Author Archives: stacytell

“Life’s short, talk fast.”

Close friends of mine will be able to tell you just how far my obsession with the cult television show, Gilmore Girls, extends. I can throw quotes out from any season, and any episode, on command. For example, I can tell you that the quote written above would actually not be found on any Gilmore Girls script – it was actually the tagline promoting the television show that I came to love throughout the course of my undergraduate years of college. However, as I sat down to write this final (!) blog post of the semester, I realize that “Life’s short, talk fast” is actually a pretty accurate tagline for what I can only describe as my whirlwind of a graduate school experience. Continue reading

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Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has finally begun to take root (literally) on the streets of Harvard Square. Restaurants are bringing out the patio tables, puffy jackets are being traded in for light pea coats, and there’s a happier feeling in the air, a sign that summer is upon us, and… oh no… graduation is drawing closer and closer. With the reality of having one month of school left, I decided to ask the members of my cohort (and other cohorts as well!) to contribute to my “Must Do” list – a compilation of fun things to do in Cambridge / Boston before we leave. Here’s what they had to say!  Continue reading

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A Stomach Ache and a Caring Community

We’ve all been there. Those days where you feel like the world is just conspiring against you, waiting to see just how much it can push you before you break. We’ve all had those bad days when it seems like nothing is going to go your way, and you just want to curl up in a ball and cry. When I’m having a rough day, I like to call home. My younger brother, Cory, can usually snap me out of a mood real quick because he says, “Stace, you’re at HARVARD. Harvard people don’t get to complain.” Well, I hate to break it to you bro, but bad days come for everybody. Yesterday was no exception.  Continue reading

A Day in the Life of a L&L Student

What does the day in the life of a HGSE student look like? Well, I am one, so I’d be glad to provide you with a little sneak peek! As a reading specialist intern in the Language and Literacy program, my days come with a practicum placement – a setting where I work with students three days a week in small groups or on a one-on-one basis. Let’s see what we’ve got.

6:17 AM (17’s my lucky number)  – First alarm rings.

6:27 AM (Notice a pattern?) AM – Second alarm rings. I open my eyes and stare at the ceiling hoping it’s still only 6:17 and I have some time to kill, but reality sets in quickly and I start getting ready for the day ahead.

7:00 AM – Out the door and making moves past Appian Way to the bus stop at Cambridge Commons. Continue reading

“Dream. Try. Do Good.”

For those of you who haven’t watched (and cried through) the classic movie, Love Story, this is a film from the 1970s that centers around a Harvard hockey player and a Radcliffe intellectual who have absolutely nothing in common other than their deep love for each other.  When I first began considering plans for graduate school and researching my options, my mom told me, “Well, if you’re applying to Harvard, you gotta watch Love Story! It was filmed at Harvard.” I’d love to tell you that movies and television aren’t a major factor in my life decisions, but let’s face it – who didn’t want to be a teacher after watching Mr. Feeny on their television screens every Friday afternoon in Boy Meets World marathons?


In all seriousness, I know the application process can be incredibly daunting. Before you even begin to think about letters of recommendation, sending off transcripts, and writing personal statements, you have to find the school that’s best for you. I’m a big list maker, so my advice is to write your own list. What are the top five things that you are looking to take away from your graduate school experience? Do you want a program heavily based in research, or one that places you within a school or organization during your time there? Are you looking to live in a city atmosphere, or is a campus more your style? Write out all of your dreams for the ultimate graduate experience, and then list them by priority.

Next, turn to that beautiful World Wide Web. Scour those graduate school websites – they’re PACKED with useful information, and draw a pretty clear picture as to what your time will be like when you arrive for your next great adventure. Finally, I personally believe that there’s no better way to pick the graduate school program best suited to your needs then visiting the campus itself. I’ll never forget that feeling of stepping onto the Harvard campus and listening to professors and current students speak passionately about their field, and warmly greeting me with excitement for the year that would follow. It’s hard to explain, but there was an energy here unlike what I had felt when touring my other prospective schools. While formal visiting options are limited during the application review period, you should definitely check out the HGSE virtual tour.

I know, it’s a lot to take in. However, you’re currently reading this blog post, which means you’ve probably already explored HGSE’s website! Congratulate yourself; you’re getting there! Take it one day at a time. Organize a calendar of your deadlines, and make feasible goals that will allow you plenty of time to get that application filled out. Finally, when you’re sitting in your room at 10 PM and fighting back tears because this essay just isn’t sounding right, step away. Pop in a movie (might I recommend Love Story?) and let your brain relax. Sometimes stepping away is exactly what you need to find exactly what it is you’re looking for. Good luck! 🙂

Stacy Tell is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Language and Literacy program. An aspiring Reading Specialist, Stacy is passionate about helping students to become lifelong readers.


The dreaded word – finals. Whether we’re grading them or taking them, finals never really seem to go away. We all know from our four years in college how hard it can be to stay healthy and be committed to exercise when you’re stuck in a chair in the library typing up papers all evening, and the vending machine is just so conveniently placed and deliciously unhealthy. Here are some local Harvard Square late-night spots where you can grab some “brain food!”

Market in the Square – Open 24/7, located at 60 Church Street

This is the quintessential spot to grab some yummy fruits and veggies, and in addition, it has a hot bar piled up with healthy options – chicken dishes, salads, and roasted vegetables! Though a bit on the pricier side, the market has everything from sandwiches to prepared sushi that will satisfy your late night noshing!

 Au Bon Pain – Closes at 2 AM every day, located at 1360 Mass Avenue

Fresh bread, leafy salads, and tons of coffee – Au Bon Pain has all the essentials for a great late night meal. Fresh fruit is offered in take-away containers, and the make-your-own salad bar is a personal favorite of mine. There’s also plenty of room to sit and get some work done if you need a break from the mute quiet of the library atmosphere.

IHOP – Closes at 4 AM every day, located at 16 Eliot Street

Who doesn’t love breakfast at night? Grab a hearty omelet or freshly scrambled eggs with some OJ and let yourself unwind at this popular student hub. I’m one of those people who work best in the mornings, so delving into breakfast foods help my mind get refreshed and working in the later hours.

But whoa! Still craving the non-healthy bites? (Don’t worry, I wish my willpower were strong enough to banish my cravings, but it’s not.) Here are some other late-night options!

Hong Kong – Closes at 2:00 AM Sunday through Wednesday, 2:30 AM on Thursdays, and 3:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays, located at 1238 Mass Avenue

Who hasn’t had late night craving to eat lo-mein noodles or Szechuan spicy chicken with their friends in a dorm room? With plentiful options and larger-than-life portions, you not only get a late night meal, but also the next day’s breakfast and lunch along with it! Make sure you grab a fortune cookie in order to ensure success on your finals 😉

Filipe’s Taqueria – Closes at midnight Monday through Wednesday, 2:00 AM on Thursday-Saturday, located at 83 Mount Auburn Street

College-friendly price ranges, cheesy quesadillas, and steaming-hot burritos make this place a Harvard staple. Indulge yourself in all of your Mexican favorites while enjoying the speedy service in the midst of a packed crowd. Try the complimentary salsas. Cash only!

Finally, enjoy some healthy, yet delicious snack options if you’re not up for a meal. Blueberries, almonds, bananas, or even a block of dark chocolate! Last, but not least, on the subject of exercise – don’t just sit at a table for five hours. Allow yourself some breaks to get up, take a stretch, walk around, and get some fresh air! HAPPY STUDYING 🙂

Stacy Tell is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Language and Literacy program. An aspiring Reading Specialist, Stacy is passionate about helping students to become lifelong readers.

The Long-Winded April Fools Joke?

I remember walking into the Admitted Students Orientation in April, just waiting for that moment when they’d look for my name on the check-in list, give me the up-and-down, and say “Whoops, we didn’t mean to accept you. Sorry, our mistake.” Instead, I was warmly welcomed by the student ambassadors currently studying and following their educational passions at HGSE. I then remember walking into my program meeting, and listening to my prospective peers speak about their real life teaching experiences that I, still an undergraduate at NYU, hadn’t experienced yet. I thought to myself, “Okay, THIS is where they say April Fools!” Instead, I was given a warmly baked cookie from Pamela Mason, and shown around the awe-inspiring site that is the Jeanne Chall Reading Lab.

Fast forward four months, and I’m all moved into my new city. The textbooks have been purchased, and the classes have all been shopped. I walked into my first day of class six weeks ago today, thinking that this was it. This was where they’d all be speaking some advanced form of Latin, and my inadequacies would immediately reveal themselves, and Harvard would retract their admissions decision. Yet somehow, within the first half hour of the class, I felt my hand start to go up. I was actually RAISING MY HAND, ready to contribute to the discussion. I was shocked by my own bravery, and even more astounded when my classmates began to build their own opinions off of the point I had made. I found myself in a full-fledged, intellectual discussion, at Harvard! On reflection, I realized that it was these people, with their impressive minds that had so intimidated me, that had actually given me the strength to speak out in my classroom. I saw that their passionate energy for educational topics matched my own, and I was busting at the seams to exchange ideas and knowledge with them. It’s safe to say that I am now ready to walk by that Harvard Graduate School of Education sign in front of Gutman Library, knowing that I truly belong.


Stacy Tell is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Language and Literacy program. An aspiring Reading Specialist, Stacy is passionate about helping students to become lifelong readers.

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team!

I’ve never been much of a sporty gal. My hopeless hand-eye coordination and overall lack of athletic ability have often been the target of jokes amongst my two younger brothers, both talented athletes who watch ESPN morning until night. While I was living in New York, sports were never on my radar. I knew that Madison Square Garden was where the Knicks played, and that the new Yankee Stadium was located up in the Bronx, but those games came and went without me knowing the name of a single player.

That all changed when I arrived in Boston.

The people here show a loyalty for the Red Sox that is akin to being in a marriage. It’s hard to go a day without seeing the familiar blue and red t-shirt, or without hearing “Papi” in a general conversation. It only got more excessive once the World Series began. I found myself swept up in the Boston sporting excitement, going to restaurants and bars that had televisions all tuned in to the game, and cheering with other students upon every win. Sports create a community here that not only represent great athletic teams, but also represent the city and its resilience as a whole. Congratulations, Red Sox! I’m thrilled that I was in this city to experience the enthusiasm firsthand.

My friends and I definitely jumped as high as these guys after they won Game 6!

My friends and I definitely jumped as high as these guys after they won Game 6!

Stacy Tell is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Language and Literacy program. An aspiring Reading Specialist, Stacy is passionate about helping students to become lifelong readers.