A Purple Chair


Sitting on the purple chair in Gutman and staring out to the corner of Appian Way and Brattle Street. I just waved to some familiar faces. Months ago, I didn’t know this would be the chair I wrote my paper on first-generation programs, or where I’d engage in a twenty minute dialogue about educational rights of children in the midst of countries in warfare, or where I’d watch Sesame Street clips of Game of Thrones (Game of Chairs) and Star Wars (S’more Wars) parodies as a study break. But here I am, typing, seeing new friendships, and imagining my disruptive impact as I listen to Ed Sheeran.

I spoke to Mike Esposito (Ed.M. ’15) of the Harvard Financial Aid Office in the beginning of the semester and he shared with me something that has deeply resonated; our knowledge is a sphere, and the space around the sphere is the unknown–as we learn more, our sphere grows, but as we understand more, we become more aware of what we don’t know. Relatively speaking, the more we know, the less we know since the sphere’s surface area interfaces with more space.

Everyday is another discourse on a new educational movement, theory of change, and critique. The continued perspective is humbling. As my sphere grows, I need to keep traveling around my newfound world of understanding. Vigilance in intertextuality is the proverbial airplane–and I’ve racked up a lot of air miles. Although traveling is fun, it can be exhausting. I can feel the rich experiences in my DNA, but also the exhaustion stealing my love. With two weeks left to go for finals, I’m enduring the last leg of traveling before I can return to my mental palace and replenish. Yes, the workload is rigorous, but a few more connecting flights through tackling another 15 and 20 page paper will land me home–well, maybe after another break as I fall back into the purple chair.

Taaha Mohamedali is a Master’s of Education candidate in Higher Education. Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Taaha was an admissions officer coordinating efforts to improve access for marginalized groups at Lafayette College.  He hopes to improve transitional support structures for these groups in the years to come. His passions include spoken word, comedy, and rock, paper, scissors.