Today’s Q&A with the Office of Admissions 2017-18 Graduate Assistants (GAs) zeroes in on Orientation and the start of classes.

What tips do you have for after classes start?

Cindy: Get organized quickly!  I use a planner that I refer to when I need to check what readings or assignments I have coming up, and I use Google Calendar to alert me where I need to be.  This has been extremely helpful for me because I can always be thinking ahead, and it has helped me make tough choices about whether to attend events or focus on coursework that is due soon.

I have also found that forming reading groups early on will help you be on top of your classes and help you meet new people.  It is a fact that you will not read everything for your classes, but it’s more manageable if you’re splitting things up and sharing notes.  Those notes also come in handy during exam time. 🙂

John: I agree that it’s really helpful to try and form a study group/reading group, especially with classes that have a heavy reading load.  I would also say that it’s important to find that balance of activities early on in the semester.  It’s easier to start this early in the year and you’ll thank yourself when things get crazier later on.  Finally, don’t forget to get involved!  Classes can take over your life, but one of the best things about Fletcher is the exchange of ideas that happens outside of the classroom through organizations, conferences, and social events.  Dive right in and get involved in something that you’re passionate about, but also don’t be afraid to try some new things.

Brooklyn: After classes start, but BEFORE the end of the add-drop period, make sure to check the work required for each class by taking a look at the syllabi.  Some classes will require more written paper assignments while others will be more exam based.  It’s good to select classes that are a mixture of the two.  You don’t want to end up writing five papers or have five exams at the end of the semester!

Cece: Enjoy learning and don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of reading or assignments.  You’ll get used to the flow of graduate school and learn to balance academics and your social/professional sphere.  It is important to apply your professional lens to what you are learning as well, so take time to think about what you learn in class and consider how it might be relevant for you professionally in the future.  You will find that the Fletcher calendar is filled with numerous exciting events, guest speakers, lectures, and student-run club events.  It can feel like a lot, but you will soon learn that it is not humanly possible to attend everything and meet everyone in the first semester.  It’s okay to take some time just settling in.  I would still recommend making the best use of all the extra resources Fletcher provides outside of the classroom and begin building a network that will stay with you even after you leave Fletcher.

If you could speak to your pre-Orientation self, what would you say?

John: Take a deep breath.  You’ll receive a lot of information during Orientation.  It takes time to process it and it’s really easy to get overwhelmed.  Make sure to pay attention to these sessions, but also take the time to get to know your classmates and the rest of the Fletcher community.

Cece: Make the most of your first week by attending the social hours held during orientation.  Orientation is a gateway to meeting a lot of amazing people you will call classmates for the rest of your Fletcher experience.

Cindy: Graduate school will go by so fast, so make sure to try new things, get involved in opportunities that come your way, meet and connect with others, and enjoy the experience!

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