting a glimpse into just how little some rich people know about the world the 99% inhabits sure does explain a lot, doesn't it?

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.