Today we’ll check in with Lisa, beginning a new professional journey as she continues some Fletcher-related research as an alumna!
I cannot believe it has almost been one month since I graduated from Fletcher. Let’s be honest: the end of my Fletcher journey as well as the graduation were not at all what I had hoped for and expected. I moved back to Washington, DC right after the school announced it was moving online. Once busy and noisy DC became all of a sudden quiet and empty. It seemed like the only people out were our fellow dog owners. For me, online classes were tough and required a lot more concentration and resolve than usually, and the sudden lack of in-person interaction with my friends was unsettling. But, just like my fellow classmates and students worldwide, I gradually adjusted to the new reality. To be fair, my dogs have been instrumental during the quarantine — if not for them, I probably wouldn’t have left my apartment at all.
Despite some challenges, my last three months at Fletcher were extremely productive: I worked, applied for jobs, completed my capstone, finished classes, helped monitor and document police misconduct during quarantine in Ukraine, and finally convinced myself to take the Russian language proficiency exam. Moreover, my fellow Eurasia Club leaders and I successfully managed to complete a leadership transition. Although I have recently graduated, my Fletcher journey is not over just yet. After graduation, I have continued working with the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) where I assist in conducting research on rising power alliances, and BRICS specifically. I have learned a ton during my time at CIERP, and I strongly recommend working for one of the centers or programs while studying at Fletcher.
Additionally, I recently became a Fellow at the Eurasian Research and Analysis Institute, which is an e-think tank focused on analysis of issues in Eurasia as well as U.S. relations with countries in the region. I think that this fellowship will serve as a great opportunity for me to consistently write and conduct research into U.S.-Russia relations, U.S.-Ukraine relations, and Ukrainian domestic issues.
Now that I have walked you through my Fletcher experience over the past 18 months or so, I would like to close with some tips that were helpful to me. First, plan ahead. Even if you are unsure what fields of study you want to pursue, plan your semesters in advance. Look through the list of offered classes and figure out what interests you, and what would satisfy the initial depth and breadth requirements. Second, get an on-campus job. It will help you improve your time management skills, and it looks good on a resume. Third, get involved. If you are an incoming Fletcher student, there is definitely an issue you are passionate about. Choose a club or an extracurricular activity and engage with it! P.S.: I recommend choosing one or two things so that you do not overextend yourself. Being a part of club will expand your network and is also useful to improve time management skills. Lastly, have fun! Do not forget about your mental and physical health and take a break once in a while. I believe that in the world in which we live in general, and in Fletcher’s fast-paced environment in particular, self-care is crucial.
I hope that this advice will be useful to you. Thank you for reading my blog posts and following my Fletcher story. It was my please to share it with you!