Author Archives: Daniel Dickey

Finding a Place to Live at Harvard University

After the initial shock of your acceptance wears off and you have already introduced yourself to your cohort via email, it is important to channel your energy to the next phase of coming to Harvard: finding a place to live. Thankfully, Cambridge—and more broadly, Boston—offer myriad places to live but with each place comes pros and cons. Below you will find some information on the most popular options.

Harvard Housing | Graduate Housing

If you are at all like me, you will want to spend your graduate experience as an engaged member of the Harvard community. Thus, it would make sense to try and live as close to the University as possible. Though you will be at school for classes, you will probably also want to attend group meetings, clubs, activities, social hours, and speaker series—living close to campus makes the commute easy and strips the need of public transportation.

Cronkhite: I chose to spend my year living in the Cronkhite Graduate Center. Cronkhite is a graduate dorm (you must be 21+ to live in it) situated three blocks away from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and across the street from Radcliffe Lawn. Though single dorms rooms can be pricey ($1200-$1400 but with all expenses included) and you have to share restrooms, it makes getting the school beyond easy (especially during the frigid winter). Additionally, though approximately 50% of the residents attend the Graduate School of Education, the dorm houses students from all over the University and as a result, makes it is easy to find an intellectually diverse set of friends. Harvard Housing also has 20+ other properties in the area.

GSAS: Another option is the dorms available at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Like Cronkhite, these are located close to school and are actually a bit cheaper ($900-$1200). However, these dorms do not have the same social actives and events that happen at Harvard Housing properties. Also, students who are interested in this property need to apply in advance as a lottery is used to determine who is accepted.

Getting a Place on Your Own

Before writing this, I asked classmates about their experiences renting places. As for the individuals who rented cheap and far away from school, they noted that you should take into account the added amount of time you will spend in transit (hopefully you can read on the bus without feeling nauseous). Also, once you leave campus, you are usually gone for the day as the commute is too long to attempt it twice. However, if you, like many of us, are ballin’ on a budget, this can lead to a much more affordable and financially responsible year (but do account for costs like transit, heat, gas, hot water, and internet as some times the final cost is not much cheaper than closer options).

I recommend reaching out Office of Student Affairs if you are considering renting a property. Everyone in the office is extremely helpful and Alex is well versed on best rental practices for Boston whether you are searching with a broker (they charge one month’s rent) or off of Craigslist.

Best of luck during your transition to Cambridge!

Daniel Dickey is a Master’s of Education candidate in Higher Education, and was elected the Chief Financial Officer and Higher Ed Senator for the HGSE Student Council. Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Daniel taught high school English in an urban school as a Teach For America corps member.

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The Benefits of Cross Registration at Harvard

By far, one of the perks of being at Harvard is being able to cross register. More specifically, students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education are able to register for courses at 12 of Harvard University’s schools as well as courses at MIT, Tufts, and Brown (for GSAS doctoral students).

Having this kind of opportunity truly gives students the chance to diversify and broaden their education; to elaborate, both the style of discourse and the point of views of students at each school can range widely. Therefore, although all classes I have taken have fostered intellectual thought and deep examination of theory, I have genuinely enjoyed seeing how both pedagogy and conversation shift between programs. For example, at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, I was privileged to learn among students who often assessed problems through an astute quantitative lens and it has since pushed me to strengthen my mathematics skills. Further, while enrolled at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, I listened to leaders from around the world appraise problems not by considering the individual but by considering entire populations—as a result, I am better poised to think globally as a decision maker. And in these examples is the jewel of cross registration: the chance to wrestle with and comprehend complex issues via a multiplicity of ideological, theoretical, and practical lenses.

No matter your home school, there is no dearth of engaging classes at Harvard (there are over 8,000 classes listed in course catalog). But if you want to better position your graduate school experience to be wide ranging and full of perspective, I recommend cross registering in at least one course outside of your home school as a way to expand your thinking. And, whichever classes or schools you enroll in, there is one sure thing—as a Harvard student you will learn from inspiring, gifted professors and learn among thoughtful, inquisitive students.

Note: To ensure that you have a spot in your ideal class, it is important that you research the registration steps long before the deadline. For example, each school (both within Harvard and outside Harvard) tends to have individualized quirks when it comes to registration (e.g., Harvard Business School often requires students to email professors a resume whereas Harvard Law School has some classes with deadlines almost two months before the norm). Therefore, make sure to look into the steps necessary to cross register before you join us on campus.

Daniel Dickey is a Master’s of Education candidate in Higher Education, and was elected the Chief Financial Officer and Higher Ed Senator for the HGSE Student Council. Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Daniel taught high school English in an urban school as a Teach For America corps member.

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Don’t Ask Yourself Why, Ask Yourself Why Not

During the 2015 Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) welcome ceremony, Dean James Ryan asked the hundreds in attendance to approach this year not by asking why, but by asking why not.

Though Ryan’s advice could be broadly applicable to many aspects of one’s future at Harvard, I took it as a challenge to spend my time at HGSE making a bold and impactful difference. To elaborate, when you are a student at Harvard, you are continually surrounded by wonderfully intelligent and emotionally gifted people. From classes to extra-curricular activities, it quickly becomes apparent how genuinely talented and well-qualified your fellow classmates are (e.g., on my third day in the dining hall, I sat next to someone who had won an Olympic gold medal. Immediately, I felt insignificant as I ate my off-brand Fruity Pebbles). Thus, even though HGSE boasts a welcoming and encouraging environment, being bold can actually be quite intimidating.

However, when I asked myself why not, I often realized the only thing holding me back was my own hesitation.

From little things: Should I take a two three-hour break from writing a policy report to watch Netflix? Why not?

To big things: should I propose setting up a school-wide athletic tournament to promote physical health before it starts snowing? Why not?

I have come to appreciate that asking myself why does much less for me—and the difference I hope make—than asking myself why not.

Therefore, whether you are a prospective applicant or a current student, I encourage you to also consider Dean Ryan’s call to action. Like me, you might find the simple question turn out to be a compass guiding you to make choices not on fear, but more so—on potential.

Daniel Dickey is a Master’s of Education candidate in Higher Education, and was elected the Chief Financial Officer and Higher Ed Senator for the HGSE Student Council. Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Daniel taught high school English in an urban school as a Teach For America corps member.