A final reflection from Kanako

Kanako and friendsCheers from Cambridge! I spend two months in Los Angeles and am currently visiting Boston again to meet my colleagues. My company has been remote full-time, so it is exciting to meet in person for the first time. We are going to do a BBQ at my boss’s house in Newton, which I’ve never been to yet. On weekdays, I plan to meet some of the startups that our company is helping — I am working as an Associate for an angel investor, and the experience has been amazing. Anyway, summer in Boston is always beautiful, and this season reminds me of when I first arrived at Tufts Campus. I and a couple of other Japanese students needed to attend a language school, and it was a great summer vacation to prepare for the busy fall.

Looking back, I am really proud that I chose the Fletcher School in Boston instead of other schools in Washington D.C. I changed at the last minute, and it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Boston has an academically diverse network of curious people, and your experience in this community is what you would not get at any other place. Location is very important for me because the people you meet will be an asset in your life, and you learn from them.

Two years passed so quickly, starting from an intensive orientation at Fletcher and finishing with a graduation thesis and job offer letter in hand. It is such an accomplishment for me to receive a Master of Arts in Law & Diplomacy degree because it had been my biggest dream that I could not stop thinking about for a long time. When I finally decided to apply in 2018 there were tons of challenges in front of me, such as English scores, GRE scores, lack of work experience to convey my inspiration in the application, recommendation letters, and to a significant degree, financial foundation. Point by point, I almost failed to pass. But when I passed, I gained a slice of confidence. Along the journey, some people suggested that I literally give up and come back, but some encouraged me to keep going. I am glad I was stubborn enough to only listen to those who gave me the positivity of pursuing my goal. I didn’t want to abandon my hope by hearing their judgments.

Kanako at the Fares CenterWith the degree, I got what I wrote in the application letter; the chance to advance my career. I expected my post-Fletcher annual income to increase at least 1.5x, but I achieved 1.9x. I have two job offers, so if I choose to take a higher risk, I will achieve 2.5x. Most of the students at Fletcher need to seek their next job just like me. And I know how hard and stressful it is to be a low-income student who studies a full-time, pure IR master’s program while simultaneously hunting for a post-Fletcher job through a series of interviews and networking events. But don’t worry because everyone was in the same situation, and they all found their next chapter eventually. At the beginning of school, I remember there was one speaker who asked us to deeply think about “why are you here (=Fletcher)?” But I would give you the complete opposite advice; don’t think too much but work hard and enjoy Fletcher’s experience! You don’t want to put too much stress on yourself to miss your fun and exciting journey.

Fletcher flag logo cakeI will stop here for now. Thank you so much for reading my posts! For those of you who want a further conversation, I’m always excited to share my experience and make new connections. If you would like to connect, please message me on LinkedIn.


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