It’s time to check in with our student bloggers as they prepare to begin the spring semester. We’ll start with Princess, updating us on a very busy fall semester:
How is the semester over already? It feels like just yesterday that I logged on to Fletcher’s zoom university for the first time, nervous to meet everyone and anxious to learn. With one semester gone, I’ve acquired some grad school survival skills that I’m sure my cohort will agree are quite beneficial to the Fletcher experience whether in person or remote.
I cannot stress the importance and relevance of attending Fletcher events enough. Even though activities were completely online, I felt very engaged with the Fletcher community through some of the very meaningful and informative programs. From the Decolonizing IR conference to the New York City virtual career trip, I appreciated the opportunity to have stimulating conversations outside the classroom about a broad range of topics. One of my personal favorites was the Gender Conference’s “Bodies of Resistance” event where activists fighting for justice discussed their journeys in reclaiming their power.
If I had a penny for the number of times I wished for more hours in the day this semester, I would be very rich by now. I had so much to do within limited amounts of time in terms of my course work and my job as a Communications Associate for the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs. I’ll admit that I found myself drowning and feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of the semester but once I prioritized time management things got much better. My planner became my best friend and really saved me from a lot of stress.
The people at Fletcher are so welcoming! I felt really supported by my professors who did everything in their power to make an online learning environment as engaging as it could be. It was also helpful to connect with other students over this crazy shared experience. My reading groups and study groups were very useful in navigating course material. They were also great platforms to complain about problem sets or 3500 word essays. I’ve also witnessed the power of the Fletcher mafia and how much we can achieve when we come together as a community to ask for change. My excellent experience thus far is mainly as a result of the positive interactions I’ve had this semester.
I must say that my entire semester wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. I had moments when I felt like I was barely surviving and stress clouded my perspective on everything. There are so many exciting opportunities at Fletcher and it is very easy to get caught up and become overwhelmed. In those moments, it was very beneficial to take a step back and take stock of the things I was grateful for. I also took time to relax and do things that brought me joy. From visiting pumpkin patches to reading poetry and investing in scented candles, I found that prioritizing my mental health did a lot to keep me going. A proper self-care Sunday goes a long way in getting you in the right head-space for the week.
The holidays are finally here and I’m celebrating with loved ones (as per COVID guidelines of course) and feeling very accomplished in all the things I got to do this semester. I learned so much and gained a lot of confidence and I look forward to the new things I will learn and exciting things I will experience this Spring!