When on September 1, 2020 at the traditional beginning-of-the-school-year picnic organized by Gerda’s school I met Zane Vāgnere, a schoolmate from RGSL, she told me about her being admitted to a master of public administration program at Harvard. She planned to start studies in the summer of 2021 and bidding our farewell we agreed that, political and epidemiological situation allowing, I will be in Massachusetts at some point during her year in Harvard, and we should definitely meet for a coffee.
You know how it often is with these “coffees”- you say you want to go and you maybe even mean that, as chatting with the particular person is interesting, but in real life the actual meeting often does not happen. I’m glad this was not the case with me and Zane.
It was not planned in advance but it the best things sometimes happen by chance. A friend was looking for a lift from Boston to Amherst and I offered to help, thus killing two birds with one stone: helping out a friend and meeting Zane.
This was not my first time at Harvard but it is a whole new level to walk through the campus together with someone actually studying here. The perspective of a current student, someone who is passionate about the studies and has become a fan of the university. Zane told me about different classes, different professors, about living and social life here, about possibilities, her course mates, also suggested some reading. She introduced me to some of her course mates we met at the yard of Kennedy school, where weekly Friday-night socializing event took place. (I even have a card a guy from Kazakhstan gave me, expressing his readiness to take a role of an expert in the field of transitional justice measures taking place in his home country; I may even use he in one of the classes - new option Zoom is giving to us.) Zane even tried to sell me a PhD program at Harvard, or mini MBA, or any other program (I can feel her! This is great studying at the best place, with the best professors, with keen course mates).
Long story short, this was an inspiring visit! I’m glad I did that. Two hours trip each direction may discourage me to repeat this experience, but, who knows, something may happen, like this time, giving an excuse to drive down to Boston again.
Main takeaway? Meeting old friends and acquaintances is cool, especially if they are likeminded. Thank you Zane for this afternoon!