Why did you decide to earn a degree at Harvard Extension?
I was coming out of a dark night of the soul phase in my life and needed the grounding that going back to school would provide me.
How has/will this experience help you in your career or personal development?
From my early days at Extension, I knew I wanted to attend graduate school. So I made sure to make Extension work for me so that I’d be successful in achieving my goal. I’ve been admitted for graduate studies at Harvard, Yale, McGill in Canada, and Oxford in England. After much thought, I decided to stay at Harvard.
What was the most challenging aspect of your time at Extension? What was the most rewarding?
The most challenging aspect was balancing life, job, and family. It was fun but hard. The most rewarding was to gradually learn the theories and methods by which scholars arrive at their conclusions through the reading and studying of books they have written.
What types of student resources and special options did you take advantage of as a student at Harvard? How did they help?
Because I knew I wanted to attend Harvard Divinity School after Extension, I made sure to take advantage of the HDS vouchers which allowed me to take classes at Divinity. It helped me get to know key figures around the Divinity School who made a significant difference in my confidence to apply and ultimately be admitted.
Do you have a favorite class or faculty member? Why?
Yes, my favorite classes were Gregory Nagy’s The Ancient Greek Hero, Stephen Shoemaker’s Harvard’s History and Evolving Religious Identity, and Parimal Patil’s Buddhist Philosophy: they all forced me to improve my writing significantly and thus greatly improved my ability to be concise and write cogent arguments. I also took one full year of Ancient Greek, Classical Latin, and German for Reading. I also took French for Reading and Sanskrit classes at the Summer School. They were very hard and gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to learn and read texts in their original language.
Do you have any advice for new students?
Extension is what you make out of it. Have a goal and make Extension work for you. I’m proof that the system works!
Describe your Extension School experience in one word.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.