Over the last few weeks, I’ve read a few email requests for current students to help incoming students in a (typically) student-initiated arrangement, sweetly called the Buddy Program. I sent a note to Patrick Elliot, the organizer, and asked him to describe it for blog readers. Here’s what he wrote:
Let’s say you’re a new Fletcher student, and you’re about to start your first day of Orientation. You’re excited to start, but tired from unpacking, anxious about the new demands of graduate school, and not really sure what you’re doing — all at once. Fletcher’s Orientation will give you all the information you need to, say, register for classes online, but it probably won’t answer the big questions like: Which classes should I take? How should I buy books? Which parties are not to miss? What the heck is Social Hour anyway, and why should I care?
You can easily get answers to all those questions by asking any Fletcher student in sight — if there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s offering opinions. But “course shopping” is fast approaching, and classes start the following day. What if you want to focus on, say, Non-Profit Management, and the students you’ve met so far don’t know much about it? Plus you don’t yet have home Internet, and it’s been, like, days since you last updated your Twitter feed…
That’s why last year, Jessica Smith F’10 started Fletcher’s student-run Buddy Program. Using Admissions Office info on incoming students and their proposed concentrations, the Buddy Program pairs two or three incoming students with a current student who shares academic and professional interests, but, more importantly, also knows the ins and outs of Fletcher. Now when you’re settling into Boston, picking classes, and trying to decide between a Green House party or staying home (really?), you have someone to ask.
As I alluded to earlier, the Buddy Program doesn’t replace the constant Hall of Flags chatter between Fletcher students about classes, professors, internships, jobs, parties, Boston excursions, and Best Practices in Free Food Procurement. But it gives you the right contacts at the right time — when you’re facing so many changes and decisions but don’t know a bunch of people yet. It’s one of many ways that Fletcher students (and staff) look out for each other.