My Year of Saying, “Yes”

Many of my posts this past year as a HGSE Ambassador involved trying to diffuse the intensity (or insanity) of grad school by finding ways to regroup, de-stress and re-balance. I knew opportunities would be fleeting in a 1-year program, so my time at Harvard had to be, “The Year of Yes” (to copy the book title). Yes to: trivia nights, Askwith Forums, 5 hour Saturday World of Warcraft class sessions, dance performances, wine tastings, impromptu movie nights, happy hours, late night falafel delivery, hockey/football/basketball games, why-not-champagne toasts, brunch, kayaking, Trader-Joe runs, along-the-Charles runs, TGIFs, library-stacks exploration, teas at Lowell House, Grey’s Anatomy, TEDxHGSE, Thursdays, Toscano’s, Toscano’s and Toscano’s. Yes to exhaustion.

The pace, which began in September and continued on through to winter break was a round-the-clock loop studying, activities and decompressing with a little sleep thrown in here and there. I can’t remember much of my holiday week in Wisconsin, other than it involved a couch, a lot of sleep and a little reality TV. The madness started again the first week of January with J-Term (as I wasn’t about to miss the Sesame Street class- don’t let the name fool you, it should be renamed, Stay Up Late with Sesame Street). It was full steam ahead until Spring Break- during which I attended the TEDxHGSE Conference, consisting of more lectures, group discussions, organized projects, note-taking and mind-blowing late-night discussions. During finals week the level of intensity exploded. One would’ve thought that I’d be losing it. But, on the contrary, I was quite content.

A grand opening occurred at Harvard, but not at the beginning of the year. For me, it happened in late April. I woke up one day and realized, “Wow, I’m more open.” I’m more aware of how I learn, of what sparks my interest, of what people say, of the disruption of my own assumptions and of the realization that this may indeed be just one of many openings/awakenings. In my commitment to the word yes, I discovered that how I learn is key to what I learn. Through all of my activities and interactions both in and out of the classroom, the listening, disputing, entangling, meshing, distorting, revealing and declaring of ideas has taught me (or reminded me) that learning is indeed social. The cognition coupled with the meta-cognition is quite an exhausting, yet enlightening combo.

As Oprah says, “One thing I know for sure,” this eminent ending that is upon us with graduation and program completion, is actually a new beginning. I’m finishing my time at Harvard feeling as over-the-moon as when I started filled with hope, anticipation and possibility. Indeed, I’m leaving campus armed with a lot more “knowledge,” but more significantly, I’ve come to understand the power and impact of “yes.”

Felicia Kamriani is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Technology, Innovation, and Education program. Having been a commercial actress and educator, Felicia is interested in identity formation and how art can facilitate that process