Harvard Feels

I had dinner with my Provo family last night (my sister’s in-laws, who graciously adopted me while I was at BYU). Because they are off on professorial travels for the next month, this was our journey on dinner. I say journey on instead of goodbye and farewell because I dislike how final those two words are; by saying “journey on,” I share my hope that somewhere down the road our paths will cross again and our journeys will intertwine once more so we can buoy each other up, pat each other on the backs, and continue forward.

I have a lot of what I’m calling “Harvard feels.” In a month, I’ll be back in Kansas with my mom, grandma, and brother; two days later, I’ll be on a plane and landing in Boston for an entirely new life. I’m sure I’ll get to my room and begin to feel excited for school to start, nervous about what the future holds, stressed about learning French in eight weeks, and exhausted from the emotional overload that will have just occurred.

If you asked me a year ago if I would be attending Harvard, I would have probably shrugged and said “I don’t know.” In all honesty, I applied to Harvard on a whim. Out of all of the programs I applied for, it was my “random” program. It’s always nice to throw in a curveball when applying to things. I’m glad I applied, though, because being accepted and preparing to attend this wonderful institution has lifted up my eyes toward a life of greater heights.

Being on the cusp of this brand new adventure is rather nerve wracking, but that’s what this blog and writing in general is meant to help with. By sharing what I feel I am sharing my personal, lived experience, a testament that I was here and that I live. So, some of my feelings:

I’m excited. I’m really, really, really excited to be going back to school. This last year of not being in school has been rather difficult for me. I’ve been working an 8-hour, 7-days-a-week job, and I haven’t necessarily enjoyed it. It’s been nice and comforting to know I have money, but it also hasn’t been as fulfilling to me and my chosen and desired path. I was looking through the class list the other day of potential classes I could take and they range from the basic theories and methods of religious studies to studying the perception of the hero through literature of the seventh century. Like, how can you not be excited for that?! (It’s okay if you’re not excited for that; I understand that literary folks can be a little crazy in our excitement over the teacups Oscar Wilde drank from or the length of beard of Merlin in a French lady’s poetic retelling of King Arthur or the existential, metaphoric reason that the door is blue.)

I’m nervous. I’m really, really, really nervous about being able to survive in Massachusetts. It’s expensive. Coming from living quietly in Provo, Utah, one of the best places to rent for a student, it’s difficult to grasp just how much things cost out there. I’m also nervous about graduate school in general. Will I do well? Will I make the right connections? Will I do enough to get into a PhD program? Will I be true to myself while experiencing new things? Will I finish the goals I’m setting up for myself or will it all crumble around me and need to be rebuilt yet again?

I’m sad. I’m leaving some great people in Utah. Yes, I’m pretty good at keeping connections with people open, but that doesn’t make it less sad to leave people. Wherever I go, I try to love the most and love the hardest and the deepest because I don’t know how much time I’ll be there and how much time I’ll have with people. Doing this, though, makes me even more sad when it is time to leave and continue on in the journeys of life and pursuits of happiness.

I’m happy. I’m going to Harvard. How can someone who loves academia and research so much not be happy? I’m happy that the Harvard admissions committee allowed me to enter. I’m humbled that out of so many great candidates, they chose me. And, I’m happy that I’m getting to pursue what I want to pursue. When I was applying for schools, I was all over the place with what exactly I wanted to do, but with being accepted into this program, my plans are solidifying. They’ll always be pliable, but they’re becoming a little more focused, a little more me.

In a month, I’ll be sitting in my room in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and I’ll let you know my feelings then. For now, I have a lot of expectant feelings, but I’m also hoping to make the most of the days I have left.

Also, I was told blogs need pictures, so here’s one of me staring off into the distance while the sun sets behind me and there’s a beautiful tree too. Photo cred: Adam Sims, my roommate.

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