Emma’s first semester wrap-up

It’s time to check in with our student bloggers as they begin their spring semester. We’ll start with Emma, who covered a lot of academic, professional, and geographic ground during the fall:

Hello again, blog readers! I am excited to start the next semester after some much-needed rest (especially after 2021’s parting gift of getting COVID-19 for the first time). I spent the past two years living in fear of getting COVID, so at least I got over that. We are beginning the semester virtually for the first week, but we will be back to in-person learning soon.

Emma hiking in Middlesex FellsThe first semester went by so quickly, and I cannot believe that there are only three more semesters left of graduate school. I enjoyed getting to know my cohort, exploring Boston, and trying new experiences. Here are some quick highlights (but certainly not all):

  1. Hiking in the Middlesex Fells Reservation – The Fletcher in the Wild club planned a hike during the first month of school. We had a great time getting to know each other, enjoying nature, and trying to take a good group photo!
  2. Covering the Fletcher Reads the Newspaper event: Will ESG Investing Save the World? – The event series engages Fletcher’s interdisciplinary experts, students, faculty, and alumni, in a discussion surrounding a current news topic. I learned about the controversy surrounding ESG investing and wrote a summary article.
  3. Meeting my Fletcher Women in Business/Tufts Women in IR mentee – For our second meeting, we got coffee, and they showed me around their undergraduate dorm (making me feel very old and out of place). The partnership is a great reminder we are part of the larger Tufts community.
  4. Enjoying a Fletcher Feast with a new group of Fletcher friends – This event around Thanksgiving provided a chance to talk to peers outside my year or classes, and we enjoyed some delicious food made by our gracious host.
  5. Visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts – It is always a nice change of scenery to get out and explore Boston. Perk: Tufts Students get free admission at the MFA, and you can take the Tufts shuttle to the museum.

Emma at a "Fletcher Feast"Currently, I am sitting in a café writing this post and getting organized for the upcoming semester. I am continuing my part-time data and analysis job with APSIA and working with a former Tufts IR alumna on a small project in the spring. She ended up knowing my boss at APSIA and my former Lehigh professor who wrote one of my graduate school recommendation letters. The IR world is small, indeed!

I have not finalized my schedule yet, but I appreciate the flexibility of the first week and “shopping” for classes. For those who have never shopped for courses, shopping day provides a day to listen to professors go through their class syllabus and explain the course objectives. This way, students have a better idea of which classes to take. My tentative schedule includes Econometric Impact Evaluation, Political Economy of Development Policy, International Trade and Investment, and Climate Change and Security.

I am wrapping up this post with some nuggets of wisdom I picked up from the last semester. First, get over the fear of being wrong. Typically, I feel anxious about talking in class if I am unsure about the answer or feel like I do not have anything valuable to contribute. However, we are here to learn, and it is okay to not have all the answers. Second, know when to take a break. When I feel tired or burned out, I like to go for a long walk or use the BlueBikes to explore a new area. My friend and I typically take a weekly walk when we finish classes on Thursday to unwind and take our minds off school. Lastly, get to know your professors and classmates. I tried to go to office hours at least once for all my classes to check in, discuss assignments, or ask questions. I found study groups extremely helpful for preparing for exams or working through problem sets. Everyone I have met at Fletcher has been overwhelmingly welcoming and helpful.

I am excited to kick off the next semester and wish everyone luck with their classes! For those wrapping up graduate school applications, you got this! Thanks for following along. See you next time!

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