Adnan, from Toronto to Fiesta Latina

The last post written by our first-year student bloggers comes from Adnan, who is in the MALD program.  As he’ll explain, Adnan and I met at the earliest stages of his graduate school search and it has been a pleasure to keep up with him for more than a year.  He was also the very first new student I ran into on the first day of Orientation in August.  We were both walking up to Fletcher, and it seemed like an especially fitting start to the new academic year.  Naturally, I reached out to him when I was thinking about whom to ask to do some blogging over the next two years.  Here’s his story.

Adnan study group
Adnan, on right, meeting with his study group.

Three months in, I’m happy to report that Fletcher is everything I’d imagined it to be, and so much more.  My journey began last fall while I was visiting my alma mater, the University of Toronto, and happened to attend the APSIA fair they were hosting.  At the time, I was working in Lahore as an associate editor at Newsweek Pakistan, where I had started off as a staff reporter in 2011.  I had also been admitted to an international affairs program at another graduate school that spring, but deferred the offer because I wasn’t entirely sure it was the right choice for me.  Meeting representatives of various schools at the fair was a great way to get a sense of what else was out there, but the Fletcher booth is where I ended up spending most of my time.  I had an engaging conversation with Jessica about whether I’d be a good fit, and it motivated me to make a trip down to Medford.

Visiting campus convinced me that Fletcher was where I wanted to be.  I signed up for an interview and a coffee-chat with a student, met with a faculty member, attended a talk, and stayed overnight with a student who heard about me through the mighty Social List.  Each activity offered a different perspective on life at Fletcher, and I was able to get answers to all my questions.  The diversity of its curriculum, and the freedom to tailor a program to suit my interests were an important part of Fletcher’s appeal, as was its prestigious reputation.  What drew me most to the school, however, were Fletcher’s extraordinarily amicable people.  Everybody I interacted with seemed genuinely interested in helping, and as I can attest now, it wasn’t just about making a visitor feel welcome, but is very much a part of Fletcher’s culture.  I’m lucky to have gotten in, and glad I chose well.

With my background in journalism, I knew that International Information and Communication would be one of my concentrations.  This semester, I’m taking International Communication, the required course for that field.  Of the many topics covered in class, it’s been fascinating to study the changing context in which global media operates.  I am also taking both parts of Social Networks in Organizations, which work toward the field too.  Additionally, I am fulfilling my breadth requirements for one ILO course with International Legal Order, and for a required DHP class with Global Political Economy.  The second field of study I’m interested in is Strategic Management and International Consultancy.  Though this is technically a field for the MIB degree, the flexibility of Fletcher’s programs allows MALD students like me to petition to complete it.  To get my foot in the door, I joined the student-run service, 180 Degrees Consulting, and am leading a project to help a nongovernmental organization develop a communication strategy.

Adnan on dock
Adnan, fifth of a line of students at Professor Hess’s annual fall picnic.

While classes are rigorous and demanding, they are one among many sources of learning at Fletcher.  Coursework is complemented by daily events that range from conferences and panel discussions, to workshops and film-screenings, often leaving us spoiled for choice.  Another great resource is Fletcher’s diverse student body, just casually hanging out with whom can be educational.  Through clubs, students arrange organized activities and events too, my favorite of which so far have been the culture nights.  I danced in a Bollywood performance at Asia Night, learned Salsa for Fiesta Latina, and am already excited about Africana, Americana, and Mediterranean nights next semester.  With everything that goes on, and limited time at hand, coping with the fear of missing out can be a Fletcher student’s biggest challenge.  As I learn to prioritize to ensure I make the most of my time here, I look forward to sharing my Fletcher experience with you.

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