Another chapter begins.

Just over two years ago, I remember standing on the commuter rail platform at Ruggles Station while heading home one Friday evening, only to discover an email waiting in my inbox from Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). I remember that particular week being difficult for numerous reasons, not the least of which was my struggles to comprehend yet another orchestra labor dispute. (This topic is one of my motivations for going to grad school ... more in a later post.) Figuring that I'd just get the bad news over with and get on my with Friday evening, I signed into my HGSE online account to find the message: "Congratulations! Welcome to Harvard!" Tears of joy and disbelief welled up in my eyes as I dialed my family and friends to share the news. Between each chat I re-read the email, making certain the message didn't change or get recalled as one that was mistakenly sent. I remember day-dreaming about all the big plans for how to make the most of my two years at HGSE - the courses I'd take, the students I'd meet, the faculty I'd learn from ... and my ideas of starting a blog as a way to keep track of my thoughts, ideas, and learning moments.

Fast forward two years to today. I'm 13 days away from my graduation, and I couldn't be happier that I somehow balanced part-time school with full-time work directing the EM Department. Don't ask me how that worked - just believe that if you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to make it happen. In reflecting on the whirlwind that was the HGSE Master's program, I realize that I've met and surpassed all of those initial goals, except for one - blogging. As I near the finish line of HGSE, I'm tackling that final goal. While part of me wishes that I were gifted Hermione Grainger's time turner (this would grant the luxury of turning back time so that I could take even more classes), I believe my personal commitment to writing this blog will be one way that I will continue to explore my lingering questions from my course of study. It's an opportunity to continue distilling and developing the ideas from my courses, as well as (hopefully!) a forum to spur discussion and dialogue around interesting topics. 

The other (ok, primary) motivator to blog regularly, beginning NOW!, is thanks to my upcoming summer adventure. I'll be spending three months in Southeast Asia as a participant of two programs hosted by the Center for Asia Leadership Initiatives. In June, I'm one of approximately 40 students / recent grads that will be participating in a socio-economic and political research trek, meeting with cultural, economic, and political leaders in the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, and Mongolia. In July and August, I'm one of a team of eight that will be teaching leadership development workshops in Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Korea, and Japan. As part of the Asia Leadership Institute, I'm the Fellow of Leadership Communications, responsible for teaching communications workshops in the previously named countries. Blogging throughout the trip is a way that I hope to not only remember the diversity of experiences that this summer will bring, but that it will also provide something of a structure to follow as I begin to write my book chapter from the Asia Trek and Fellowship experiences.

As this next chapter begins, I'm excited to continue my journey of a perpetual learner. I hope some of these writings might be enjoyable to others, and I welcome your feedback and thoughts!