The notion of ‘fit’ was central to both my excitement and trepidation before arriving at HDS this fall. I knew from perusing the course websites and extracurricular offerings that, formally at least, Harvard Divinity School would be the ‘right’ place for me. I was more than ready to dive into the enriching array of learning opportunities that stood before me, both within and outside of the classroom.
However, more practically and perhaps superficially, the idea of ‘fit’ in terms of ‘fitting in’ was also a source of my anxiety before beginning my time at Harvard. I was confronted by those cliche (for a good reason!) pre-new-school fears: would I make friends? What would day-to-day life be like? Could I handle the work? And, of course, the one which was given voice not only internally but also externalized frequently by anyone who learned I was attending Divinity school, “so are you going to be hanging out with a bunch of priests?”
After my first six weeks here, I think I can provide some succinct answers to these abstract worries. Friends- yes, Daily life- full and awesome, Handling the work- challenging but enriching, and, lastly, Hanging with Priests- yes and no, ‘ministry’ has so many more meanings and dimensions than I imagined. Harvard Divinity School is a place that will challenge you to grow both academically and spiritually, but will also support you in this growth and help you uncover and stoke your passions in every aspect of life and learning.
Of course these are only my own experiences, however I think one of the truly wonderful things about HDS is that it seems almost impossible to not find one’s ‘fit’ here. This is one of the most genuinely diverse communities I have ever experienced, not only in its religious pluralism, but in every arena; interests, age, experience, etc. However, importantly for the coherence of such difference in one place, underlying all of this diversity is a genuine passion for exploration and, critically, a remarkable openness to the many expressions such exploration may take.
I’m certainly still in the process of figuring out just what I will be pursuing during my time here and afterwards, but I already know that the community and opportunities here will be able to help and motivate me to find my ‘fit’ during every step of this journey.