If someone had told me a year ago that I would be at Harvard University writing a paper for a course with famed educator and sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, I would not have believed them. This time last year, I was not even sure if I was going to apply to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and I certainly wasn’t sure that I would get in. In October of 2010, I was working as a full time teacher, simultaneously completing two M.Ed. degrees, and applying to doctoral programs. Having spent two and a half years as a public school teacher and having witnessed the injustices that many students were subjected to, I was motivated to learn as much as I could to prepare myself to improve America’s educational system. I wanted to learn more so that I could do more, and one of my professors recommended that HGSE was the place that I needed to go to learn.
On taking the advice of my professor, I decided to apply and I began working on my application. I spent the first few days working to identify the program that would be the best fit for me. While I did apply for a doctoral program, I also selected the option to be considered for an Ed.M. in Learning & Teaching because I really liked what the L&T program had to offer. After I identified the programs that I was going to apply to and had taken care of the basic parts of the application, I spent several weeks thinking about my statement of purpose. This, of course, was the most difficult part of the application for me, but I did some soul searching and deep reflecting on where I wanted to be in a year. I determined that I wanted to be at HGSE studying ways to empower teachers and support students. Through this process, I was also able to channel my reasons for wanting to transform education as well as develop questions that I wanted to find the answers to at HGSE. Those thoughts became the makings of my personal statement, and guided me as I wrote.
As I think about the readings that I have done for my classes and the papers that I am in the process of writing, it is almost funny to see how those very things that I wrote about in my personal statement are the very things that I am learning how to do. The questions that I had before I came here are starting to be answered, and I am so glad that I took the leap of faith to apply. I can’t imagine having the learning experiences that I have had at HGSE anywhere else, and even though I am up at 2:30am writing a paper, I wouldn’t have it any other way!