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Every year the Mid-Career/MPA Mason Fellows are the first to arrive on campus for a two-week summer seminar program. This year, several of them have volunteered to introduce themselves through the Harvard Kennedy School School (HKS) admissions blog with a self-authored post.
Below is a selected portion of the blog recently written by Mai Mislang:
I am a 32-year-old former government speechwriter from the Philippines. I am thrilled and grateful to be here at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), and to learn from so many different people from all corners of the globe.
Cambridge is a wonderful city. It’s clean, compact and commuter-friendly, with everything you need – at least where I live – is just a stone’s throw away. That really helps me focus on what I came here to do, which is to learn.
I have had a remarkable experience, thus far, with the summer session. I have met extremely talented individuals whose experiences and wisdom I am genuinely humbled by. The speakers, the case study method and the presentations have given me a useful and necessary preview of what to expect when the regular mid-career program is underway.
It has also given me the time to socialize and get to know my new friends outside of the classroom. It has really helped me feel more comfortable and gain some confidence, which one needs especially when speaking in front of the classroom or voicing an opinion during class. Perhaps some might agree with me when I say confidence does not come so easily when you’re surrounded by brilliant people doing extraordinary things. At the same time, they might agree that we do eventually get over our anxiety once we realize we are all in the same boat, and that we just have to do our best to help each other out.
Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government said something that resonated with me, 'Harvard destroys the illusion of brilliance.' I think what touched me about this saying is the sense of humility the school wants its students to imbibe, and the firm sense of purpose the Kennedy School hopes will guide us during our short time here.
So many people made sacrifices so that I could be here to learn, grow and have the time of my life. I plan to reciprocate that kindness by taking stock in every opportunity HKS has to offer, and to work hard so that many others less fortunate than I am may reap the benefits of my hard work.