Continuing with our updates from student bloggers, today we’ll check in with Almarie, approaching the finish line of her first year at Fletcher:
While writing this blog I find myself wondering how everyone is doing mentally while also checking myself. Like many, this is my third-semester taking classes over zoom. It has been rewarding but also quite tiring.
This semester has been one of a few too many surprises. I was told, during Black History Month, that I am the first black Puerto Rican to ever attend the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy since its foundation in 1933. I do have to say I felt more frustration and sadness than happiness or pride. This made me aware of one of my privileges, but it also creates a drive to use my status to be an advocate.
Spring break was difficult for me this year due to the fact that I wasn’t able to travel or participate in any field experiences due to the pandemic. I spent my week working on group projects (Peace Operations), mentally preparing for finals, and working on readings and tasks for my other classes (Law of the Sea, Gender in the Transitional States, Intro to Econ). I had time to relax and be comfortable, but I deeply enjoyed preparing for my presentation on the DRC and the evolution of the mandate in MONUC and MONUSCO. The transition of traditional peace-keeping operations (PoK) to the creation of a new concept of “peace enforcement” sparked a new interest in me. I encourage everyone who’s interested in PoK, protection of civilians, rule of law, and transitional justice to take the class. Be prepared to read, participate in break-out rooms, and challenge yourself to go deeper than just the concepts that Professor Ian Johnstone teaches.
I also recommend Professor Dyan Mazurana and her Gender in the Transitional States class. It is a great class in which you will discuss topics like child development, LGBTQIA+ refuge and IDP (rights, status, justice, violence), sexual violence as a weapon, boys and males as victims, women on front lines, etc. It is a great class to learn how to do policy memos, inform organizations on important topics, influence policy decisions, etc. I did take Law of the Sea, which is a class out of my comfort zone, with Professor John Burgess. If you are interested in the South China Sea, the EEZ, pirates, ghost vessels, squid, climate change, the Arctic, UNCLOS, then this is the class for you. Honestly, all my classes were worth taking and I have learned valuable information in all of them.
Now that we are getting closer to finishing the semester, I have tremendous admiration for everyone who’s within weeks of graduation. I see the emotional exhaustion that we as students have but are trying to ignore, especially in this hard year. Everyone should be proud of their achievements even though it may feel like this pandemic has deprived us of achieving our best. However, I’m excited to work as a co-leader, along with Kiana Nedele, for the Ralph Bunche Society. I am also thrilled to work for the US Army War College for the Director of Women, Peace, and Security during the summer. Hopefully soon I will get to meet and experience Fletcher in person. Wishing everyone the best of lucks in the next few weeks. Best vibes for everyone who’s finishing up their capstones. Stay safe everyone!