It’s Hard Being a Hardo
by Luis Viceira on Friday, April 24th, 2015
“Hardooooo” has become a battle cry for Milton students around campus and a key term of the Milton vocabulary. According to Urban Dictionary, a hardo is “a person who tries extremely hard at everything. Most times a hardo will try very hard at things that do not require excessive effort.” This jokingly derogatory term discourages excessive effort and work and represents the antithesis of a core belief of Milton Academy: commitment to the pursuit of excellence. Milton students do not strive for an average education, average pieces of art, or average sports seasons; they try incredibly hard to be the best possible in all areas of their life. Idiomatic expressions such as “going above and beyond the call of duty” should be recognized and appreciated but are, instead, met with rolled eyes and the dreaded label of “hardo”. Phrases previously associated with hard work now belong to “hardoism,” overwhelmed by an onslaught of sarcastic intonation and negative connotation that taint the previously praised attributes of diligence and determination.
The overuse of hardo has caused the term’s use to deviate from its explicit definition. Though it is possible for one to apply an uncomfortably intense effort to a simple or small task, Milton students seem to apply this term to anyone who displays even a cursory amount of care for their school work. For instance, one conversation I witnessed in the library the other day involved one student calling another student a “hardo” simply for completing the math homework he had been assigned instead of blowing it off one more time.
Does doing the required amount of work seriously merit such a name? The term has lost any value it once had, just as a metaphor, when used excessively, fades and deteriorates, attaining, instead, the dreaded status of a cliché. We are desensitized to the term “hardo” as a community, yet due to its origins, it still casts a negative light on Milton’s work ethic.
The Milton community must now make a choice: either we change the explicit and implicit meaning of the word and continue its use, or we simply abandon the word altogether. While both solutions require action by members of the community, a cohesive and unified effort by the student body could see this issue resolved. Personally, I have chosen to follow the first path, desensitizing myself to the negative implication of the word and applying the word to others with a positive connotation. Most recently, I proudly described myself as a “hardo” in my head monitor speech. For me, being a “hardo” does not mean working excessively and ignoring the calling of sleep and a social life. Instead, “hardoism” entails working to the best of my abilities while leading a balanced, healthy lifestyle. We should celebrate those who choose to dedicate themselves to their work or their passions. If those who arrive first to practice and leave last, ask clarifying questions, and toil day and night to perfect an artistic masterpiece are “hardos”, we should all strive to be a little more hardo.
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