Now that the semester has ended, I’ve started to take some time to reflect on my HGSE experience thus far. While I will continue to chronicle life as a student next semester, I wanted to share a few insights now that finals and papers are all done.
If I had to describe some of the highlights of my experience this fall, I would separate them into three categories:
Engaging in meaningful conversations with people passionate about education. While there are many people I look forward to meeting here in the Spring, I can honestly say I’ve already had a great number of conversations with students, alumni, faculty and administrators on a variety of topics in education. What strikes me about having these conversations here at HGSE is the sincere willingness and interest among so many people to openly discuss news stories, innovative ideas or personal experiences in education – even outside of classroom discussions. Through these conversations, my HGSE experience has already been enriched in ways I did not imagine prior to the Fall.
Involvement with events on-campus. HGSE students quickly realize the vast number of events on campus – not only at HGSE but across the university. As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life. Not only have I enjoyed the events I have attended (Harvard’s 375th anniversary receptions, Howard Gardner Askwith Forum and Student-Alumni Mentoring Initiative events to name a few), but the turnout at so many events has been tremendous. Students here love to get involved and take advantage of opportunities available to them on campus. It’s nice to enjoy different events on campus but even better to meet fellow students who share similar interests at these events.
Discovering the experiences and ambitions of HGSE students. As much as I love telling stories, I enjoy hearing stories as well – especially HGSE stories. Getting to know HGSE students has convinced me there’s not one path to success and everyone really does have a story. Learning about the variety of personal and professional motivations for attending HGSE has been cool. Hearing plans of what students hope to accomplish and their ambitions for life after graduation has been amazing. From those who hope to start their own charter schools or education-related ventures to others who aspire to assume leadership positions in established organizations domestically or abroad, students are confident in their ability to make a difference and transform education for the next generation.
As I reflect on everything that has transpired at HGSE so far, I can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon for next semester. One semester down, one to go…