Fletcher wrapped up fall semester classes on Monday, and today finds students tucked in quiet spaces studying for exams. As the semester ended, student blogger Diane said she was thinking about how her classes fit together. Here are her reflections.
In choosing my classes for my first semester at The Fletcher School, I decided to go with a mixture of fulfilling as many of my depth and breadth requirements as possible; choosing classes that I was most excited about; and taking the class I was most afraid of. The end result was a diverse range of classes, which fit nicely together like a jigsaw puzzle.
For my first semester, I enrolled in Econometrics, Agricultural and Rural Development, Law and Development, Humanitarian Action in Complex Emergencies and Quantitative Methods (which was a module). As I explained in my previous post, I am interested in food security issues, particularly in Africa. Each of these classes has allowed me to view food security issues through a different lens, and has exposed me to new analytical frameworks I could never have imagined before starting at Fletcher.
In my Agricultural and Rural Development class, we learned about agriculture and food policy in developing countries from an economic perspective. In Law and Development, we examined the role of law and legal systems in the economic and social development of developing countries. This course has opened my eyes to a new perspective on food security issues; particularly highlighting how complicated legal systems that often exist around land can affect food security and resilience. Humanitarian Action in Complex Emergencies specifically focused on conflict situations, providing a contextual understanding of the political dimensions involved in responding to humanitarian needs in such situations.
Econometrics, on the other hand, has shown me the importance of statistical analysis in development and humanitarian programming. The professor combines her own research from Niger with the theory to provide context for the practical applications of econometrics. I now grasp the importance of research-based programming, as a means of not only being cost effective, but also better targeting communities’ needs. Quantitative methods was a six-week module that took place in the first half of the semester and that covered the basic quantitative foundation required for classes such as econometrics, microeconomics, and finance. It was a great class to take in my first semester, boosting both my quantitative skills and my confidence.
The biggest problem that I have discovered at Fletcher is that there are so many different courses on offer, and I am constantly hearing about courses that others have taken that I would like to enroll in next semester or next year. With only four semesters at Fletcher, I have learned that I need to be strategic in choosing classes, focusing on my goals and the skill sets I hope to gain during my graduate degree. I am excited to see what my final selection of Fletcher courses will end up looking like!
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