First Week at Harvard

The first week at Harvard has been a rollercoaster. Coming off of a fantastic vacation in Spain, I definitely started out on a high note. Even biking around town in the pouring rain to buy groceries and take care of other business didn’t really phase me. Sure, I miss my car a lot. Every time it rained in San Francisco — actually even when the sun was out — I took my trusty Prius to where I needed to go. This biking/walking/busing lifestyle will take some adjustment, but I’m getting there.

And then orientation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government started, and let me just say that I have some ridiculously amazing classmates. We’ve got a guy who was one of the first astronauts from South Korea, a lady who has her MD and her MBA and who’s looking to get a third. We’ve got fellow nonprofiteers, former teachers, servicemen and women, and people who have hobnobbed with heads of state. We have this one girl who has three passports, and this one guy who has visited 86 countries. We’ve got future politicians, future ambassadors, future foreign ministers, leaders who are bound to make some real social change in the next few years. Wow. To say that I was humbled on that first day upon meeting my classmates is an understatement, yet I held my own. I know my purpose here, and I am extremely excited to have such high caliber classmates to add to the fabric of my education.

However, I’m not going to lie. There was a millisecond where I felt like I slipped in undetected, like I was a spy living a double life. “I snuck into Harvard! I got in without them noticing! Ha!” I certainly felt a tinge of that as I sat in HKS’s storied John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, where heads of state, celebrities and students all have had the chance to speak. But Debbie Isaacson, the director of the MPP program, reminded us that “Harvard does not make admissions mistakes. You belong here, and you were meant to be here.” And as several other speakers reminded us on day one, each of us was chosen because of our propensity to be leaders and our drive to fix our world’s most pressing problems. We answered the call.

So as I lay here in bed, after a long weekend of being ill (I had to get these vaccinations, which caused side effects, like fever, aches, cramps and tiredness, for about 48 hours), I am still astonished at this journey of which I am about to embark. And I remain grateful to everyone that has helped get me to this place.

Wish me luck as I start classes this week! (And that I get over this illness quick so I can actually go to classes!)