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Way back in May, a ceremony took place to present the 2017 Presidential Awards for Civic Life to Tufts undergraduate and graduate students who have made an impact on the community.  For about a month, I searched for the photos or videos from the event that I thought would be shared.  Then, well after I had given up searching, there they were!  You can certainly argue that an event from two months ago isn’t news anymore, but it’s always nice to shed light on someone, particularly someone who has been honored for service.

In the video below, watch Dean Jerry Sheehan introduce Ammar Karimjee, a 2017 MIB graduate, at about 1:01.  And then watch Associate Director of Student Affairs Katie Mulroy introduce 2017 MALD graduate Angga Dwi Martha at about 1:11.  Or, if you don’t feel like scrolling, you can go directly to the videos for Ammar and Angga.

You can also read here about what Ammar, Angga, and all the other recipients, contributed during their time at Tufts.

 

As I’ve often written before, work at Fletcher in the summer has its own rhythms.  The School remains quiet from late May to early August, but we’re not “un-busy.”  We all have a variety of projects going and that’s before we start the serious prepping that precedes the fall semester.  Meanwhile, because admissions folk tend not to take much vacation time from September to May, we’re all in and out of the office.  I’ve been taking Mondays off, which has made a mess of my usual blog patterns.

When I reported back to work yesterday, I heard the quiet hum of voices around the Hall of Flags and near some of the lecture rooms.  While I was enjoying a long weekend, students in the Global Master of Arts Program had arrived!  These GMAPers will be on campus for two weeks completing their yearlong program, including submitting their Capstone Projects.  Then, on July 31, a new GMAP class will arrive for their first two-week residency.

(For those unfamiliar with the GMAP format, students (who are mid-to-senior-level professionals) bracket their program year with two two-week sessions at Fletcher.  In between the sessions, their fall and spring semesters are delivered via internet-mediated instruction, punctuated by an additional two-week residency out in the world.  The photo to the right shows the program in Abu Dhabi in 2014.)

The truth is, GMAP students have little contact with students in Fletcher’s traditional residential programs.  But after they graduate, GMAP alumni forge the relationships with the larger community that characterize the Fletcher family experience.  They join alumni clubs, attend reunions, and have proven to be strong supporters of MALDs, MIBs, etc., creating the connection that didn’t exist as they pursued their degrees on different academic calendars.

For now, it’s nice to have some company in the building, and we’re happy to welcome GMAP!

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Though many incoming students have already lined up their housing, I know that other folks are still searching or, even, just kicking off their search.  Here’s some advice from Admissions Graduate Assistant Cindy, who conducted her housing search last summer.

During the few months before starting at Fletcher, one of my biggest worries was figuring out where I was going to live.  At the time, I was finishing up a teaching job and living with my husband in North Carolina, so I was very anxious about trying to find housing remotely.  I could only imagine what that process would be like for students living and working outside of the United States.

I learned very quickly that housing in the Medford/Boston area goes on and off the market at a fast pace, and websites like Zillow were not always helpful.  As badly as I wanted to secure housing early on, trying to search for housing in March or April was unrealistic.  That being said, I was able to start getting in touch with different realtors and learn about how to find an apartment that suited our needs and budget.  After working with a realtor, we ended up taking a weekend trip to Medford in June, looking at a few places within our budget, and submitting an application for an apartment.  We eventually moved to Medford in late July.

My situation is not exactly typical of Fletcher students; I wanted to find a one-bedroom apartment for my husband, my dog, and me, which was a difficult task.  I would say, however, that it is much easier to find housing if you are open to the idea of roommates, so that you can split the rent.  To find out current information about houses or apartments for rent, I would check out the Off Campus Housing Resource Center.  On this site, you can click on the apartment listing spreadsheet which is continually updated throughout the year.  (Scroll down for the latest listings.)  There is also helpful information on trusted real estate agents, but keep in mind you often have to pay realtor fees if you work directly with a broker.

Another way of seeing what is available is getting in touch with current Fletcher students and finding out if they are graduating or relocating.  If you’re not already connecting with people on the incoming student Facebook page, it’s not too late.  Blakeley Hall, Fletcher’s co-ed dorm for single or married students not living with their spouse/children, is also an option, though by now the rooms will all be taken for Fall 2017.  For those who have already reserved a Blakeley room, you’ll find it a great way to remain involved on campus and it has a special culture that its resident have developed over time.

Searching for housing can be stressful, but if you keep in mind the timing of your search as well as the options listed above, I’m sure you will find a great home.  Good luck!

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The Admissions Blog’s Student Stories writers are busy with their summer activities, but I have end-of-year reports from them to share.  I’ll start with this post from Mariya, who pursued an outrageously busy schedule during the spring semester.

It’s hard to believe that my first year at Fletcher has come to an end.  It feels like yesterday that I was meeting new people at Orientation, figuring out my classes, and making sense of my new community.  Over the last ten months, a lot has happened; at Fletcher, in the United States, and around the world.  The frequency of breaking news buzzing on my phone made it difficult at times to focus on my studies, but as any student or professor would tell you, consuming articles from a variety of sources is an important part of a Fletcher education.  These unofficial “supplemental readings” became topics of discussion in classes and our homes, in the Mugar Café and on the Social List.  In these spaces, we analyzed and debated world events in a way that challenged our long-held beliefs and pushed us outside our comfort zones.  At those moments, I couldn’t help but be grateful.  What a privilege it is to be a student now — to study history, to discuss the present, to prepare for the future, to think out loud and debate different ideas.

While the real world seemed to be in disarray, I was struggling to manage my own world at Fletcher.  My second semester was especially challenging because I took six half- or full-semester courses including two at Harvard, audited three classes including intermediate Spanish, and was an active leader of three campus clubs.  In this post, I’d like to highlight one of those clubs: The Fletcher Islamic Society (FIS).

When I arrived at Fletcher in September, I learned that FIS was not an active group.  With others, I applied for club funding and we were able to re-charter it.  The purpose of the Fletcher Islamic Society is to create a space that furthers the understanding of Islam in different social, cultural, political, ethnic, and spiritual contexts.  By hosting speakers, engaging in community service, and facilitating open dialogue, our hope is to foster an environment where Islam can be understood in all its complexity and diversity.  We collaborate with the Tufts Muslim Chaplaincy and the Tufts Muslim Student Association student group for recurring events such as Jummah (Friday) prayers and Quran recitation circles.  This year, FIS was one of the direct beneficiaries of a new prayer room that allows Muslim students to pray in a convenient space and for others to meditate.

I would like to highlight a few events that FIS organized to give you an idea of the types of student-inspired programming that is a norm at Fletcher.

  • In sponsorship with the Fares Center, we hosted Pakistani Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Rizwan Shiekh, who spoke to an audience of about 40 students about the “knowns and unknowns” of Pakistan from a security perspective.  Pakistan is often a case study in Fletcher courses, and it was refreshing to hear a different perspective from a career diplomat about the role of the military in public life and foreign policy, as well as in diplomatic initiatives.
  • Shortly after the 2016 election and the highlighting of the Khizr Khan family, FIS leaders sought to bring attention to Muslims serving in the armed forces.  In partnership with the International Security Studies Program (ISSP), FIS invited to campus MIT Professor of Military Science Captain Nadi Kassim who delivered an engaging luncheon talk titled “Muslim Americans in the Armed Forces: The Story of a 1st Generation Palestinian-American.”  This event was highlighted in the Muslim Chaplaincy’s Spring newsletter.
  • Another popular event that FIS sponsored this semester was a panel discussion titled “Spooks Islam: Reflection on Intelligence, Counterterrorism and the American Muslim Experience.”  In addition to sharing their experiences of working in counterterrorism as black Muslims, Muhammad Fraser-Rahim and Yaya Fanusie engaged students with career advice — and some students even landed summer internships with their organizations!
  • In late April, FIS hosted an intimate coffee discussion with one of Fletcher’s distinguished alums, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary, F90.  Once the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Mr. Chaudhary shared anecdotes of his time at Fletcher and his diplomatic journey and advice for students as we navigate our futures.

Of course, there’s never a shortage of events to attend at Fletcher.  But what I love about being a student club leader is the flexibility and discretion afforded to us in creating programming that we feel benefits the community.  If there is something you want to see at campus, you can make it happen.

Aside from organizing and attending events, I had the opportunity to participate in some, too.  For example, I performed my values speech from the Arts of Communication course at the spring Fletcher Faces of Community, presented my undergraduate research at Tufts’ South Asian Political Action Committee Symposium, and shared my poem titled “The Dream That Is” at the Spring Recital.  The semester ended with the annual Diplomats Ball (or “Dip Ball” for short), which was the perfect way to top off the year.  I’ve had an incredible time at Fletcher so far, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to enroll here.  I’m spending the summer in Taiwan and Thailand — I look forward to writing to you from there!

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With each of the utterly optional summer reading lists I’ve posted so far, another has emerged.  Last week, Roxanne (who wrote for the blog from 2012-14, while she was in the MALD program, and is now a PhD candidate) asked me if I would like an additional list, this time focused on writers who are less often represented by traditional curricula.  I was delighted to receive her offer and I’m even more delighted to share her suggestions with you.  I’ll let Roxanne take it from here.

When we founded the Gender Analysis in International Studies Field of Study at Fletcher, a key tenet was that gender is not merely about identities or social relationships.  Rather, it is also about institutions, notions of credibility and authority, and — at its heart — about power.  Because gender does not exist in a vacuum, we considered how it intersects with race, social class, ethnicity, and other vectors, to affect conceptions and experiences of agency, vulnerability, power, or justice.

As we looked at syllabi, we asked ourselves: Who is considered an authority on international studies and why?  Which texts count as “the canon” — and which voices and opinions are left out of that imagination?  These are questions I have taken to asking about my leisure reading as well.  How are my notions of what is worth reading colored by gendered, ethnicized, and racialized expectations surrounding credibility and authority?  With that in mind, and with a commitment to interrupting the white-American-male streak on my own bookshelves, I am delighted to share a few of my favorite reads from the past year.

A common theme in the books I have read this year has been that of how people negotiate their relationship to solitude and their yearning for community.  I discovered Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone on the end-of-year round-up of favorite books in the Brainpickings newsletter.  Laing’s words at the conclusion of a tour through solitude, art, and urban alienation felt particularly timely: “Loneliness is personal, and it is also political.  Loneliness is a collective; it is a city.  As to how to inhabit it, there are no rules and nor is there any need to feel shame, only to remember that the pursuit of individual happiness does not trump or excuse our obligations to each another.”

Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing tackles the ways in which legacies of power, oppression, and loss layer atop each other from generation to generation.  It is the kind of book that lodges itself in your mind, and it reminded me of a mix between Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism and Hanya Yanagihara’s punching descriptions of life-long hardship.

Part of my professional work in the past year has centered on understanding the journeys of refugees, through a study I have co-managed with Professor Kim Wilson in Greece, Jordan, Turkey, and Denmark.  During the research methods summer seminar I participated in last year, one instructor had pointed out that academic writing is anemic when it only draws on scholarly texts.  A number of literary works on the experience of displacement have since been piled on my desk alongside our own footnotes.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s short story collection The Refugees stirred me on many snowy February nights and Roberto Bolaño’s words in its epigraph still travel with me: “I wrote this book for the ghosts, who, because they’re outside of time, are the only ones with time.”  Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends, a long-form essay on immigration to the United States, also rang close to home.  Luiselli weaves her own insights as a new immigrant — a “resident alien,” in the words of Luiselli, the law, and my own experience — with her observations of the experience of Central American children seeking to avoid deportation from the United States.  Luiselli’s articulation of “the great theater of belonging” that immigration and nationhood invite and require has accompanied me as we work on the final report of our own refugee study.

One of the losses of displacement (even chosen displacement) is the ease of one’s own language.  I was born and raised in Greece, but, by virtue of where I live and my current research on Colombia, my life now unfolds primarily in English and in Spanish.  Until recently, I used to interact with Greek predominantly in the context of bureaucracy.  When my friend Niki introduced me to Titos PatrikiosThe Temptation of Nostalgia, the title felt like a phrase in which I have lived.  The book itself did not disappoint, and it prompted a return to Greek literature and a reacquaintance with the Greek language of joy, dreaming, and lightness.

I am new to short stories and have discovered two of my favorite collections in the past year.  Kathleen Collins’ Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? came into my life through an excerpt in literary magazine Granta’s “Legacies of Love” issue.  Collins writes injustice and structural violence with such subtlety that a sense of activating grief lingered long after I finished the book.  My other favorite short story collection was Randa Jarrar’s Him, Me, Muhammad Ali.  Jarrar writes about foreignness, youth, queerness, desire, and loss with a lightness that leaves her readers dizzy and that has me wanting to read much more of her work.

Finally, what is on my summer to-read list?  Besides a lot of research-oriented reading on the Colombian peace process in preparation for my upcoming fieldwork, I am looking forward to Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (furthering the refugee theme), Hisham Matar’s The Return (a memoir of, among other issues, fatherlessness), and Ayobami Adebayo’s Stay With Me, a novel tracing a Nigerian couple’s parallel accounts of a marriage.  Happy reading!

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Some weeks ago, a blog reader named Rumal asked me if I would pull together some information about offerings in Human Rights study at Fletcher.  I’m always happy to run with a good suggestion, but I knew it would require some research.  Fortunately for me, the Admissions Office front desk has received well-educated staffing from a job-hunting new graduate, Rafael.  I asked Rafael to do some digging, and here’s what he reports.

Fletcher’s interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to develop an integrated understanding of global challenges.  For a school of law and diplomacy, though, few issues are as central to the curriculum as international human rights.  Accordingly, there are several courses, most of them offered within Fletcher’s International Law and Organizations Division, which approaches human rights from an international law perspective.  (For students in the LLM program, Human Rights Law and International Justice is one of the four curricular options from which they may choose, if they wish.)

Among our law faculty, Hurst Hannum, Professor of International Law, offered courses in International Human Rights Law, Current Issues in Human Rights, and Nationalism, Self-Determination and Minority Rights during the past academic year.  Students also took courses in International Criminal Justice, Transitional Justice, and International Humanitarian Law, taught by Fletcher professors Cecile Aptel and John Cerone.  In addition, most of our professors are not only teachers, but also scholars and, at times, advisors to organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or Amnesty International, so that students are exposed to cutting-edge research and real-world experience.

In addition to courses that explicitly deal with international human rights, seminars that are primarily concerned with other issues often allow students to produce research papers or policy papers in which they can combine multiple areas of interest.  In Memory Politics: Truth, Justice, and Redress, for example, students trace the expansion of, and challenges to, the regime of human rights and international law by focusing on case studies such as Rwanda, South Africa, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru.  Law and Development, too, requires students to produce a research paper on any one aspect of the emerging field of international development law.  Questions of distributive justice, the rule of law, and informal justice systems are not only of considerable importance to social and economic development, but also important components of the contemporary human rights discourse.

Another opportunity for Fletcher students to follow their interests and develop expertise in a particular area is the Capstone Project, which can be a traditional academic thesis or can take an entirely different form, like a business plan, policy memo, or podcast.  Recent graduates passionate about human rights have researched and written on the negotiation for an international treaty on business and human rights, the role of the international private legal sector in contributing to rule of law, development, access to justice and human rights in the developing world, and child victims of armed conflict.

Following their Fletcher experience, recent graduates have worked for organizations including The Malala Fund, the U.S. Institute for Peace, and the UN, as well as government agencies across the world.

Thanks, Rafael!  By fortunate coincidence, after Rafael had written up his report, we heard from a recent graduate who was active in the Human Rights field, and she offered to add her thoughts on the Human Rights Project, a student organization.  Here’s Natalie’s description of her out-of-the-classroom activities.

The Human Rights Project (HRP) is entirely student run and has two components: public events and a research platform, the Practicum, through which HRP distinguishes itself from other student groups.  The Practicum serves as a collaborative place for research and multidisciplinary projects that are actionable and forward-looking; we work for a variety of clients outside of Tufts — we juggled five projects this year alone with a variety of organizations and research topics such as hate speech, minority rights, CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 2030), and R2P (Responsibility to Protect).  It’s an inclusive place for students to hone practical skills in research design, teamwork, and project management.  Professor Hannum and Professor Cerone have been the gatekeepers, but will pass the torch to our new human rights professor in the of Fall 2017.

The work requires brain power and teamwork, so every semester HRP looks for incoming students who are critical thinkers and passionate about the future of human rights.  If you are interested in being a leader or member, visit our website for more information to learn how you can get involved.

My thanks to Rafael and Natalie for their perspective on Human Rights study at Fletcher!  As my final word, I’ll refer you to a 2014 Admissions Blog post about the origins of the Human Rights Practicum, which I rediscovered while putting the finishing touches on today’s post.

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In an annual tradition, we’ve asked recent graduates and current students to offer a Coffee Hour wherever they’re spending the summer.  These are informal events where prospective applicants and incoming students can sit and chat with someone who’s in the know about the program.  Here’s the list of locations where folks will be grabbing a coffee and pulling up a chair.  For updated details, check the Coffee Hours website.

Abuja, Nigeria
Ahmedabad, India
Athens, Greece
Atlanta, GA
Bangalore, India
Bogotá, Colombia
Boston, MA
Boston, MA (Cambridge)
Boston, MA (Somerville)
Brussels, Belgium
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dubai, UAE
Durban, South Africa
Frankfurt, Germany
Geneva, Switzerland
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Hong Kong
Honolulu, HI
Islamabad, Pakistan
Jakarta, Indonesia
Johannesburg, South Africa
Kansas City, KS
Karachi, Pakistan
Kigali, Rwanda
Lima, Peru
Lisbon, Portugal
Managua, Nicaragua
Meknes, Morocco
Mexico City, Mexico
Moscow, Russia
Nairobi, Kenya
New Delhi, India
New York, NY (Manhattan)
New York, NY (Brooklyn)
Paris, France
Ramallah, West Bank
Rome, Italy
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA
Seoul, South Korea
Tallinn, Estonia
Tbilisi, Georgia
Tokyo, Japan
Washington, DC
Yangon, Myanmar
Zurich, Switzerland

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Continuing the Q&A advice from the Admissions Graduate Assistants (GAs), we’ll turn first to a critical piece of wisdom — where to study.  As I noted yesterday, the GAs answered these questions a few weeks ago, at the very end of the spring semester.

What is your favorite on-campus study space?

Ashley: I like sitting outside of Ginn Library most of the time, because there’s plenty of light from outside and sometimes you get the pleasant break of a friend walking by and saying hello.  But if that’s not studious enough for you, the third floor of Ginn also has a bank of windows that makes working inside a lot more tolerable!

Brooklyn: The third floor of Ginn Library.  There are windows and sunlight and you can pretend that you are outside doing something more exciting than finance problem sets.

Cindy: I am the kind of person who likes my surroundings to be quiet when I am reading material for my classes.  I enjoy sitting in the Ginn Library or reserving study rooms in the Cabot basement.  If I am getting simple tasks done (checking e-mails, getting organized), I like the high-top tables in the Hall of Flags.

Dristy: In my first year, my favorite study space was the area outside Ginn Library, both for the daylight as well as the potential to socialize.  And in my second year, I spent most of my time in the Mugar Computer Lab that only Fletcher students have access to.  This was mostly because I took classes that required the use of certain software available on school computers, but it proved to be a great study and work space.

How/where did you meet most of your Fletcher friends?  (In class, Orientation, student activities?)

Ashley: I had the benefit of both of my roommates being in pre-session classes while I was getting settled in Somerville — so I met a lot of folks through them.  Certainly Orientation was the first big chance to meet new faces, but I think from there friendships developed organically, inside and outside of class, and through the friends I’d already begun to make.  I still find myself making new friends, even in my last semester.

Brooklyn: I met most of my Fletcher friends during Orientation, but didn’t really become friends until well along in the first semester.  Be open to going to social events, even through your school work might make it feel prohibitive.  Think of it as networking!

Cindy: I met most of the people I spend time with in class and during extracurricular activities that I regularly attend.  I also met some wonderful people at social hours, which happen on Thursdays.  I would recommend forming study/reading groups with classmates as a way to get to know each other, and I also recommend going to as many events as possible during the fall to meet fellow classmates early on.

Dristy: I met most of my closest Fletcher friends in class and at events/activities organized by student organizations.  Those were the natural ways to meet people with shared interests while spending time doing what we enjoy.

What is something you regret not doing while at Fletcher?  (Help incoming students to avoid making the same mistake.)

Ashley: To be honest, I am struggling to answer this question — it seems as though I’ve done a lot in two years here! — but I suppose I wish I had gone into Boston more often.  I already know the city pretty well, but there are always new things to do and places to visit.  It’s just too easy to remain in the Fletcher environs, as there is no shortage of things to do and people to see here, either!

Brooklyn: I regret not applying to internships sooner.  Not sure where you want to be?  Who cares!  If you apply to an investment bank and decide later on that it’s not a good fit for you, then you can always turn down an offer.  On the other hand, you will never get an offer if you missed the application deadlines.  You’ll never learn to swim if you don’t get in the pool!

Cindy: I regret not going to any of the Open Mic Nights this year.  I heard awesome things about them, and I wish I had made the time for at least one.  I also regret having a lot of late afternoon and evening classes this semester.  I missed some really great events that I wish I could have gone to.

Dristy: As I wrap up my time at Fletcher, when I look back, I feel honored to have had this journey, but there are two things that I will always regret not doing enough of during my time here.  First, I wish I had taken more advantage of office hour with professors.  I think it would have allowed me to strengthen my relationships with them and added significantly to my learning experience.  Second, I regret not participating enough in school-wide events, especially in my second year.  As my course load increased with the semester, it became more difficult to prioritize attending events, such as talks by guest speakers, panel discussions, etc.  These events have proven to be incredible opportunities to expand my knowledge and understanding of topics outside class and beyond my area of interest, so I definitely wish I had attended more of those during my time here.

What additional tips would you offer to incoming students?

Ashley: Enjoy your time at Fletcher!  With graduation right around the corner for me, I can assure you it goes by pretty quickly.  As important as the work you’ll be doing is, don’t forget to make plenty of time for the truly excellent community of people that Fletcher has to offer.

Brooklyn: Graduate school is what you make of it, so get involved early.  Don’t let your dreams be dreams!

Cindy: Don’t be afraid to ask for help; don’t worry about not being able to do everything; have an open mind; put yourself in new situations; and take the time to hang out with your friends!  Your time at Fletcher will go by so quickly, and I hope you enjoy every minute of it!

Dristy: I encourage incoming students to take advantage of the Shopping Day, Course Evaluations, and insights from second years/alumni to help them select courses.  I would also highly recommend taking the foreign language exam early in your time at Fletcher (especially the oral exam, which in some cases may require you to coordinate with professors outside Tufts).

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So far, I’ve shared the lists of suggested (but hardly required) reading, and now I have some advice for incoming students from our Admissions Office Graduate Assistants (GAs).  Before they left campus, we asked Ashley, Brooklyn, Cindy, and Dristy (ABC&D) for their answers to a few questions.  Their responses are below and will continue tomorrow.

Whether you did it or not, what would you suggest incoming students do to prepare for their Fletcher studies?

Ashley: Get a little bit of a plan in order.  Some things (your finances!) require more careful planning than others, but it doesn’t hurt to get a good handle on what sorts of classes you might like to take, what your commute to campus will be like, or where you might like to explore in the Boston area.  You should be ready to deviate from that plan once you get here, but having given it some thought ahead of time will make those first few weeks a little less overwhelming and will allow you to get your footing more quickly.  Already knowing some of my options made it a lot easier to make decisions with all of the new information I got upon arrival.

Brooklyn: Prepare for the equivalency exams!  If you have studied a subject before (statistics or economics) you can test out of the lower level classes, but it’s likely that you will need a little bit of a refresher on the content prior to taking the exam.  It really helps you get the most out of your time at Fletcher because, since you are only here for two years, you don’t want to waste your time on a class you’ve already taken just because you were too lazy over the summer to crack open a book for a few hours.

Cindy: If you have time off in the summer before you officially come to Fletcher, maybe plan a trip to visit the Boston/Medford/Somerville area, just to get a feel for what it’s like to live here.  My husband and I made a trip up to secure housing, and we also took the time to visit the Tufts/Fletcher campus, eat at a couple of great restaurants, and take some scenic drives/walks around the area.

A second thing I would recommend is to brush up on your language skills if you know that you have been out of practice for a little while.  I took time over the summer to study Russian, which is the language I plan to test for, which was very helpful for transitioning to Fletcher.

Last, read up about the Design and Monitoring course offered during the August pre-session.  It’s only offered once each year, right before the fall semester, and it is also a pretty popular class.  I will be taking it this summer before I start my second year, and I wish I had talked to other students about the course when I first started, to see if it was something I really wanted to gain experience in.  I am very glad I have a chance to take it in August!

Dristy: I encourage incoming students to rest, relax, and spend time with family and friends before commencing this journey.  I also encourage brushing up on foreign language skills over the summer because, once the semester begins, it gets difficult to carve out time to prepare for the exam.  Also, those who intend on taking the economics and quantitative equivalency tests, I would encourage them to review the material over the summer.  Since the equivalency exams take place during Orientation week, you may not have time to brush up directly before the exams.

For international students, especially those who have not visited or lived in the U.S. before, I strongly encourage you to reach out to current international students to get useful insights and tips on how to navigate some of the basics in the U.S., for example, where to buy (and costs for) bedding, personal care supplies, phone plans, etc.

Whether you did it or not, what would you suggest incoming students NOT do before starting their Fletcher studies?

Ashley: Don’t stress!  Easier said than done, I know.  And certainly, don’t feel bad when you inevitably are stressed in your first semester — being back in school can be a huge adjustment, not to mention being (for many people) in a new place, meeting new people, and so on.  But you need not add to your anxiety level in these last few months before Fletcher begins with worries about how everything will go, whether you’ll make new friends, if your apartment will be livable, etc.  (Everything will go just fine and there are people to help you if it doesn’t.  You’ll absolutely make friends, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time in your apartment anyway!)

Brooklyn: Do NOT wait until starting your Fletcher studies to start thinking about bigger picture items such as “What do I want to get out of my time here?  Are there any non-academic goals I want to set?  Are there any faculty/staff who could be helpful in reaching these goals?  Where do I want to intern/work after Fletcher?  What sectors really interest me?”  School can seem pretty overwhelming at first, but if you have some of the bigger picture items at least somewhat outlined, it helps you fill in the rest of the pieces of the puzzle (like which classes to take and which extracurricular activities to get involved in) as you start moving on your first semester.

Cindy: Do not stress about housing!  I looked for hours and days in a row to try and find a place for my husband, dog, and me, and I agonized over it.  While it is tough finding a dog-friendly apartment at a reasonable price, we eventually found a place and are happy.

Dristy: It is exciting to think about classes and all the interesting things you are going to learn at Fletcher, but I would suggest incoming students not worry about figuring out classes for the fall semester or how to fulfill the breadth and depth requirements.  We offer Shopping Days at the beginning of every semester when many professors give brief introductions to the courses they are offering that semester.  I found the Shopping Days incredibly helpful to learn about courses and professors, and they helped me a lot in making decisions about what classes to take.

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So far this week I’ve pointed you toward a student’s suggested summer reading list and a student-run blog.  Today I’d like to highlight the Capstone Projects that students have written and then shared with the Tufts Digital Library.

The current Capstone requirement allows for a final product in many different forms, including a thesis.  Not so many years ago, a traditional thesis was the only option.  As a result, the projects can be found in two places: under Fletcher Capstone and under Fletcher Thesis, with some overlap between the two.  There are many summers worth of reading in there, but of course you can pick and choose.

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