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
While giving tours to prospective HDS students, I am sure to bring them to see the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR). However, even as a current student and a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Admissions, I felt that I did not know as much about the CSWR as I would have liked, so I arranged to meet with Dorie Goehring, the Staff Assistant at the CSWR. I was surprised to learn that Dorie graduated from HDS with a Master of Divinity in Islamic studies and theology in 2016. It is always great to hear how HDS Alums continue to support and engage the HDS community.
Read our conversation below to learn more about the CSWR! Continue reading
Hello everyone, we hope you are taking good care of yourselves as you prepare your application materials. As prior applicants, current students, and Graduate Assistants in the Office of Admissions, we know how stressful a time this can be. We’ve gathered quite a bit of behind the scenes information throughout our experiences in each of these roles, so we thought we’d write a blog to help you out. We’ve divided this post into two sections, beginning with a Q+A between Graduate Assistants Emily Rogal and Mikaela Allen and ending with a section featuring Application Myths, also produced by Emily Rogal and Mikaela Allen. Enjoy, and let us set your minds at ease! Continue reading
When school begins and classes are in full swing, it can be hard to step, walk, run, bike or bus outside of the Harvard bubble. Most students live within walking distance of campus and find themselves too pressed for time to consider exploring the plethora of other neighborhoods that make up Boston. If they make it beyond Harvard, they most likely constrain themselves to the Cambridge-Somerville hot spots of Davis, Central, Union and Inman Squares. While these areas are wonderful and definitely host some great restaurants, bars, and things to do, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Boston lies across the river on the south side of the city.
Jamaica Plain (JP) is known for its diverse population, history of activism, abundance of artists and beautiful green spaces. Just south of the South end, adjacent to Roxbury and Brookline, JP is easily accessible via bike or T. The neighborhood stretches from Jackson Square in the north to Forest Hills in the south and curves around Jamaica Pond, a serene pond circulated by a running and biking path. Centre St. is the heart of JP and is home to an abundance of good, cheap food, artist studios, coffee shops and thrift stores. Many HDS students choose to live in the area, and if you don’t mind the commute, it’s a wonderful place to live and engage in the Boston community. If you are visiting and have time to explore outside of Harvard and Cambridge, you should consider visiting JP and seeing more of what Boston has to offer.
When I have the time, especially in early fall or late spring, I love to hop on my bike and head over the river, through Brookline, along the Longwood bike path to spend a day exploring in Jamaica Plain. Some of my favorite places and things to do are:
Bike around Jamaica Pond:
If you’re like me and have your own bike or access to one, Jamaica Pond is an easy ride from Harvard Square. It’s 4.7 miles with an extra 1.5 miles all the way around the pond. If you don’t have a bike or are coming to the area by the Orange Line, you can walk or jog around the pond.
Bring a book to the arboretum:
As a child of Wisconsin and Minnesota, I often find myself craving a respite from the city. The Arnold Arboretum is a perfect place to find solitude and spend time in nature. The 281 acre long arboretum boasts an astonishing variety of trees and other plants. It is particularly beautiful when the leaves are turning in the fall and in early spring. I love to bring a book and stroll around the arboretum in the fall. The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is located less than a mile from Jamaica Pond and Centre St., and if you’re taking the T, it is adjacent to the Forest Hills Stop.
Grab Coffee at City Feed (2 locations):
City Feed and Supply is a neighborhood grocery, café, and deli that offers a wide range of delicious sandwiches, Fair Trade and Organic Coffee from Equal Exchange, and groceries. I highly recommend grabbing coffee, perusing the array of local beer and wine on display, and maybe partaking in a baked good for fuel while you explore Centre St.
J.P. Licks: JP is home of the original JP Licks. Whether it’s a hot or cold day, you shouldn’t pass up on stopping by this iconic and scrumptious ice cream parlor. Once you’ve tried the original, don’t forget to stop by the J.P. Licks in Harvard Square across from Harvard Yard!
El Oriental De Cuba: JP is one of the best places to find Cuban food in the city with a large population of Cuban immigrants. El Oriental De Cuba is a must-visit with a cozy, diner feel and wide range of dishes to choose from.
Cafe Beirut: Cafe Beirut is well-known for delicious and cheap Lebanese food. It is one of the few Lebanese restaurants in the city and serves the best shawarma and kibbeh I’ve had in the U.S. Check out their pumpkin kibbeh or battata harra (spicy potatoes)!
Boomerangs: Boomerangs is a popular thrift store with great finds. From furniture to ugly sweaters, it’s the perfect shop to outfit your apartment and wardrobe. If you can’t make it to the one in JP, they have another location in Central Square here in Cambridge.
Papercuts: Papercuts is an independently owned bookstore just off of Centre St. Don’t let the size of the store fool you! They have a great selection of books and the owner is fantastic!
Sam Adams Brewery: For those of you who love beer (or don’t but like free things), Sam Adams Brewery is a lovely way to cap off your tour of JP. The brewery offers free tours everyday that come with a sampling of Sam Adams’ classic and seasonal beers. It is located near the Orange Line Stony Brook T Station.
This is the fourth post in our Neighborhood Spotlight series. To catch up on earlier installments in this series, read Part I, A Love Song to Davis Square, Part II, An Ode to Union Square, and Part III, A Tribute to Harvard Square.
For those of you who consistently hunger for a beautiful view of the Charles, let’s start at the Smoot bridge before we head to Central Square. With the Boston skyline on either side and Cambridge straight ahead, even the crankiest New Englanders find it hard not to enjoy the views on this bridge.
Oh, Harvard Square, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
- I love that you’re so conveniently located, a place where everyone goes to meet for food, drinks, and merriment. Relatedly, no one has ever told you that you’re too far to visit (cough cough), unlike Davis or Union square.
This is the second post in our Neighborhood Spotlight series. To start at the beginning, read Part I, A Love Song to Davis Square.
I actually live solidly between Union Square and Porter Square, so I’d like to briefly nod to Porter—it’s a great area with a convenient T stop, Christopher’s bar and restaurant (come for the nachos, stay for the fireplace, but be sure to eat a lot of nachos while you’re there), and Newtowne Grille (their PBR pitcher and cheese pizza special is basically the only affordable meal on a student budget in the greater Boston area). There’s also Café Zing, inside Porter Square Books, which is my idea of heaven: a coffee shop IN a bookstore?!
But mostly, when I want to go out, I head to Union Square. Union Square has an eclectic feel. It doesn’t have a T stop, which is part of the appeal—it has more of a neighborhood vibe because most of the people who spend time there actually live in the area. It’s about a 25 minute walk from Union Square proper to HDS, but I promise that it’s worth the trek!
Now that you’ve been welcomed to the HDS community, you may be wondering, “How do I live in this expensive place on student loans?”
The graduate student dorms and apartments are a great option if you’re looking for communal living and proximity to campus. However, if you want to live alone or in a more house-like setting, you’ll want to look farther afield. Craigslist is probably your best option. Be aware that, for most spaces in the Boston area, you’ll be expected to pay the amount of four months’ rent up front: a full month security deposit, first and last months’ rent, and the amount of a full month’s rent as a realtor fee (the last of which you won’t get back). You can seek out no-fee and reduced-fee options, and small-scale landlords will often have lesser deposits, but those places are a bit harder to find. You can start looking now, but openings for August 1 or September 1 will probably not show up in great numbers until June. Continue reading
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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.
There is a certain vocabulary that pervades academic study – religious studies in particular. But the summer before entering the Harvard Divinity School MTS program, I was able to study a more common and immediately useful language: Spanish. Continue reading