Continuing to welcome back our second-year bloggers, today I’m sharing the first report for 2017-18 from Pulkit, who brings us up-to-date on both his summer activities and the start of his fall semester. When you read about everything he’s engaged in, you won’t be surprised that he is also offering time-management support to other students.
Last time I wrote for the Admissions Blog, summer had just started and I was in the middle of my teaching assistant responsibilities with Professor Ian Johnstone. After the course ended, I decided to stay in the Boston area for a long, warm, and wonderful summer. I enjoyed it especially because it was quiet in Medford, and on campus. I did not have to worry about rushing to classes or scheduled meetings in Cabot basement. I took time for leisurely walks around campus, and went swimming and cycling. I also spent time with my housemates, all Fletcher folks, cooking, watching movies, and traveling around Boston.
Later in August, I had the opportunity to visit Vienna, Austria and Geneva and Zürich, Switzerland. The purpose of my visit was to gain exposure, for professional networking and academic activities. I attended the ten-day International Summer Academy at the Institute for Peace and Dialogue in Baar, Switzerland, where I learned about the history of the Middle East, arms control, non-violent civil resistance movements, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution. I also did a lot of sightseeing, and ended up walking 70 miles (112 kilometers) in a span of two weeks. It was my first visit to mainland Europe and it was a great learning experience. One of the highlights of my trip was meeting Fletcher alumni in Geneva.
As school started gearing up for another academic year, and in the lead-up to new-student Orientation Week, I decided to volunteer with the Office of Student Affairs. This gave me a nice opportunity to interact with the incoming class. I volunteered to facilitate the Navigating a Diverse World session and, along with Zoltan (a current Ph.D. candidate and former diplomat), led one of the sessions on Social Media Skills and Strategies.
As I jump into my second year of school, there are many things lined up for me. I am taking four courses, and auditing one. I will also be the teaching assistant to Professor Johnstone for ILO 220: International Organizations. Even though it may seem a lot, this is essentially the story of every Fletcher student.
In my first year, I was elected to the Committee for Diversity and Inclusiveness, and I thoroughly enjoyed working as a student representative. In spring 2017, I was nominated and elected to the Fletcher Student Council, and being an active student representative will be one prime responsibility and commitment this academic year. For me, taking up these roles was about giving back to the School, as much as the School has done for me. I also wanted to work with the school administration.
In addition to my committee activities, I am also the Managing Director for Digital and External Affairs, 2017-2018, for the student-led journal The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, where along with my co-editors, I will be responsible for the timely publication of articles for the print journal and web. For The Forum, I will be managing a team of 12 senior and staff editors. Further, I am the co-President of the Science Diplomacy Club. Science Diplomacy is a rather new self-designed Field of Study at Fletcher. With increasing conversations around nuclear security, environment, health and infectious diseases, Arctic issues, and cybersecurity, this specialization has become all the more important. The club’s mission is to bridge the gap between science and policy, to ensure informed decision making. Underscoring the club’s vision, we hope to bring science diplomacy practitioners and experts to the School for them to share their knowledge and experiences.
Besides my TA responsibilities, I am also working part-time at the Office of Development of Alumni Relations (ODAR), and as a Time Management and Study Strategy (TMSS) consultant at Tufts University’s Academic Resource Center. ODAR is primarily responsible for Fletcher alumni relations, fundraising, and stewardship. My responsibilities as a Graduate Student Assistant, among many tasks, involve project management and assisting with stewardship projects and annual fund initiatives. As a TMSS consultant I work with undergraduate and graduate students at Tufts, to help them overcome academic challenges, and by providing them effective strategies to manage their work and time.
As I mentioned earlier, while it may seem like too much, Fletcher students are always known to juggle between multiples tasks, roles, and responsibilities. For me personally, remaining involved in extracurricular activities is as important as academics and I wanted to prioritize out-of-class learning as much as in-class learning. These experiences have helped in my personal and professional development, and are what I will eventually take with me as I move on to my post-Fletcher career.