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Photo by Katelynn Carver

New growth. Photo by Katelynn Carver

Three years ago I attended the Open House for Admitted Students, and I can remember being very hesitant about the day and my decision itself. I had just attended an event for admitted students at another divinity school, and was pretty sure I was going there, but I still went to HDS to check it out and affirm my decision to attend the other place. I thought HDS was going to be the wrong place for me, that it would be all extremely high academia and no community, that it would be a place that would only challenge me intellectually, but not spiritually or emotionally, that it would simply be a place to earn a Harvard degree and nothing more. I was also really scared to like it. I was scared that Harvard had made a mistake in accepting me, that I was going to be much less smart than my colleagues, that I was going to be a very small fish in an enormous ocean. Admitted Students Day was simply going to confirm all of my fears and then I would be able to fully make my decision to attend the other school. Well, what happened was exactly the opposite.

After an hour of being on HDS’ campus, all of my calculated thoughts and negative predictions about what HDS would be like for me started to be replaced by exciting ones. After hearing the Dean’s welcome, sitting in on the student life panel, having lunch with professors, learning more in depth about the Field Education program, and talking with my potential classmates, I realized that HDS would be more than just a place to get my divinity degree, it would be a place where I would grow, where I would meet people who would challenge me intellectually and spiritually, where I would be able to integrate practical work with my academics, where I would be asked every day how I can better exist in my community and the world itself.

My decision was made for me that day, and every day since it has been reaffirmed. I think the real reason why I chose HDS is the people. The variety of interests, foci, cultures, and backgrounds makes each and every day here unique. People are so passionate, and it has forced me to cultivate my own passions, think clearly and deeply about my vocation, and absolutely fall in love with this place. I chose HDS for the exact thing I thought I would never find here: community. The community is so rich and fulfilling, and it has been an absolute joy to be a part of it.