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Archive for January, 2011

119 days

Seventeen weeks to go until graduation.  How did that happen?  That’s not a complaint, just a possibly cliched and trite thought which occurred to me last week watching our Spring welcome for our students beginning their programs in January.

When you’re a part-time student, having watched many of your friends and colleagues graduate before you, the notion that it’s nearly your turn can actually seem a bit surreal.  Yet TOTALLY THRILLING.  Oh yes, let’s be clear: I am ready, willing and able to have a wonderful, challenging, thought-provoking time and proceed on to great things after I graduate.

To that end: on tap for this term I have a few things.  First, my Advanced Seminar during which I’ll complete my master’s project, or Professional Decision Report, for a client I shall call Org X (how original).  Org X offers the opportunity to undertake research in the area of economic development and job creation while I meet with colleagues in a seminar periodically this semester to discuss processes and procedures for doing useful policy work.

I found Org X somewhat the old-fashioned way; last summer, I added a new workbook to an ongoing Excel spreadsheet which includes any and all organizations at which I have been interested in working.  The fun part, when preparing the “PDR” section, is that unlike looking for a job, I could contact organizations and offer them free labor in exchange for the chance to do this kind of intensive work.   I also had goals in mind in terms of what kind of work I enjoy, what kinds of skills I’d like to package upon graduation, and structuring this to complement my yearlong fellowship work doing a policy project for a government office in New York.   I began emailing  groups, targeting some topically (sustainability policy, civil and human rights) and others by virtue of general interests (think tanks).  When Org X got in touch with me, we spent a few weeks having detailed conversations about areas of interest on each side, and over the course of that time prior to the holidays we agreed to move forward on this project in the spring.  Success!

I’ll be taking another course this spring concerning the media and mayoral/local politics in NYC about which I’m also extremely excited, and looking into auditing a leadership seminar as well.

Believe it or not, because of a lot of planning and reflection after my crazily-busy fall, my plans for spring also include more time for exercise, recreation, and time to take care of myself.  I want to enjoy this time as well, to take advantage of everything I can as I prepare to graduate.  And being a realist I know this all still means I’ll be stressed out at times, but I see a big beaming light at the end of this, and I am determined to get there successfully.

Kristen

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