Working for Student Life as a Graduate Assistant has a lot of perks. My office is right near the candy bowl and upstairs from the coffee and tea room; I also get to be one of the first ones to know about upcoming programs. However, my favorite part of working for the Office of Student Life is helping to plan and attending Community Tea every Tuesday at 4pm. Community Tea is a 30-year-old tradition. Each week a different office or organization hosts, and as part of my job I get to work with them to plan their tea.
When I applied to Harvard Divinity School, I didn’t know anything about the strong Unitarian Universalist history woven into the foundation of the school. I was raised UU, and considered that to be one of many descriptors I used to identify myself, but finding a place with an active UU community was not on my list when looking at graduate programs. When I attended the HDS admitted students day, the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Students (HUUMS) hosted a get-together after Community Tea. I joined them, figuring that it was a good way to meet people and because I wanted to be involved in student organizations, more than out of a need for a religious community. It was a beautiful spring day and we sat outside on the grass and talked about nothing in particular. I didn’t know it at the time but I was meeting many of the people who would become my closest friends at HDS. Continue reading
Congratulations on your acceptance to Harvard Divinity School! Discerning program “fit,” in light of my scholarly and personal interests, was easy for me. I entered HDS with personal conviction, very much in alignment with the HDS mission, to foster a global culture of mutual understanding, respect, and goodwill—a culture in which people of every religion and culture coexist and work together in peace. I knew that the MTS program would help me to critically engage my understanding of my Catholic faith and learn more about powerful and interdependent cultural, political and social forces, as I endeavor to help implement empirically and cultural-linguistically based policies and programs centered on access to equitable health care and education for all.
To be honest, when I came to HDS for admitted students day I was looking for excuses not to come here. I had just graduated from Emory and received a job offer to stay there and work. I was afraid to leave my comfort zone filled with friends, relationships, and work. But I knew I couldn’t just turn down Harvard without a good reason, so I decided to come to the Admitted Students Day and find a reason why HDS was not for me. The quickest way to do that, I realized, was to discover that there was no real community here and, thus, it was not a place where I could be successful.
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I see Harvard Divinity School as a spiritual community, within which there are many distinct spiritual communities. HDS is full of kind, caring, altruistic people, because that’s who the school attracts. Classmates, faculty, and staff have all ministered to me and supported me through difficult times. I often have conversations with people that inspire or challenge me to be my best self (like a good sermon). The Divinity School, like we say at my church, is “a place where we practice being human.”
Community Tea on Tuesday afternoons is like “Coffee Hour” at church to me. It’s when Continue reading