How did you manage to balance your studies with work and family responsibilities?
The unique structure of Harvard Extension School allows individualization and personalization of various programs. This allowed me to carefully plan and manage my busy schedule in a way that was conducive to success in all aspects of my life. Along the way, there were a handful of times where personal emergencies arose. And Harvard’s caring professors were compassionate and understanding, and they assisted me with any extra needs that I had.
What was your distance learning experience like?
I was a distance student, however I was only traveling to campus from Providence, Rhode Island—only about an hour drive away. Often I would head to campus a few hours prior to my class to utilize the various libraries and academic services offered by Harvard. I also enrolled in multiple online courses, which offered me a unique new way of learning. The increased flexibility associated with online courses allowed me the chance to effectively make my own schedule when juggling work and school.
In which ways did you connect with the Harvard community?
When I first began my academic career at Harvard Extension, I was expecting that distance would be a barrier between me and the campus community. Thankfully, I was mistaken. The smaller class sizes allowed for more personal relationships to develop with professors and students. Even the online classes allowed for direct communication. After I concluded the thesis process, I remained in touch with some professors and have also been able to join a handful of classes to discuss my thesis topic, which further expanded my connections to the Harvard community.
Do you have any advice for new students?
Never be afraid to ask for help or guidance, even if it is not directly related to a particular class. The professors at the Harvard Extension School genuinely love what they do and care about the students they teach. I would also say to never give up on yourself. You will face challenges but remember that you would not be attending Harvard if you did not want to be pushed to your fullest potential. Hard work will pay off.
Describe your Extension School experience in one word.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.