Recently, I’ve been in touch with a group of my friends and peers from high school about scheduling our 10-year class reunion in the spring. Ten years! As seems to be the case with these benchmarks in life, it’s sparked a lot of personal reflection. If you told me ten years ago that I would help plan my 10-year reunion while working toward a master’s at Harvard, I would have thought you were crazy.
If you told me that last year at this time, however, I would have thought two things:
1) I haven’t really told anyone I’m applying…wait, are you stalking me?
2) YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW BADLY I WANT TO BE DOING THAT.
In general, application processes are pretty cruel. Unbearable, really. And the worst part is the wait! I have distinct memories of showing my parents HGSE facebook photos in January and pining, “I want to be thereeeeeee.”
Just this afternoon, I received a beautiful piece of wisdom from my academic advisor that seems oddly relevant to this whole application/school/life thing. After agonizing about what courses to take this spring (a wonderful problem to have) and asking for his advice, he furrowed his brow in thought. While I can’t do his eloquence justice, I’ll attempt to paraphrase part of his response:
I would argue that in life, generally, we leave home to go places for two reasons. The first is that we want to contribute something. The second is that we want to fall in love. (And I don’t mean that in the romantic sense, though it is great when that happens.) We want to fall in love with ideas and people…ideas and people that are going to change us and affect us in deep ways.
In the application process, we put ourselves on the line, looking, hoping, and wanting to fall in love. I applied here because I was so excited about a program that aligned so closely with my interests. And, I had already fallen in love with the idea of being in this program, but first I had to take a leap of faith. Opening ourselves up to rejection is never easy, but that old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” advises us to do so anyway.
Whether or not you decide to apply, I wish that you find a place in life where you can contribute something; more than that, I wish that you fall in love!
Taylor Morris is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. An avid violinist, fiddler, and educator from Arizona, Taylor aims to develop out-of-the-box experiences for string players by encouraging them to compose, arrange and improvise.