Author Archives: Taylor Morris

Let It Snow!

As an Arizona native, I’ve been actively anticipating/dreading the arrival of an actual, real winter.

Well, it came.

With a vengeance.

So, I dealt with it the only way that made any sense!

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An Apple A Day

As the semester has been wrapping up, I’ve had an opportunity to realize how lucky HGSE students are to have this job. Day in, day out…it’s just an unbelievable thing to be involved in education.

But, I’m not talking about teaching—I’m talking about being a graduate student.

It’s incredible to wake up every morning and know for these 9 months our job is to be students. It’s absurd that every day we have to learn and think about issues that are deeply important to us. And, because we’re given so much latitude and autonomy in pursuing graduate studies, it often feels like we are both student and our own teacher.

It’s simultaneously a humbling opportunity and an immense responsibility.

But isn’t that really what all education is? If that’s not what it is, maybe that’s what it should be: a humbling opportunity and an immense responsibility, to both yourself and your community.

Finals were difficult. Daunting, even. But they also were the first chance to step back and begin synthesizing what we’ve learned here over the past three months. At the very least, they were a beautiful reminder of just how hard it is to learn.

You guys, learning is really hard. But, it’s also the coolest thing ever.

So, in the spirit of being both a student and my own teacher, my student-self decided to reward my teacher-self with an apple. But since I’m a little bit older, I chose a slightly bigger apple and added on a 24-hour trip…

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From my trip to New York City!

Here’s to a short intermission before what promises to be an incredible second act—see you in January!

Taylor Morris is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. An avid violinist, fiddler, and educator from Arizona, Taylor aims to develop out-of-the-box experiences for string players by encouraging them to compose, arrange and improvise.

Fall In Love

Recently, I’ve been in touch with a group of my friends and peers from high school about scheduling our 10-year class reunion in the spring. Ten years! As seems to be the case with these benchmarks in life, it’s sparked a lot of personal reflection. If you told me ten years ago that I would help plan my 10-year reunion while working toward a master’s at Harvard, I would have thought you were crazy.

If you told me that last year at this time, however, I would have thought two things:
1)   I haven’t really told anyone I’m applying…wait, are you stalking me?
2)   YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW BADLY I WANT TO BE DOING THAT.

In general, application processes are pretty cruel. Unbearable, really. And the worst part is the wait! I have distinct memories of showing my parents HGSE facebook photos in January and pining, “I want to be thereeeeeee.”

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Harvard Yard

Just this afternoon, I received a beautiful piece of wisdom from my academic advisor that seems oddly relevant to this whole application/school/life thing. After agonizing about what courses to take this spring (a wonderful problem to have) and asking for his advice, he furrowed his brow in thought. While I can’t do his eloquence justice, I’ll attempt to paraphrase part of his response:

I would argue that in life, generally, we leave home to go places for two reasons. The first is that we want to contribute something. The second is that we want to fall in love. (And I don’t mean that in the romantic sense, though it is great when that happens.) We want to fall in love with ideas and people…ideas and people that are going to change us and affect us in deep ways.

In the application process, we put ourselves on the line, looking, hoping, and wanting to fall in love. I applied here because I was so excited about a program that aligned so closely with my interests. And, I had already fallen in love with the idea of being in this program, but first I had to take a leap of faith. Opening ourselves up to rejection is never easy, but that old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” advises us to do so anyway.

Whether or not you decide to apply, I wish that you find a place in life where you can contribute something; more than that, I wish that you fall in love!

Good luck!

Taylor Morris is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. An avid violinist, fiddler, and educator from Arizona, Taylor aims to develop out-of-the-box experiences for string players by encouraging them to compose, arrange and improvise.

Squeezing the most out of HGSE

When I arrived at HGSE, I learned it is common to compare these 9 months in a master’s program to drinking from a firehose: there’s so much that you’ll be overwhelmed just taking in the amount that you can.

I was skeptical at first. I mean, yeah, it’s Harvard, we’re in Cambridge, and near Bostonbut how can that be a thing?!

Turns out nobody is exaggerating–it’s actually a thing! And, it’s equal parts incredible, overwhelming, and totally inspiring. There really is that much to do both on and off campus.

While I could talk about any number of extracurricular experiences in which I’ve had the fortune to partake, I want to give a shout out to Continuing the Conversation, a biennial conference for artists and educators coordinated by alumni from Arts in Education (AIE), my program here at HGSE.

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While the weekend was filled with insightful panels and sessions, the highlight for me was the opening event with performances from and a discussion with student artists: two dancers from Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, two performers from Zumix (a nearby community music program), and a group of ceramics students from a high school in Pennsylvania.

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One of the performances was by Brian, a student rapper from Zumix. Coincidentally, the hook in his original rap was: “Life is what you make it; create it and make it last.”

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Taking those words to heart that night, I skipped going to sleep early and went out with members from my AIE cohort to a nearby pub…

[Are you ready? Here comes the pun!]

…and, in squeezing the most out of my time here, I was thrilled to have my very first cup of hot apple cider!

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Cheers!

Taylor Morris is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. An avid violinist, fiddler, and educator from Arizona, Taylor aims to develop out-of-the-box experiences for string players by encouraging them to compose, arrange and improvise.

When Life Gives You…Apples?

I’m from Arizona.

And here’s something you may not know about life in the desert: we don’t have “fall.” We don’t even really have “seasons,” per se. For all intents and purposes, we’ve got summer, post-summer, and pre-summer…and that’s about it.

So, needless to say, this whole fall thing has been pretty fantastic. And, in an effort to soak it up, I’m actively partaking in seasonal stereotypes: wearing sweaters, consuming all things pumpkin, and even growing a beard! But, the most fruitful, fall endeavor thus far has been going on the yearly HGSE apple picking trip. [Pun very much intended.]

You guys, apple picking is awesome. This photo only captures about 34% of the happiness I felt that day:

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A moment of triumph as I successfully scale a precariously balanced ladder to pick two perfect apples from the top.

You know what’s less awesome? Spending all Saturday (day and night) writing mid-term essays.

So, in the spirit of making all things autumnal, I modified the optimists’ well-worn motto to improve my Saturday night: when life gives you apples, make apple pies.

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I poked slits in the shape of the number 2, because this was my second ever pie. (In case you’re wondering, yes, my first pie had a 1 on it.)

…and if you didn’t see it coming yet, baking a pie happens to be a pretty great metaphor for life as a student. These past two months have been spent navigating my options, picking out classes, cutting through readings, making knowledge from scratch, and letting this adventure slowly culminate into a dense, rich experience.

Dig in!

Taylor Morris is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. An avid violinist, fiddler, and educator from Arizona, Taylor aims to develop out-of-the-box experiences for string players by encouraging them to compose, arrange and improvise.