Diane and I first met when she visited Fletcher about two years ago, and I conducted her evaluative interview. Since her arrival at Fletcher in September 2013, representing the country of Australia, she and I have worked on several different projects together. Her first post for her second year describes the perspective she brings after having completed a year at Fletcher.
Throughout my summer abroad, during which I interned in Northern Ghana, traveled to South Africa, visited home (Australia) twice, and finally made it back to Boston, I had time to reflect on the whirlwind that was my first year at Fletcher. The academic year is extremely busy; long days are filled with classes, group assignments, individual study, talks by special guests, club meetings, and jobs. I decided that this year there were some lessons I could take from last year and implement into my schedule.
Knowing what to say “yes” and “no” to is the first big lesson. A student’s time at Fletcher is filled with amazing opportunities; however, the volume of these opportunities can be overwhelming. I have learned it’s important to have one or two areas on which to focus my attention outside of classes. For me, I enjoy being part of admissions activities, because they so heavily influenced my decision to attend Fletcher, and I have been active with the Admissions Office throughout the year. The other area I am focused on is my Research Assistant position with the Feinstein Center. This role provides an opportunity to build skills in an area in which I want to work upon graduation. Fletcher also has so many wonderful social events, that I enjoy attending, such as the amazing Los Fletcheros (Fletcher’s resident cover band), and the cultural nights. And I chose to take 4.5 classes this semester, so my weekly schedule is fairly full just attending classes and keeping up with assignments.
Because the schedule at Fletcher is so busy, this year I have committed to taking at least one day off a week and getting outside. Whether it is kayaking on the Charles River, visiting local towns, hiking, a quick trip to New York, or being a tourist in Boston, it’s important to take time to leave the library and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Fletcher, being located at Tufts University, also provides access to some excellent sports facilities; I personally enjoy going to the gym each morning, or playing squash with other students and staff from Fletcher. Many students run with the Marathon team, or play tennis on the courts outside Fletcher, swim at the pool, or take advantage of the great facilities some other way.
One of the biggest decisions I made this year was to be more proactive in asking for help. Asking for help at Fletcher is not difficult, whether it be booking a timeslot with the writing tutors, or seeing a professor during office hours. The professors at Fletcher are extremely welcoming, and are keen to help students grasp the content they teach, happily taking time outside of the assigned office hours to sit with students and go over key concepts or help them understand an assignment.
These are just some of the lessons I learned last year and have implemented into my second year at Fletcher. I am sure there will be many more lessons learned by the time graduation rolls around in May.
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