University staff members are generally scheduled to work through December and January, though we can certainly arrange vacation time for these quiet weeks.  Students, on the other hand, are thought to be on vacation.  On today’s first day of classes for the spring semester, some students may be wondering what was meant when others referred to “the winter break.”  For them, classes or activities may have run through the month since exams ended in December.

For starters, there was last week’s Office of Career Services-organized trip to New York.  Activities on day one (Thursday) were actually arranged by the International Business Club, with a focus on private sector employers that met the interests of club members.

Day two (Friday) was loaded with activities for everyone, starting with Alumni Career Panels, featuring expert Fletcher grads in international development, the UN Secretariat, humanitarian assistance and refugee affairs, and public international law.  The panels were followed by luncheons for students and alumni, and then employer site visits for the purposes of gathering information on careers and for networking.

Two days of career searching is nothing compared to the “vacation” work done by students taking January classes.  At Fletcher, two modular (half credit) courses gave participating students a chance to lighten their spring load, while picking up key knowledge.  The two courses, Design and Monitoring of Peacebuilding and Development; and Evaluation of Peacebuilding and Development for Practitioners and Donors, met on most days (including weekends) for two weeks.  Beyond Fletcher, other Tufts and Harvard programs also offer January term courses that are open to Fletcher students.

All-in-all, while most students were vacationing (and providing photographic evidence for the Admissions facebook page), some will start their spring semester classes a little less refreshed, but presumably more knowledgeable.

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