Author Archives: divya

On Applications and Motivations

This time last year, I think I’d just taken my GREs and I was in the midst of the extremely stressful process of applications that you all must be going through right now. It’s astounding though how fast this amazing first semester at HGSE has passed and the acceptance, visa application process and the first few months here at the Ed School seem like a blur now.

I guess I just wanted to write about a few things that might help you with your application process! Firstly, I would really encourage you to think through honestly and clearly why you are applying to graduate school in education and why Harvard, not for the admissions committee or anyone else but for yourself. If those motivations are strong, clear, genuinely yours and sincere, they will no doubt keep you focused and motivated even through the chaotic year on Appian Way. No two people come to ed school for precisely the same reasons. All you have to be sure about is that you are applying for the right ones (but no one else can really decide what “right” means for you). After thinking that through, be sure to communicate it simply and genuinely in your Statement of Purpose! Be concise and coherent but also be sure to stick true your writing style and your person.

I was thinking back to what drove me to apply here and I thought I’d share what motivated me. Simply put, I’d wanted to get better, as an educator, as a learner and as a person on the whole. And now that I’m at the halfway mark of this journey myself, I feel like this determination and drive to know more, to learn, to be able to put into practice what I’ve learnt, to broaden my mind and to open it to new ways of thinking has pushed me to become better. I don’t have all the answers yet, I’m not entirely and completely sure that I’ve done all that I can to get better but all I know is that I’ve one more semester to try harder! (:

That’s my two cents’ worth! All the best with your applications and happy holidays everyone! (:

Divya Somasundaram is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Language & Literacy program. As an educator-to-be in the island city-state of Singapore, Divya is interested in the intersection of language policy and language teaching, as well as enabling equitable access to literacy.

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More Than A Section — A Community!

Sections that are allotted for some courses allow you to meet with a smaller group of your course mates and a Teaching Fellow to further discuss the material brought up in class and in the readings. They offer a great opportunity to interact with your classmates on a deeper and more meaningful level especially if your usual class size is extremely large. Despite the initial awkwardness in the first few weeks, the cozy feeling of community in the section that is bound to follow allows you (by you, I actually mean me! :D) to break out of your shell, get past the inhibitions to speak up and participate in meaningful discussions about your thoughts, questions, doubts and quite frankly anything remotely related to the class.

In that respect, the section for my T440 class (The Having of Wonderful Ideas) has definitely been one of the best aspects of my first semester at HGSE. I do appreciate the friendships that have formed through this section and have been strengthened outside of class. This section has allowed me to explore the material we’re exposed to in class on a deeper level. And I would definitely have to add that this experience with this extremely supportive and encouraging group has definitely made me more confident about speaking out and putting forth my opinions though they may differ from the perspective of the majority. In addition, having the tremendous opportunity to dialogue with all these people from different programs in HGSE, other schools in Harvard (e.g. Business School, Medical School) and even other universities (e.g. MIT, Lesley University) has truly enriched my worldview!

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Here’s a photo of a group of us trying to explore exactly how mirrors worked at the Gutman library! (I was really surprised at how much we thought we knew about mirrors, but actually didn’t!)

Divya Somasundaram is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Language & Literacy program. As an educator-to-be in the island city-state of Singapore, Divya is interested in the intersection of language policy and language teaching, as well as enabling equitable access to literacy.

 

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Stay wisely naive.

One of the most exciting experiences I’ve had here at the Ed School thus far has been the launch of the HGSE Campaign and the accompanying tagline: “Learn to Change the World”! Kudos to you if you got the wordplay there (:

To have the U.S. Secretary of Education, distinguished alumni of HGSE and professors speak to us was indeed a real privilege. I also had the rare opportunity to speak to one of the Associate Deans from the National Institute of Education in Singapore! He had come down to speak at the panel dialogue on global education and when asked about one piece of advice he’d give to aspiring educators, he said, “Stay wisely naive.” Although seemingly an oxymoron, it resonated with me deeply. While the entire day’s events had surely set me thinking and fuelled my passion to make a difference, his words served a reminder to always temper my hope and idealism with wisdom and courage.

Divya Somasundaram is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Language & Literacy program. As an educator-to-be in the island city-state of Singapore, Divya is interested in the intersection of language policy and language teaching, as well as enabling equitable access to literacy.