From the home office: an update from Jessica

As we all adjust to our new home-based work lives, I’ve asked all the members of our team to provide readers with an update from their respective corners of our operation. We’ll start with Jessica, as she’s by far the most experienced blogger among us (she created and managed this blog for many years before I took over). She also has the possible benefit of going first, when there’s still some novelty to our new circumstances. We’ll see if colleagues I’ve tasked with contributing a post further in the future are dealing with serious cabin fever or punchiness by then. For now, though, take it away, Jessica!

Jessica's home officeHow did we get here??  You might be asking yourself a similar question, depending on where your town/region/country is on the Coronavirus curve.  In my case, it goes just a little bit deeper.  I made the hard decision to leave my Admissions pals and all our wonderful students and alumni in August 2018, when I wanted to try something new.  A year later, having done many new things, I answered a call from another old Fletcher buddy and agreed to work on some projects throughout this academic year.  When our long-time colleague, Liz, moved on to a new position last December, I further agreed to step in and help out through the winter and early spring, so here I am, back in Admissions.

The rest of my current setting, at my dining room table, was even less predictable.  Like the rest of the Fletcher staff, I am working from home, which is not a bad place to be.  Sure, it’s strange to be a member of a team that gathers for only an hour each day (via the now-indispensable Zoom), but I’m not inclined to complain.  And the particular timing of our work-at-home regimen has coincided with a lot of back-and-forth between me and admitted students and members of the faculty, which has been very enjoyable indeed.  If this is my contribution to putting the skids on the pandemic, I’m happy to do my part.

My work-from-home routine has always been heavily reliant on the consumption of hot beverages, and each day in my new “stay at home” life has featured a steady flow of coffees and teas.  Here’s the scene as I write, at least one of the day’s mugs having moved back to the kitchen.

On the other hand, trying to replicate all of our usual on-campus activities from home is an undeniable challenge.  The way I see it, prospective students want to figure out two things when they make an enrollment decision.  The first is the big stuff: Is this a graduate program where I can learn, develop skills, and advance my career?  I believe that we can share all the information needed to answer this question via webinars, panel presentations, and other online offerings.  The second is trickier: Is this a place where I’ll fit in, develop my network, become part of a community that will nurture my career, and just plain make friends?  Rising to the challenge posed by this question, we’re working on making connections between current and admitted students.  If you’ve recently been admitted and we haven’t yet connected you with a current student or alumnus, please reach out to us and we’ll facilitate a coffee chat with one of the students who are kindly continuing to work or volunteer for Admissions, despite having needed to reengineer their learning to online education.

The best part of working in Admissions is getting to know our students, whether they’re still in their application year or they have enrolled.  The setting for my day-to-day may be unexpected, but the fun of working with incoming students is exactly what I would have anticipated when I returned to the Admissions Office in January.


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