What advice would you give yourself or future students before beginning this journey?

Though I was taught to avoid using clichés or trite quotes by my amazing journalism professors, I’m going to break both those rules by quoting Lao Tzu from the Tao Te Ching: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Just start.

Dive into the course catalog and register for a class that gets you jazzed. Ensure that it fits easily into your schedule. Be present when class is in session. Connect with the material, your professor, and your classmates. Commit to doing the work.

It may be scary. When I took my first HES course, I hadn’t taken a class for a grade in more than 20 years. I had nervous flashbacks to the first day of school and remembered the stress of test anxiety. But the fear will fall away when you feel the support from your fellow learners, instructors, and the HES staff.

After that first course, you’ll probably be hooked. It’s also likely that the first course you take can lead you in dozens of directions — to a variety of certificates or degrees. My first course was in public speaking. I took my next class in business writing, thinking I’d pursue an ALM in Management.

But my love for writing was rekindled, and I found myself moving toward journalism, a love of mine since I wrote for my high school newspaper in the (gasp!) late-1980s.

Just start. I did, and five years later I can honestly say that I’ve loved every minute of it.

What’s something unexpected that you learned about Harvard?

As a Harvard employee, I was amazed at how many of my colleagues were in my classes — it was always a treat to see familiar faces who took time outside their work at Harvard to improve their knowledge and skills for the benefit of themselves and the institution.

What are you going to miss the most?

I’m really going to miss the small group work — the opportunity to discuss readings or collaborate on projects with people across a wide spectrum of age, gender, location, political ideology, nationality, and so much more — always centered in curiosity and mutual respect.

Describe your Extension experience in one word.