Anna Ivanov

Anna Ivanov
Graduate School in Slavic Languages and Literatures
Harvard University

Path to Harvard

I wasn’t even thinking about grad school until the summer before senior year, when I did a Mellon Lifelong Learners summer project with my Macalester advisor, Julia Chadaga, and Professor Julie Buckler here at Harvard. The project was the impetus for applying to grad school. I wouldn’t be here without Professor Chadaga or the entire Russian studies department at Macalester.

Daily tasks

I’m taking four classes right now. The first introduces us to the department and the field. Each week, a different professor comes in and teaches an aspect of our field that they work in. It’s always interesting and always something new. I’m also taking a class on Russian futurism and formalism, which recently involved a field trip to look at rare books. In my Slavic linguistics class, we learn and analyze the language spoken by Slavic people in the ninth to twelfth centuries. I majored in both linguistics and Russian studies at Mac, so this is a great combination for me. Finally, I’m taking Advanced Russian Reading to improve my skills in reading Russian literature.

There’s usually some sort of talk or colloquium on campus in the afternoon or evening, which keeps my schedule varied. I spend the evening doing homework with people from my floor. They’re almost all physicists, which means I learn new things all the time.

Mac takeaways

Macalester taught me to follow all paths of intellectual curiosity. Even within my program, I’m making space to take classes in linguistics and digital humanities/data science. That intellectual bravery was definitely something I learned at Mac! I also feel lucky to have gone to undergrad somewhere that encourages passion. It really has made a difference for me to express my earnest love for my field and my specific interests, which is an honesty I picked up at Macalester. Macalester also taught me about making genuine connections with peers and professors, both in and out of my field.

Spare time

I work at El Gato Rojo, a student-run coffee shop. I worked at Dunn Bros for almost all my time at Mac, and I missed it so much that I ended up being a barista again. I also love ice skating.

Advice for current seniors

Apply to everything! Even if something seems out of reach, it’s worth a try. I never thought I’d end up here, and considered not even applying to grad school because I thought I wasn’t good enough. It’s cheesy, but I do think it’s important to follow your passions. I was advised by some people to get a job and not go into a small field, but I love Slavic literature and I’m so happy I ignored that advice.

November 14 2018

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