I remember walking into the Admitted Students Orientation in April, just waiting for that moment when they’d look for my name on the check-in list, give me the up-and-down, and say “Whoops, we didn’t mean to accept you. Sorry, our mistake.” Instead, I was warmly welcomed by the student ambassadors currently studying and following their educational passions at HGSE. I then remember walking into my program meeting, and listening to my prospective peers speak about their real life teaching experiences that I, still an undergraduate at NYU, hadn’t experienced yet. I thought to myself, “Okay, THIS is where they say April Fools!” Instead, I was given a warmly baked cookie from Pamela Mason, and shown around the awe-inspiring site that is the Jeanne Chall Reading Lab.
Fast forward four months, and I’m all moved into my new city. The textbooks have been purchased, and the classes have all been shopped. I walked into my first day of class six weeks ago today, thinking that this was it. This was where they’d all be speaking some advanced form of Latin, and my inadequacies would immediately reveal themselves, and Harvard would retract their admissions decision. Yet somehow, within the first half hour of the class, I felt my hand start to go up. I was actually RAISING MY HAND, ready to contribute to the discussion. I was shocked by my own bravery, and even more astounded when my classmates began to build their own opinions off of the point I had made. I found myself in a full-fledged, intellectual discussion, at Harvard! On reflection, I realized that it was these people, with their impressive minds that had so intimidated me, that had actually given me the strength to speak out in my classroom. I saw that their passionate energy for educational topics matched my own, and I was busting at the seams to exchange ideas and knowledge with them. It’s safe to say that I am now ready to walk by that Harvard Graduate School of Education sign in front of Gutman Library, knowing that I truly belong.
Stacy Tell is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Language and Literacy program. An aspiring Reading Specialist, Stacy is passionate about helping students to become lifelong readers.