What value has the Harvard community provided to you?
One of the best aspects of the Harvard Extension School’s ALM in Literature & Creative Writing is the opportunity to work with Harvard instructors.
From teachers actively working in their chosen field and bringing their front-line knowledge to the classroom, to tenured professors who have honed their passion into a thoughtful curriculum, the breadth of knowledge imparted was invaluable.
My favorite experience was the three-week summer residency, which I encourage all fellow students to make the time for.
Even subtracting a week spent in COVID-19 quarantine in the dorms during a Boston heatwave, I can honestly say that getting to experience Bryan Delaney’s Dramatic Writing Workshop with a gifted group of writers was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
As I neared the finish line for graduation, I worried about the academic writing I would need to do for the thesis proposal.
I spent a semester working with my research advisor, Talaya Delaney, who had crafted a program so detailed, there was no way I could fail. It’s rare to find someone who is so perfectly suited to their role.
Her enthusiasm and encouragement made a project I dreaded fun.
Throughout my time at Harvard, there wasn’t a class that didn’t serve to make me a better writer.
What was the thesis experience like for you?
I feared that what made me unique as a writer would be diluted by the formal process of a thesis. Instead, I was surprised by how the deep critical analysis developed my style and served to further hone my literary voice.
By being challenged and forced to work outside of my comfort zone, I felt confident to stray outside my niche of fiction and tackle a nonfiction project.
I think it’s some of the best writing I’ve done to date.
What’s something unexpected that you learned about Harvard?
I loved earning my way into the master’s program at the Harvard Extension School and having the school meet me where I am today, which is significantly different than where I was 20 years ago.
Life is busy and being able to start right away without a rigorous application process removed a significant barrier for attending graduate school.
The program had flexibility for accommodating life challenges which gave me greater control and allowed for the successful completion of my degree.
What are you going to miss the most about HES?
I was spoiled for class choices and wished I could have taken more. I’m going to miss nerding out with my fellow scribes about everything from sentence structure to plot development to applications of style.
Writing can be a solitary gig and I’ll miss the camaraderie with other writers, both teachers and students alike.
Describe your HES experience in one word: