How To Get Into Harvard University
That Harvard bitch is not an easy person to track down. The Harvard public affairs office had never heard of her. Facebook and Twitter revealed nothing. A staff writer at the storied humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon told me, “Unfortunately, we do not know this Harvard bitch…Campus is so full of bitches that it is impossible to identify them all.”
When I finally found Hanna Rohne, the creator and star of the popular YouTube channel “ThatHarvardBitch,” I realized she was anything but bitch-like. A warm and witty Harvard sophomore, Rohne never intended to be a YouTube star. She majors in social studies (“I know it sounds like a sixth grade subject” but is actually an interdisciplinary combination of government, economics, and sociology), directs videos for the Harvard satirical news site SatireV, and “volunteers…sometimes.”
In her videos, Rohne sits in her dorm room and talks to her computer about various topics on her mind, from the annoying habits of lecturers to the bewildering tendencies of people at college parties. Rohne’s channel has 3,700 subscribers and her most popular video, “How to Get Into Harvard,” has over 100,000 views. In it, Rohne advises perspective students on how to get into the school of their dreams:
75% OF THE VIDEOS ARE IMPROVISED FROM HER DORM ROOM AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY
“Try to make things sound as grandiose as possible,” she says. “For example, I started the Fathers and Daughters Club of the United States of America. It was just me and my dad. Actually, the first year it was just me. Dad didn’t really want to join. It was a bad year for the Fathers and Daughters Club.”
The videos, which she says are 75% improvised, tend to include dozens of cuts within minutes, and often feature an endearingly mystified Rohne providing misdirected guidance to an invisible audience.
Though Rohne did improv in middle and high school, the first video she made was something of an accident. In the second semester of her freshmen year, she had to do a presentation for her psychology class. Her friends suggested that she film herself beforehand as a way to practice. She took their advice, but she was sick, and things didn’t turn out quite like she planned.
‘HANNA, THIS IS ONE OF THE WEIRDEST THINGS I’VE EVER SEEN’
“I was on a lot of cough medicine, so I took a lot of creative liberty,” she says. After she made the video, she giggled to herself in her room and then went out to show her roommates.
Jenny Beizer, her roommate since freshmen year, recalls the first video fondly.
“I just said Hanna, this is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen,” Beizer says.
She suggested that Rohne edit the video and put it on YouTube. Beizer posted a link for the video (entitled “Recognizing Personality Disorders: Mitt Romney”) on the dorm Facebook page, and ThatHarvardBitch was born.
WHY I’M SINGLE
A FAVORITE: ‘MAKE A HOPELESSLY IMPOSSIBLE WISH FOUNDATION’
Now in their second year of roommate-hood, Rohne shows Beizer and another roommate the rough draft of each video she makes for suggestions and edits. Beizer’s favorite video is one of the more obscure ones, called “Make a (Hopelessly Impossible) Wish Foundation.”
Since Rohne is quite lovely, it’s a bit surprising that she calls herself “ThatHarvardBitch.” She says she chose the name of her channel as a joke, because “you can get labeled as a bitch for really anything…Might as well pre-empt people and throw the label on myself.”
Her fans, though, are enamored. “You’re beautiful and hilarious,” one commenter writes, and another, with evident excitement: “PLEASE POST MORE I BEG YOU YOU ARE SO FUNNY!!!” Rohne says even her parents, Swedish immigrants who are sometimes the butt of her jokes, like the videos. This summer she’ll be returning to San Francisco, her hometown, where she hopes to make more videos. She’ll also visit Sweden.
That Harvard bitch has a lot of advice for incoming college students. In one video she tells aspiring students: “Just be true to yourself. As long as your true self is a straight-A student body president, founder of three charities, and a squash champion.”
But off camera, she says her best advice comes from her dad. Before she went to Harvard, he told her, “Never take yourself too seriously.”