In her first ACT blog entry in October 1999, Harriett Green marveled at her first 3½ weeks at Harvard and what was yet to come:
"I've only been in class for about the last six days, yet I have learned SO much already . . . It's interesting to see yourself and everyone else reaching out to connect and shape sense into their lives that have so chaotically been changed forever. One can only wait and see where everything falls."
Nearly nine years later, Green has graduated from Harvard, had a successful career in publishing, completed a master's degree in creative writing at the University of Chicago and is about to once again "see where everything falls." This fall, Green is starting school again, this time to pursue a master's degree in library and information science at the University of Illinois.
"I'm really looking forward to fully immersing myself in school and learning about this exciting and constantly changing field," said Green. "I hope to become an academic librarian and work in a university or college research library, preferably in the humanities or literature divisions."
This love of lifelong learning was instilled early by her parents, who provided tremendous support.
"My parents always stressed the importance of education to my siblings and me—they taught us that the more informed and knowledgeable we were, the more successful we could be," said Green. "I know that it is worth the time, energy, and money to obtain the education that will allow me to achieve my professional goals."
When she applied to undergraduate schools, Green thought she wanted to pursue a journalism career and applied to schools with writing programs. However, she also submitted to one "reach" school, a highly selective university that might be difficult to get in. She was set to pursue a journalism major at a respected, nearby state university when a thick envelope from Harvard arrived in the mail.
Her plans changed and Green chose Harvard, not only because of its reputation, but because of her individual goals.
"I wanted to leave the familiar surroundings of the Midwest and have an entirely different life experience in college," said Green. "Even though I couldn't major in journalism, the school offered plenty of activities, such as writing for the Harvard Crimson, and courses that would teach me the writing and critical thinking skills I'd need."
After lots of consideration and with her parents support, Green flew off to Harvard in September 1999.
Green advises teens in the college-planning process to:
Green says that though she chose Harvard, it's not for everyone. "Harvard was a wonderful experience for me, but I knew others who would have been happier at a different, less intense place."
No matter what the path looks like, Green recommends that each student take the path best for him or her and reach for it, no matter how difficult.
"At this time in their lives, however, teens should shoot for the whole shebang," said Green. "I'd encourage them to explore everything that's out there, figure out what things they're passionate about, and then go after what they want."
Harriet blogged about her first-year at Harvard in 1999. She took the ACT in 1997.