Not sorry to burst your bubble

Pursuing a degree here at Harvard feels like living in a bubble world. Well, at least for me, I can’t speak for everyone else. Everyone else apart from your classmates has no idea what you do in your program (“Arts in Education? What’s that?”). You’re essentially living in a university town, where all aspects of life revolve around the university. You’re making connections to the theories, philosophies and ideas in the readings and in classes, but there is an inevitable distance between theory and practice most of the time. Living in a bubble world can be disconcerting and disengaging when you miss and crave “real” world connections from beyond. Fortunately, bubble surfaces are always thin and penetrable, meaning you can easily have this “real” world brought to you, or you can propel yourself out into the “real” world when opportunities arise.

In the Arts in Education classes, we’ve had special guests bring inspiring works by students, moving our hearts and firing up our passion as artists and educators. We gasped and cheered watching a live performance by youths from Citi Spotlights Leadership Program, and ; we shook with laughter and wiped away tears listening to the voice of a 2nd grade student from The Conservatory Lab Charter School narrate his story about a snake, where scientific inquiry and artistic pursuit and quality were inseparable.

Youths from the City Spotlights Leadership Program performing their original work for us – a wonderful amalgamation of theater, song, spoken word, rap and dance.
Ron Berger, Chief Program Officer of Expeditionary Learning Schools, speaks to us about models of excellence and creating cultures of quality for learners. He shares an example from The Conservatory Lab Charter School – the Slithering Snake Stories e-book.

But the “real” world doesn’t always make its away into our classrooms, so sometimes we leave the bubble world for adventures to invigorate our minds and bodies. My classmates and I made a day trip to Salem – just a subway ride and a train ride away from Harvard – where we lost ourselves in the beautiful galleries of the Peabody Essex Museum, and found ourselves exploring charming little shops and cafes. It’s amazing how refreshing it feels to step into another city and immerse yourself into a completely different atmosphere,  even if it’s just for a few precious hours.

A beautiful Saturday morning well spent at the Peabody Essex Museum
Chilling at Gulu Gulu Cafe in Salem, before catching the train back to Boston

Living in a bubble world like Harvard isn’t necessarily a bad thing, with so many exciting learning opportunities to pursue here while being surrounded by like-minded enthusiasts in your interest areas. But feeling connected to and experiencing the world outside of Harvard really can do wonders, especially when you feel exhausted and distanced from what really goes on in people’s lives beyond the papers and the lecture halls.

Harvard STEAM collaborating with Harvard Arts Museums Technology Fellow Ming-Che Tu, Eru Matsumoto, and arts and education podcast series The Palette for an exciting project that explores deconstructing, recreating and translating across the mediums of visual art and music.

Rest assured, there are always ways to burst your bubble, and that is always a good thing.

Jasmine Chin is a Masters in Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She was an arts administrator and public relations consultant that dabbled in piano performance, singing-songwriting, and flash-mobbing prior to pursuing her Masters. She is currently enjoying exploring new creative mediums beyond music, as well as learning about how to create positive impact through arts and education.