2nd-year MALD student Victoria checks in with us today, anticipating a brighter 2021:
I wanted to be chirpy and funny to counter the heaviness of our times, but as I learn to hold space for grief, mourning, and gratitude in a difficult year, I want to start off this post to hold space for everyone here on this page with me. From lost opportunities of all kinds, to the loss of loved ones, and the unraveling of domestic and international affairs, it’s been exhausting. You deserve a break, and no matter how dark it all feels, things will get better even if it doesn’t feel that way for all of us yet.
Individually, there have been bright spots. Christmas Eve, I went out and explored the Somerville Neighborhood Lights, admiring the effort, commitment, and artistry behind elaborate decorations. From nativity scenes reconstructed with chickens to houses that look like they belong in a Christmas movie film set, just the sheer variety brought wonder and joy.
For New Year’s Eve, my housemate who didn’t go home for the holidays and I embarked on a new baking project: a dumpster fire yule log to send off 2020 and usher in 2021. The peppermint chocolate yule log I planned to bake was originally intended for Christmas, but after making dumplings from scratch Christmas Day, no physical or mental energy was left, so to make it NYE appropriate, we got creative by sculpting some melted candy. These small projects helped us retain some semblance of joyful resistance to the onslaught of doom-scrolling and existential anxiety.
While the first week of January was eventful in the US for lack of better words, a mix of relief and absolute chaos, I still want to stare 2021 in the face because how can we look away? Technically in my mind, it’s still 2020 until the Lunar New Year passes anyways, so there’s approximately still a month from this writing before I fully acknowledge any transition.
Here’s what I do acknowledge and encourage for those reading these words as they ponder applying to a Masters or PhD program at Fletcher. First of all, if submissions have already been made, congrats! I hope to one day call you part of the Fletcher Mafia that intends to do what good they can in the world. If now you are in the midst of preparing an application for Round 3 and 4, procrastinating, thinking ahead for the future, or pondering if next year is even a good time to go to graduate school, take your time and do your best. The world needs professionals with strong awareness and knowledge of issues in IR in every field. If there are questions, meet us in the info sessions, coffee hours, and social media. If 2020 wasn’t a call to action, I do not know what it was. So pick your poison, the sword you choose to fall upon, the issues that animate you – I hope to hear of your arrival in the Hall of Flags one day or catch you in some corner of the globe.
Lastly, a thank you to everyone. You have survived a difficult year and you are still here. I am so proud of you even if survival may feel like the bare minimum. Being here in the present is enough. Being here means there are still endless possibilities. I look forward to exploring these possibilities with you all.
Peace, Love, and Power,
PS: To the animal lovers, here is a photo of an unwilling housemate when one of us was packing to go home for the holidays.