From the monthly archives: July 2007

You’ve seen Transformers and the new Harry Potter movie, and you’re looking for something a little different. Let the Admissions Office make some suggestions for in-theater or DVD viewing.

Peter chooses Night on Earth. “This 1991 Jim Jarmush film follows the encounters of taxi drivers and their fares in New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki during one night. The encounters range from strange and funny, to touching and thoughtful.”

I’ve seen Night on Earth (and I’m a Jim Jarmush fan) so I’ll back Peter on this one.

Kristen’s film pick: Lagaan. She says, “This four-hour film was my introduction to Bollywood, and it also helped me to finally understand cricket.”

Understanding cricket is a useful skill — Fletcher field, while better known as a site for soccer, was the venue for a weekly cricket series last fall.

Justin suggests Good Will Hunting, a 1997 movie that launched two local boys (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) in their movie careers: “If you are an incoming student who has never lived in Boston, this film is a must see, showing the contrast between Intellectual Powerhouse Boston and Blue Collar Boston. Among the best features of the film are the Boston accents and the famous Boston landmarks shot on location.”

Roxana chooses Osama, “about a little girl in Afghanistan during the time of the Taliban. Her mother cuts her hair and dresses her up as a boy so she can work and support the family. The Taliban are convinced and send her to a boys’ school where she’ll be trained to be a part of the Taliban. They discover she’s a girl when she reaches puberty. It’s a really good movie but heart wrenching.”

And Laurie says: “I don’t get to go to the movies very often unless it’s a kid movie. Ratatouille is the only one I have seen in months! Wonderful scenes of Paris, fun characters, excellent animation, and a great movie for foodies. One to see even if you do not have kids.”

I was lucky this summer to see two wonderful movies on consecutive weekends. The first was The Lives of Others, followed by Once. The Lives of Others, set in East Germany before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, is both a good tale of redemption, and a thought-provoking look at how people can continue to live together after a radical change in regimes. In the past two decades, we’ve seen criminal tribunals, reconciliation commissions, and attempts to push past differences under the carpet. The Lives of Others makes me think of what it is like to live with our previous tormentors.

Less political, but also wonderful was Once, a story of two musicians living in Dublin, with some great music that has made me a fan of the Irish band The Frames. We’re lucky in the Medford/Somerville/Cambridge/Boston area to have a variety of movie theaters, and both these films can still be seen on the big screen. Both would probably also be satisfying in DVD format.

Finally, we have a new staff member! (More about her in a future entry.) Kate (barely through her orientation, but already asked for movie picks) recommends The Queen for its inside look at the British royal family and at Tony Blair, during a time of crisis.

Movies are the focus of a lot of our office work-unrelated conversation. We hope you’ll enjoy these films as much as the staff did!


In a previous blog, I described how our office is often engaged simultaneously in work connected with several points in the admissions cycle. This year, I find myself in multiple completely different admissions cycles. While my professional life is focused on graduate admissions, I am also the parent of a 17-year-old who has recently started his college search, and a 13-year-old, who will soon need to choose a high school.

Fortunately, the high school search looks like it will be simple – over time we have decided that our town’s public school will be just the right match for my daughter. Phew! One task checked off the to-do list, though there will be visits and schedule selection, among other pre-enrollment tasks.

As for the college search, I have a long way to go before I can check it off the list. Not long ago, the pile of college viewbooks and catalogs that arrived for my son included one from a college whose admissions director described how she was enlightened by her own child’s college search. I already feel the same way.

For several years, I have shared professional information with high school students and teachers. Now, the undergraduate college search process is providing me with insights that I can take back to work. I feel lucky, that having seen many admissions pools and the student body that results, I can sit back and relax (as much as any mother ever relaxes about these things) about which college my son ultimately goes to. The evidence: Fletcher has students from around the world, and around the world’s education systems. Among our students are those from large public universities and the smallest private colleges, from technical colleges, undergraduate law programs, and “great books” programs. The critical fact is that they have all emerged with focus, direction, and passion. I can’t think of anything I would want more for my own children.

We’ve already taken a few college tours and we’ll take a few more later this summer. Throughout the year, I look forward to sharing my observations, insofar as they relate to Fletcher admissions.


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