Hi, my name is Emily Rogal, and if you’ve called or emailed the Office of Admissions, I’m one of the three Graduate Assistants you’ve probably talked to. A few weeks ago, the HDS Admissions Graduate Assistants hosted a webinar specifically for those awaiting decisions for this application cycle. What follows is a condensed, blog-friendly version of the webinar with a cute, furry surprise at the end. Unlike the original webinar, this post is intended to provide food for thought for all audiences, whether you have already submitted your application or are still discerning which graduate schools you might like to attend in the future. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that exactly a year ago I was sitting on the couch in my parent’s living room, having refreshed my application status page for the only the first time that morning, with my cursor hovering over the “Status update” link. When I finally worked up the nerve to click on the link, the letter waiting for me was exactly the one I was hoping for. One year later, I’m halfway through my second semester at HDS and it’s been an amazing journey.
It didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted to come to HDS, but even then, there were many things that I couldn’t have anticipated in my excitement.
We gather as friends and fellow travelers and we find ourselves enriched and sustained by the journey.
I knew that HDS was a place where many people of diverse backgrounds and religious traditions gathered to study and learn together, but only after I arrived did I discover just how warm and intentional this community really is. I went to my first Wednesday Noon Service after I’d already started working in the Admissions Office. I thought I’d just get a taste of the Service in order to tell prospective students about it. Instead, it became a part of my weekly practice. From fall semester’s Unitarian Universalist, Muslim, and Buddhist services to this semester’s Jewish, Religious None’s, and Catholic services, Wednesday Noon Services have been a fantastic opportunity for HDS students across religious traditions to gather and participate in the faith traditions of others, and others of non-religious traditions. We gather as friends and fellow travelers and we find ourselves enriched and sustained by the journey.
. . . the excitement has come not only from learning from excellent professors, but from being in the classroom with colleagues who are fired by the same curiosity and commitment that I am.
I knew HDS was a place of academic rigor, but only after I arrived did I discover just how amazing the opportunities to study with world-class faculty would be. Last semester, I had the chance to study with Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Albert Raboteau, pioneers in feminist theology and African American religion, respectively. This semester, I’m taking a course with Homi Bhabha that explores genealogies of global imagination, learning from Toni Morrison who is offering a series of Norton Lectures on the literature of belonging, and exploring Caribbean literature, religion, and culture with Mayra Rivera Rivera. In all of these experiences, the excitement has come not only from learning from excellent professors, but from being in the classroom with colleagues who are fired by the same curiosity and commitment that I am.
I knew HDS was filled with impressive people, but only after I arrived did I discover that not only are my fellow students impressive, they’re also a true pleasure to be around. So often, over the past two semesters, I’ve had stimulating conversations with my fellow students in class, only to continue that conversation in ways unexpected and fruitful after class concludes. At gatherings like Tuesday afternoon Community Tea and in the various groups and organizations, people gather to talk and pass the time—to simply be in each others’ presence and enjoy the pleasures of community. As my friend Nestor says, “When people ask how you’re doing, it’s not just to acknowledge your presence—they really want to know how you are.”
These are a few of the discoveries I’ve made about HDS in the year since I received my acceptance letter. It’s such a pleasure to congratulate you on your acceptance letter—I hope you’ll join us in April for a chance to experience HDS firsthand!
Oh, the uncertainty! As I enter the second (and final–how bittersweet!) term of my master’s degree here at HDS I am particularly reminded of the anxieties, hopes, and expectations of the “waiting game” that occupied my senior year of college because, in the oddly cyclical nature of things, I am in it once again!
Academics, Admissions, Alumni, BTI, Classes, Clubs, CSWR, Field Ed, HBS, HGSE, HKS, Housing, MDiv, MIT, Noon Service, Ph.D., Pluralism Project, Prospective Students, Research, Student Life, Thoreau, UU, Work-Study
As I was learning about HDS through the website and preparing my application, I started imagining what it would be like to actually be there. If you’ve applied for the Fall, I bet you’ve wondered that, too. And, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably anxious to hear back from Admissions in mid-March and wondering what to do with yourself until then. The anxiety was nightmarish for me, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming. I mean, if you’re gonna worry about the worst possible outcome, you may as well imagine the best, too, right? So stay positive and start visioning.
Congrats! You have successfully completed your application! So, what’s next? There is no easy solution to avoiding anxiety around waiting to hear, but perhaps I can offer a sliver of advice to avoid over-thinking if you included that one summer internship, or if you spell-checked your essay enough, so on and so on. I’ve been there! Continue reading