First off, Laura brilliantly beat me to this (see below, we’re posting nearly simultaneously tonight, because GREAT MINDS), but : it is registration time around here, so if anyone has BURNING questions (or any other kind, I suppose) please feel free to reach out and let us know. We are happy to help.
On that note, for students in policy analysis, Thursday evening begins The Trial Round, a/k/a, the long, anticipated slide into, for most first years, a spring spent in Lab. I’ll have more to say about Lab proper as we get closer, but as I’m going to be one of the Lab Assistants (or TAs, or GAs, or Helper People) in the Trial Round, and later in the Spring, for Lab, I thought I would offer a few brief notes as we enter the first phase of this. My apologies if you are in either of my teams and I get repetitive.
1 ) Opening night may feel very strange. Opening night is Thursday, and I’m sorry I sometimes slip into theater lingo when discussing all of this, but honestly for me this whole process is vaguely reminiscent of prepping for a play. So I’ll also say “rehearsals” about the briefing, and if you are a real, live present or former theater person, I’m sorry if you don’t do likewise, and it doesn’t mean that I am not taking this seriously. (I took plays plenty seriously too!)
So Thursday you will be assigned to your team with whom you’ll begin work on your Trial Round project, during which you’ll complete an analysis and deliver a recommendation to your “client”. To do so, you’ll be using the mandate and data pack (collated materials gathered by a Lab group last spring) as well as your own, fresh set of eyes and skills. You’re going from the class where you’ve been all term to this small group, with a Lab Assistant and faculty advisor, and you’ll not be in your big class again until the end of this process. So in some ways it might suddenly feel like a whole new class. You may feel discombobulated. That is understandable, and not cause for panic.
2) You may feel anxiety about who will be in your group, what your project will be, what you will have to contribute to this process; all of the unknowns which will be answered quickly over the next few days. For now: be open and begin making peace with the lack of control you will have over many parts of this process. For some of us, myself included, that is a challenge. Letting go of certain things, which I kind of did by the end of the Trial Round, enabled me to hit the ground running in the spring for Lab. Use this as your space/time to get the kinks out and figure out how you work best in this very strange, and artificial, situation. Believe me, having done so led to a much more productive and positive experience for me during the first, “live”, round of Lab.
3) If your T.A./Lab Assistant uses lingo that sounds slightly different from that which you’ve been using in your class, no worries; it just means they probably took Policy Analysis from another professor. Dirty little secret, and if you disagree FEEL FREE to throw down in the comments, but we’re all doing different versions of the same thing here. Trial Round puts you, for the first time, into the position of learning what works best for you. To accomplish that, you use these tools in TR, so that you can better accomplish the goal of helping your oh-so-real clients in the Spring.
4) You have a GREAT group of TA/LA’s getting ready to work with you. We are your first line of assistance and are eager to help you complete a succcessful, and hopefully even POSITIVE experience in the Trial Round.
Finally, congrats to Laura and her group as rumor has it the Chase competition continues for our trusty New School team. Bravo, all!
Read Full Post »