The trip north from DC for grad school

A few weeks ago, when Jeff and I were hanging out in the Hall of Flags, Jeff prevailed upon Summer to write about her decision to leave Washington, D.C. and head north for graduate study at Fletcher.  Here are Summer’s thoughts on the matter:

I’m one among many Fletcher students who’ve migrated north for graduate school from the nation’s capital.  For those of you debating whether to uproot your inside-the-beltway careers for a couple years in Boston, here’s a short list of FAQs gathered from a few Washingtonians-turned-Fletcherites:

Q: But why would I leave all this great networking?!
A: Don’t worry, your house of business cards will not collapse on itself when you move to Boston.  In fact, you can get your very own Fletcher business cards on our ready-made template as soon as you get here, so you can keep right on networking like nothing has changed.  Fletcher’s Office of Career Services plans annual events connecting Fletcher students with alumni in Boston, New York, and D.C.  But you’ll have the opportunity to meet plenty of academics and practitioners in your field right here in Medford, or at one of the many other universities you’ll have access to in the Boston area.  The greatest networking you may do here, however, is with your classmates.  The diversity of perspectives in a Fletcher classroom means that you have something to learn from everyone.  For me, the decision to come here was about focusing my networking, not curtailing it.

Q: Do I need to buy multiple pairs of long underwear?
A: Probably.  But not this winter — we’ve barely seen snow.  And the two coldest experiences of my life still rank:  1) the day I spent hours shivering under the Washington monument to watch Obama take the oath on a jumbotron; and 2) snowshoeing up Connecticut Avenue on my commute in the midst of Snowpocalypse.  Boston weather was my go-to small talk when I first decided to move.  (For example: Random colleague: “Are you excited about Boston?” Me: “Yes, but I’m going to freeze! I’ve never lived in the north, unless you count Northern Virginia!)  Keep your credit card in your wallet ’til you see snow on the ground.

Q: Does Medford have a Georgetown Waterfront?
A:  No.  But we do have the Charles River nearby, which is debatably cleaner than the Potomac.  My problem is that there is too much to do in Boston.  And if you think that Medford may be too far away from the action for your taste, here’s a useful analogy:  Medford/Somerville/Cambridge is to Boston as Clarendon/Courthouse/Rosslyn is to D.C.  And there is a lot to do right here in our neighborhood.  I have a list of restaurants and bars to try that is longer than my non-salaried self can afford, and when it comes to music, festivals, day trips, and things to do on the cheap, the options are endless.

Q: Can I still read Politico from Boston?  What about The Onion?
A:  Yes, and (thank goodness) yes.  Thanks to the advent of the internet, you will have immediate access to all the policy wonk blogs available to your friends working on the Hill.  You can still tweet, Facebook, and g-chat awesome new posts to everyone in your world-wide network.  What’s better, you’ll have a whole new network of internationally wonky friends to share them with — when you’re not too busy reading books, that is.  And once you’ve had time to fall in love with Medford, you can even profess your feelings on the Admissions Blog for all your D.C friends to read.

Spam prevention powered by Akismet