Our HDS Admissions Blog has served many a prospective student during the application and matriculation process. I’ve compiled an annotated list of the posts that were most helpful to me during the anxious period between submitting my application, hearing back about The Decision in mid-March, and making my decision to matriculate in April. I do hope that these posts will bring comfort and insight to those awaiting decisions, those only beginning to consider HDS, and even those of us already spending evenings in Andover Library, searching for a sense of renewal in a new semester.
Now that you’ve made it through the first half of application season, you will have plenty of time to truly think about where you are and where you hope to be. In this post, HDS alum Chris Alburger explores a Harvard tradition called “Shopping Week” that takes place the first week of every semester to enable students to, quite literally, shop their classes like an academic grocery store. Similar to choosing classes, many of you also applied to one or more graduate programs besides HDS. Chris wonderfully ties shopping week to shopping for graduate schools, making it known that you, dear applicants, have entered your own kind of “Shopping Period” this spring.
It might seem strange to include a post about someone’s last semester at HDS when you all have yet to begin your first semester here. Read on for advice from HDS alum Zach Kerzee that will last you through your anxious wait, prepare you to meet your peers at the Open House for Admitted Students, the Summer Language Program, orientation and beyond. As someone who came directly from undergrad, the advice to “embrace mediocrity” even helped me complete my honors thesis while juggling multiple graduate school applications!
This wisdom filled piece, written by HDS alum Cody Mussleman, transforms anxiety about the future to a sense of wonderment and excitement. Repeat with me: the future will arrive on time.
To those awaiting decisions: You will doubtless experience at least one or two restless nights between now and the release of decisions in mid-March. Many people talk about how exciting this time can be, how fun it can be to imagine where you might go and what you might accomplish there. Although you will spend ample time daydreaming about the wonderful opportunities that await, you will likely experience challenging emotions as well. While your friends and family gather around you in excitement as you await the decisions of one or more graduate schools, it can feel that there is no room for the complicated emotions that come with significant life decisions, especially when one such possibility is rooted in a school as well-renowned and unique as Harvard Divinity. For some of you, admission to HDS will illuminate an easy and obvious path across a sunbathed sky-bridge. For others, it will open a deep and winding labyrinth of serious personal inquiry for financial, academic, familial, or heart-reasons that evade categorization. Either way, the journey is yours. Only you can know if HDS is the right fit for you. It is not the right fit for everyone.
For those travelling across the sky-bridge, I am rooting for you. For those travelling through the underground tunnels of your being, I am rooting for you too. For those who decide to join us next fall, I look forward to hearing your story and sharing this wonderful place with you. For those who decide differently, know that there are always many paths. And lastly, for all of us already here, may we never forget that although HDS provides fertile soil, we are planted saplings who bring fresh life.
Master of Theological Studies Candidate, Buddhist Studies, 2019